What a mild (and moderate) case of Covid-19 feels like


Five people: Grandpa: age 74, Bubbie: 73, Me: 50, Wife: 42, and Daughter: 7. Seven unconfirmed cases as the CDC and State rules have forbid any testing, no matter how hard we’ve tried.

The first symptom was a little tickle in the back of the throat, like the day before a sore throat from a cold. My wife and her father both felt that 7 days after they attended an big event together in Seattle. A day later my wife had a sore throat and my father in-law felt like he came down with a chest cold.

7 days later, grandpa had a high fever and a cough strong enough to wake him up at night. I had a tickle in my throat and the next day, felt a bit tired, had a small headache, and felt overly irritable. But quite a bit of that irritation was frustration over the refusal of testing of a 74 year old with a fever.

At that point my wife and I held our daughter out of school, in case she was asymptomatic but a carrier. No one knows definitively whether children spread this disease. She continues to be completely asymptomatic and her normal happy self, despite being stuck in the house for a week.

Meanwhile, during the last week my wife and I both had the same symptoms. We both were woken up one night in a hot sweat, but no fever. We both had a bout of diarrhea, but on different days, with none of the typical pain associated with food poisoning or norovirus or flu.

7 days after Grandpa had his fever, Bubbie had hers. Grandpa’s fever is gone now, and his cough is getting better. Bubbie’s fever is mild and her cough not as severe as Grandpa.

10 days later and none of us have been tested. They tested Grandpa for flu. Negative. They tested him for RSV. Negative. All these symptoms match up with Covid-19, not with anything else that is known to be circulating right now.

And this is the first time in 7 years a virus passed through the house where my daughter wasn’t also sick. She’s usually the first to have a cold, and we’ve had plenty of colds in 7 years. This isn’t like any cold I’ve had. It doesn’t feel anything like mononucleosis, norovirus, hand and foot, or any other virus I can remember passing through my twenty years of parenting.

Beyond the symptoms, the one big difference is the unknown. Every day we check in to see if Grandpa and Bubbie are getting better, or if they are in the hospital. Every day for the past week my wife and I wondered if we’d feel better or whether we’d be headed to the hospital.

It seems for the mild cases, the symptoms go away after 7-14 days. For the moderate cases, I’ll update this post when we know.

For now, we’re assuming we’re survivors of Covid-19, but still living in isolation as there is no definitive proof that you can’t catch it twice nor proof that surviving one strain protects you from the others. Or that surviving gives you lifetime immunity.


Lastly, the best study I’ve found on transmission of Covid-19 is showing that people are contagious a few days before any symptoms appear. Maybe for some that tickle in the back of the throat lasts a few days and isn’t noticed as a symptom? Either way, for now assume everyone you meet has the disease and act accordingly. My family (so far) has survived, but 1%-4% of people who have caught this disease (so far) have not.


All symptoms disappeared from my wife and I after a week. Bubbie’s fever is gone. She’s tired but recovering. Three weeks after Grandpa has his first fever, he’s still on and off running a low-grade fever and still has a mild cough.

Three weeks later none of us qualified for a Covid-19 test. We called the county heath service, the local clinic, and our doctors, but alas for some reason the United States has been completely inept at testing. Grandpa’s doctor did test him for everything else possible, and all of those tests came back negative:

Apparently we have tests for four other coronaviruses. Why the CDC and heath authorities are rationing the SARS-CoV-2/Covid-19 tests is still an unknown.


Middle of May, and everyone is fully recovered but still no one in this story has been tested for COVID-19. We’re hoping a reliable anti-body tests shows up soon. If it does, and if we test positive, I’ll start posting about what life is like mid-pandemic when you are no longer worrying about getting sick tomorrow.

But then the experts say, and history seems to show, that recovering from a coronavirus doesn’t provide lifelong immunity, so at best right now we’re hoping it makes the next infection milder.

More in this series:

Post #1: The 2020 Epidemic: Coronavirus
Post #2: Seattle, we have a (Covid-19) Problem
Post #3: Just Three (Viral) Weeks Ago
Post #4: Isolated in Seattle
Post #5: Impossible Until it Happens
Post #6: What a mild (and moderate) case of Covid-19 feels like
The rest in #Pandemic

By "Luni"


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