“Covid somehow got into the house even though everyone was following the guidelines and ten people ended up getting Covid.”
Patrick Quinn Byrne, is a 27-year-old gym instructor and photographer. He developed symptoms on St Stephens’ Day which came on “quickly and aggressively”.
“I woke up at one stage screaming with stabbing pains in my chest, in my lungs and a fever. This really frightened me. I’m 27, you don’t hear about this stuff,” he said.
Patrick said his lungs “aren’t what they used to be” and just walking around the house can bring on fatigue.
“Even though we were allowed to leave the house we are really adamant on being in contact with anyone because we are super aware that we don’t feel 100% yet, and that we might have something in our system to pass on,” he explained.
“It seems to be a real lottery, you hear these stories of young and healthy people getting really sick and dying.”
Claire Young suffers with asthma and has been working from home since last March. She contracted Covid-19 in November, despite having just three close contacts.
“I live with a girl who is a frontline worker and there was an outbreak at the hospital where she works, and she became infected. In turn, I tested positive,” she said.
“It was really strange because we didn’t really see that much of each other. You get into this cycle of keeping your distance from the people you live with. We’d always stand two metres away from each other, even chatting in the kitchen.”
Her sense of taste and smell “disappeared”, then she developed a severe cold and breathing became difficult. It lasted for 17 days.
“That was the worst part of it. I had my ventolin inhaler, I rang the chemist, the last thing I wanted to do was go near the hospital but that feeling of not being able to breathe is absolutely terrifying,” said Claire.
“I have to say – I loved my Christmas, and psychologically we all needed it. Has it come at a terrible cost? Perhaps.”
Anne Davison got Covid-19 last March, along with her husband and son.
“Three of us in the family got it, one didn’t or was asymptomatic we assume now,” she explained.
As amateur singers, they’ve noticed that their breathing difficulty has persisted.
“If we exert ourselves more than usual we feel our breathing is affected and we feel more tired than we used to,” she said.
“It’s not something you want to get it was very unpleasant. Mine lasted longer than my husband’s and my son’s, he was over it in a week, my husband in about three weeks. It was six to eight weeks for me,” she said.
“To all those people who have lost someone, my heart goes out to them. I realise how lucky we have been,” she added.
“I have a responsibility to not go out or be around people because I could give it to them.”
Darren Lackin owns a hairdressing salon. He tested positive for Covid-19 nearly two weeks ago. He was in isolation in one room of his house when he spoke to me with a strained voice.
“I’m living with my partner and we both got tested. I was positive and he was negative, which I found really bizarre,” he said.
He says he followed all the guidelines, put measures in place in his salon, and has no idea where he picked it up.
“They say it could be up to two weeks before you get symptoms. I was parking in a shopping centre when I was going to work over Christmas. I honestly did use hand sanitiser everywhere I went, but it could have been anywhere,” he added.
He doesn’t believe opening businesses, like hairdressers, caused the virus spread.
“We were clearly given guidance; we were told what to do and we did it. As far as I’m aware, there was no outbreak of Covid-19 in a hairdressers or beauty salon, we were all wearing masks. It was where people were gathering and in clusters,” he said.
“You feel this negative shame about breaching the rules and being a pariah in society… despite the fact that we didn’t actually do anything wrong”
Ross Galvin, who is 30, believes he got Covid-19 twice.
Last February, while working as a lawyer in London, he got very sick but at the time mass testing wasn’t being carried out.
“It was quite severe at that stage. I had all of the symptoms, fever, cough, headaches, the sense of smell and taste also went away and that was a pretty rough batch. It took me a good month or so to recover and a cluster of my friends got sick as well,” he explained.
In the run up to Christmas he had limited his contacts because he wanted to go home and visit his family.
“I was very safe at home, I wore a mask around my parents all the time and my grandfather, and generally kept my distance. Unfortunately, I left the family home on St Stephens’ Day to come back to my apartment in the city centre and it must have been on that fateful day that I picked it up.”
This time around he says the dose was milder.
Before he had symptoms, he watched the Leopardstown Races at a friend’s house, they wore masks and were within the guidelines permitting two household to mix.
“When I found out they got infected I felt terrible because his parents are slightly older. If something had happened to them it would be very difficult to live with myself,” he said.
“My only contact was one friend of mine, which I had seen and she tested negative”
Michelle Foynes lives alone and was “totally shocked” when she became sick and tested positive for Covid-19. She believes she may have got it at a hospital appointment some weeks earlier.
“I began to feel a bit of a chest cold seven or eight days after that visit and it escalated from there,” she said.
For three nights, she had difficulty breathing which she found “very frightening”.
“One particular night, it was about 4am, I sat on the edge of the bed trying to decide whether to call an ambulance,” she said.
“The very thought of going into a hospital, being in that environment where no one could come with me or come to see me, I just couldn’t bear it. I talked myself down,” she added.