My entire family caught Covid-19 this year, but we lived to tell the tale

There’s nothing heroic about struggling on and spreading your germs around if you're ill

Charlotte Mayhew with a friend at her birthday party in London. Right: Charlotte's husband Bob with her birthday gifts and balloons from the party. Photo: Charlotte Mayhew
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Remember Covid-19? I had forgotten all about it and let my mind push all memories of 2020-2021 deep into my subconscious. It's a luxury I could afford although I knew there were still some suffering the effects today.

So when my husband called in sick a day before a return trip to the UK, I didn’t think much of it. I hoped his colleagues didn’t find this too suspect as he loves his work and truly isn’t the kind of man to pull a “sickie”.

Thankfully, he seemed fine on our flight and we managed to go out and celebrate my 40th birthday with friends as planned.

But the next day, I woke up feeling exhausted and gradually shifted all the morning plans I had made to the afternoon, and then on to the evening.

Given at the time that I was five months pregnant and had stayed out later than planned, I put it down to that and told myself to just stay in bed and recover – I’d be able to catch up with my friends in the coming days so it would be fine.

But as the evening came, I developed the aches, the sweating and shivering to go with the exhaustion and headache.

Still, I didn't realise what was happening to me. And perhaps because I had so much that I wanted to do, I just wasn’t willing to accept that I was ill, even though I knew from experience that every illness my husband has caught first, I’ve ended up catching later and far worse. His mild symptoms in January became my flu for a week.

I'm hoping our baby will be superhuman from all the antibodies I must have developed and passed on.

It was only when I crawled back to my hometown miserably and with party balloons in tow, that my mum asked if I had tested. Did it even enter my brain that this could possibly be the coronavirus? No.

My best friend had worked in an intensive care unit throughout the pandemic and all the memories of her horrific stories came flooding back, and of how scared we all were. Now, of course I knew this wasn’t anything to fear, thanks to the vaccines.

My mum ordered some tests and, because they’re no longer readily available, I continued to notify friends of my lurgy.

Although I was still very foggy, I felt like I was on the mend, so one evening I managed to make it out for my actual birthday for dinner with my parents.

But the next day, mum started coughing. By this time, the tests she ordered had arrived and of course they came out positive. The following day, my dad tested positive too.

Fortunately for us, it was a bank holiday weekend in the UK, which means terrible weather. So we all sat around a lot feeling lethargic and sorry for ourselves.

By the following week, we had all recovered and I raced around catching up with people that I’d meant to do in a more gradual relaxed way.

On our return to the UAE, we discovered that a trainer at my husband’s gym had been unwell but carried on like normal.

A colleague at my previous employment had a reputation for chasing people with colds out of the building and I thought of her often during the pandemic, remembering her furiously pointing at the door to anyone who sneezed too much.

While Covid-19 cases have drastically reduced, new variants of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid, continue to be discovered.

A group of variants called “FLiRT” appear to be contributing to a rising wave of Covid infections around Australia and elsewhere.

According to the World Health Organisation's website, more than 129,000 cases of Covid-19 were reported globally in the space of 28 days in May, as well as 1,901 deaths.

We’d managed to make the best of the situation, but our trip home hadn’t been what I’d been looking forward to for so long.

So, remember that there’s nothing heroic about struggling on and spreading your germs around if you're ill. STAY AT HOME!

Updated: May 31, 2024, 6:02 PM