Cambridgeshire

Coronavirus: 'Healthy' man's plea after illness scare

Ryan Van Waterschoot Image copyright Ryan Van Waterschoot
Image caption Ryan Van Waterschoot is worried people are being naive about the coronavirus

A young man who was “fit and healthy” is urging people to isolate after he nearly died with coronavirus.

Ryan Van Waterschoot, 28, who thought he “was never coming home”, took to social media asking others “not to be selfish”.

After 10 days in Peterborough City Hospital he is now recovering at home.

“If not for the nurses risking their lives... I wouldn’t be here... Please stay at home and don’t put them under more pressure,” he said.

Mr Van Waterschoot, an account manager for a car rental firm, initially thought he had a cold after losing his sense of taste and smell on 6 March.

His symptoms began before government advice on social distancing, and he thought he was unlikely to be at risk because he had not been abroad in several years.

However, his condition worsened over the next six days with a serious cough and fever. Doctors found he had pneumonia and sepsis, related to the coronavirus infection.

He said: “I felt awful, I felt like my body was completely shutting down.”

“I’ve always been fit and healthy, that’s the biggest shock about it. It went from 0-100 so fast.”

“When I tested positive it was horrendous. You’re on your own, you just think you’re going to die... It was the scariest moment of my life.”

Image copyright Ryan Van Waterschoot
Image caption Ryan Van Waterschoot said he owes his life to NHS workers

Mr Van Waterschoot, of Peterborough, who is married to Ashleigh, was the first of two confirmed cases in the city so far.

He said he owed his life to the NHS staff who “risked their lives to save mine”.

“They were literally the only people I saw and they kept me positive... It takes incredible guts and courage to go into a room with someone with coronavirus,” he added.

Mr Van Waterschoot, who is still self-isolating at home following his release from hospital on Saturday, said he was shocked at how advice had changed but believed it was for the best.

He said: “I still feel completely wiped out. I spent 10 days in hospital and came out to a totally different world to the one I left.

“I’d say to anyone, just keep each other safe and don’t be naive."

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