Cabaero: Mild, not mild Covid infection

The rising coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in the country do not seem to frighten people as before because they believe an infection these days would bring only mild symptoms.

Even reports on the deaths of Covid victims do not appear unsettling anymore. It is true we no longer see overcrowding in emergency rooms or Covid hospital beds being full. Many of those who catch the virus end up in home isolation where they take medicine and recover without the need for medical intervention.

But do the symptoms remain mild or do they progress into some other manifestation that can be worrying? It seems mild infection does not always remain mild considering that symptoms may progress, take longer to resolve or create other concerns.

I had my second Covid infection early this month after the first one in July 2020 during the early months of the pandemic when doctors didn’t know yet how to treat patients and there were no vaccines. This second time, I was vaccinated and had booster shots and there was Molnupiravir, the antiviral drug used to treat Covid that fortunately was available in hospital pharmacies. The infected will need a bottle of 40 capsules to complete the regimen of four capsules two times a day. The price per bottle is P4,014, a compassionate special price for countries like the Philippines, as the original price is US$700. I was able to start taking the medicine within the prescribed five days from the onset of symptoms. Had I delayed consulting my doctor, my flu-like symptoms would have worsened and I would no longer qualify for the Covid medicine.

Yes, it is true that Covid infection for persons vaccinated and who received booster shots end up with mild symptoms. That’s how important it is to be vaccinated, get booster shots, keep wearing a mask, and avoid crowds. I had a nasty cold and diarrhea but no fever, breathing problems, or loss of smell and taste.

I was not hospitalized and I didn’t need oxygen support, unlike my first infection which required a 10-day stay at the hospital. But it wouldn’t have been “mild” if I didn’t have money to buy the Covid medicine, if I delayed consulting with my doctor, or if I had work or travel I have to miss.

There’s also the matter of “long Covid” or symptoms that last for days or weeks after being cleared of the virus. I suffered from fatigue and mental fog for days. Three weeks after the infection, I still have sneezing fits and a runny nose in the morning. How can this be mild?

New studies have pointed to how reinfection is worsening symptoms of long Covid. This raises concern among health experts for the public to continue to protect themselves against infection.

The lesson here is for us not to catch the Covid virus because this “mild” case is not mild at all.