Irish musician in New York: 'The doctor said I probably had Covid-19 but they had no test kits'

Irish musician in New York: 'The doctor said I probably had Covid-19 but they had no test kits'
Michael Brunnock

A Meath musician who is recovering from Covid-19 at his New York home has praised the Irish Government for its efforts in tackling the spread of the disease

Michael Brunnock (55) who tested positive for the Coronavirus believes he is on the road to recovery after hitting day 14 since he fell ill but is still grappling with a dry cough.

The musician from Kells lives in New York with his 16-year-old son who has shown mild symptoms for two days.

"I think I've finally come out the other side but I did have a bit of a scare around days five to seven," he said

“I've had flu before a few times but this was different. I had the aches and pains and the high temperatures of 101 degrees and headaches. I was really fatigued and a dry cough

I went to a local urgent care clinic in New York and I tested negative for the flu. The doctor said I probably had Covid-19 but they had no test kits.

"Some of the symptoms eased and I thought that I was improving, but then around day five, I noticed my breathing was getting more rapid and shallow.

"Later, I woke up and I felt I couldn't catch my breath.

"It was like no matter how much I tried to take air in, I felt I couldn't get enough oxygen.

"That’s never happened me before with the flu.

"I had to go back to the clinic where they took an x-ray of my lungs, which at that stage were no longer painful. They then tested me for Covid-19, which later proved positive.

The medics in New York had a great attitude and just took things in their stride.

"They didn't show or convey any panic which is what most people need. I had a sense of reassurance.

Thankfully the x-ray showed no signs of pneumonia, The doctor sent me home again and said I was likely at the worst of it and to only go to hospital if my breathing got worse. I felt comforted by that.

But even at day 12, Michael still had headaches and a high temperature.

"The doctor gave me a follow-up call and said everyone reacts differently to the virus. My son is almost 17 and had barely any symptoms but I could've picked it up from him.

"I work in the entertainment industry and in bars across New York and I'm sure there were many people I met who had Covid-19 but were asymptomatic at the time and maybe still are.

"It's pretty bad in New York at the minute but the people have a wonderful attitude. Every night at 7pm, theres a new ritual where people go out on their terraces and clap and cheer all the frontline medics and essential workers who are battling this crisis.

'It's ok to feel confused'

"I've been following the situation back home in Ireland and I think the Irish Government did a good job anticipating this crisis.

"They've made quick decisions in their own time based on data and observation of China and Italy. - they didn't wait for the UK to act.

"There is so much disinformation out there, and when people are fearful they want to feel secure in the answers they seek. It's ok to feel confused. There’s a fear of the unknown. I think we are all learning as we go. I think whats important is to just deal with whats in front of you.

"We have a delicate healthcare system at home and now it looks like we have got ahead of the curve, which is great news. I believe New York will struggle in the next few weeks because there was no containment effort until late.

"I just wanted to share my story because I know there are a lot of people very worried and anxious.

"Yes, take precautions, stay indoors and keep your elderly and those with compromised immune systems safe. But we will get through this and I just wanted to give that message of hope," he concluded.

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