One of the first coronavirus patients in Estonia: It was scary

Estonian World interviewed one of the first patients to have fallen ill with COVID-19 in Estonia; the patient, a Tallinn-based expat, has now recovered and shares his experience.

As of 25 May, there were 1,824 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Estonia and over 76,000 tests had been conducted. Sixty-five people have died of the virus in the country, but 318 previously hospitalised patients have recovered. Estonian World spoke to one of the recovered patients, who was one of the first to have fallen ill. Wishing to remain anonymous, he shares his first-hand experience.

Tell me about your experience with COVID-19 – when did you first realise you might have the virus?

It all started with a cough. A dry cough. I had been seeing so much in the news about the coronavirus, I started to grow suspicious of having it.

Can you remember how you felt at that moment?

It was scary – and you think of all possibilities. Whether it is corona or not?! If it is, then what should I do? Will I die?

What happened next?

After a short time, I decided I should take the test, so I called the ambulance and told them about my symptoms. They came and took a sample and the next day I had the result. Yes. You have the coronavirus. You must be isolated from everyone until you have recovered.

It was shocking. I had to live alone in isolation, not knowing for how long. Knowing that my life could end soon and that I was a vital threat to the people around me. It was scary and makes you feel responsible. So, I did live in isolation for nearly a month and did not meet anyone and even hid the news from everyone I knew.

I was reporting to the doctor how my symptoms were developing every day for the first week. The cough got stronger and pain started in my lungs. It is the scariest part when you feel the illness is taking over your body gradually and there is no medicine for it. Luckily, my body started to recover after a fortnight and I began to feel better. But my life during the month in isolation was not easy. I educated myself about the illness during this time. And learned as much as I could and tried to find anything I could do to help my body fight against the virus.

Later I saw the news that the number of infected was increasing and many big countries went to lockdown. I was worried about my job and the entire future, which is now uncertain.

How was your experience at the hospital?

The doctor who treated me there was so kind and helpful by giving me the information and guidance I needed, so I felt better and calmer. Seems it was the most important thing – not to panic and stress, so the immune system of the body becomes stronger.

In your opinion, how did the Estonian government handle the situation?

I cannot say whether the Estonian government reacted well or badly, because no one knows what the good or bad way is yet. All the governments in the world are shocked and have had to take actions on a matter they have never had the experience of. Even now we are not totally sure about the information we have about this virus. Only time will show which approach was better. And I hope our result will be the best.

For the latest developments in Estonia, follow our special blog on coronavirus.

The cover image is illustrative. Photo by Engin Akyurt/Unsplash.

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