When I noted in an article in December that I went through a coronavirus infection in Brazil and survived, I promised to write about my experience.
As I have previously reported, I spent the first and perhaps the second wave of COVID-19 in Japan, where I ended up in early March, an hour before the country closed its border for most foreign arrivals. I planned to stay in Kyoto and Tokyo for ten or so nights for the sakura, but I ended up leaving close to six months later in September.
Between arriving in Europe in early September and leaving for Brazil in late October, I spent some time in the UK, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Finland, Estonia, and France.
All these countries were relatively open at the time for someone with a European passport.
I arrived in Sao Paulo on October 23 and spent the weekend in the city. Many of the businesses were closed, including Starbucks stores (often my “office”), and restaurants had to close their doors at 10 PM/11 PM and get customers out by an hour later.
The situation was quite different in Rio de Janeiro, although most were wearing a mask in the Barra area, where I spent the first few days.
I started to feel a bit off on Friday (October 30) and felt weak on Saturday and Sunday with some coughing, runny nose, throat pain. I did not have a fever. It was a long holiday weekend in Brazil, and I couldn’t have got tested before Tuesday.
By Tuesday, when testing would have been possible, I felt good (no fatigue and most of the other symptoms gone too), but was quarantining myself (wasn’t meeting anyone) for another 7-days.
Later that week, which must have been Thursday or Friday, I suddenly lost both of my smell and taste, and it took roughly seven days for them to return.
I got a foot infection (no COVID toes, though), and the doctor who saw me said that he had had another patient with a similar problem earlier in the week who had COVID.
It appears likely that I caught the bug after arriving in Brazil, but it is also possible that I got infected in Paris or during the Lufthansa flights.
I have to say that I probably left my guard down in Rio de Janeiro a bit and didn’t take the precautions I should have. I went to a packed bar that limited the number of people let in, but it could have easily been a super spreader event.
In retrospect, I should have got tested in Rio on that Tuesday, confirming that I had COVID-19 at the time. I have done tests since establishing that I had it. The case of COVID that I had was relatively mild but obviously could have gone the other way too.
Once this pandemic is over, scientists can conduct studies to see the infection casualty rate. The current publicized ones don’t capture all the infections, and not all deaths are classified correctly. The excess mortality is probably the best way to identify ALL COVID-related deaths accurately.