Coronavirus is infecting more and more people. Tell-tale signs of an infection include a fever and a new, continuous cough. But, one family in the UK who caught the virus early displayed “strange” symptoms.
What started off as a normal beginning to the year, Darren Bland went on a well-deserved holiday. Taking to the Austrian alps in mid-January, Mr Bland enjoyed a four-day stay at a ski resort. At present, that very same ski resort in Ischgl is under investigation for allegedly covering up the coronavirus outbreak they experienced.
Having returned from the Tyrolean Alps on January 19, Mr Bland unwittingly passed on the infection to his wife and two daughters. Mr Bland presented coronavirus symptoms the day after his return. He said he felt like he was “wading through treacle” for 10 days.
When Mrs Bland caught the virus, she said she suffered from “strange flushes”, exhaustion and “total brain fog” for three weeks. Her youngest daughter had a persistent cough and a high temperature, while her other daughter recovered after one day.
Remembering back to his time at the ski resort, Mr Bland had visited the Kitzloch bar – known for tightly packed parties. He admitted to The Telegraph: “We visited the Kitzloch and it was rammed with people singing and dancing on the tables. People were hot and sweaty from skiing and waiters were delivering shots to tables in their hundreds. You couldn’t have a better home for a virus.”
Prosecutors this week have opened a criminal investigation with hundreds of cases in surrounding countries being traced back to the Tyrolean Alps. It’s feared the infection was able to spread across Europe undetected for weeks because of an alleged cover-up.
Even when Mr Bland, 50, returned from his trip, he noticed many people local to him were struck down with the virus too. The Blands haven’t officially been confirmed to have had the COVID-19 infection. But, when antibody tests become widely available in the UK, the Blands will be able to confirm if they now have immunity to the disease.
Should the Blands’ test results prove positive – that they have indeed come in contact with the virus – then the UK’s first documented coronavirus case would be much earlier than previously thought. Right now, the first transmission of coronavirus in Britain is thought to have been on February 28. And the earliest recorded case of COVID-19 was January 31. But Mr Bland fell ill on January 20.