Ultra-cyclist urges Covid-19 compliance

Ultra-cyclist urges Covid-19 compliance
Ciaran Breslin: The ultra-cyclist who has just recovered from Covid-19.

A Covid-19 compliance officer who contracted the virus is appealing to people to stick to the public health advice and realise just how easy it is to be hit with the killer bug.

Ultra-cyclist Ciaran Breslin, 36, is just out of self-isolation after being hit for six with Covid-19, despite his high level of fitness as an athlete.

Despite wearing masks to shops and taking all precautions since March, due to having elderly parents with underlying health conditions, Ciaran believes he let his guard down only twice, which was enough for Covid-19 to strike.

"I had planned to get up at 5.30am on July 22 to go bike training before work but when I stood up out of bed, I felt like I was going to faint," he said.

"I had no energy at all and crawled to the bathroom where I coughed up mucus. I rang my boss at Meath Enterprise Centre where I am the Covid-19 compliance officer and said I was going to get a test, even just to rule out Covid-19.

"I got the test within 90 minutes of talking to my GP and went straight into self-isolation. Two days later, I got the call and text to say I was positive and I nearly fell out of the chair with shock.

"I couldn't believe it because I have been so careful and did everything right. I haven't taken off my face mask since March.

"The only things I can think of was the weekend before, I had used a public toilet while out cycling and may not have washed my hands thoroughly.

Ciaran Breslin: 'I couldn't believe it because I have been so careful and did everything right.'
Ciaran Breslin: 'I couldn't believe it because I have been so careful and did everything right.'

"Also just in the days before I got sick, I touched a petrol pump at a service station without gloves and didn't hand-sanitise directly after but I'm only surmising that — God only knows where I picked it up from."

Ciaran said he felt fine until day three when he could barely get out of bed for two days because of extreme fatigue and weakness but thankfully has made a full recovery.

"It was the self-isolation that nearly killed me," he said. "It was fine for the first few days but then I saw people off hiking and cycling on social media and I eventually had to put my phone away, especially over the bank-holiday weekend.

"I had to ring a few people who I barely knew but who I'd had close contact through in work to let them know that I passed on their details to the contact-tracing team. I felt awful about it. I was also devastated to tell my mam and four-year-old niece who I had been in contact with, but luckily they are fine."

Ciaran advises people to be vigilant. 

"It's out there, it hasn't gone away, and it can get you in a heartbeat even with all the precautions. We have to be responsible and keep social distancing, keep wearing face masks, and keep washing hands.

"Anyone can get it and we need to get rid of that stigma of almost guilt-shaming those who contract it. But if we feel unwell at all, we must self-isolate and be honest about it.

"I've heard stories of people going into work feeling ill or going shopping while they are supposed to be self-isolating. It's reckless and it's selfish and it's putting people's lives in danger."

More in this section