Was Coronavirus in UK in September 2019?

I think there is a high probability I contracted and suffered with Covid-19 for a three to four month period starting from early to mid October 2019. In the UK. So, let me tell you my story


“People are on heightened awareness about any sort of respiratory infection and it is easy to retrofit stories to things,” Dr Stephen Baker, Cambridge University’s Infectious Diseases Institute in The Guardian, 1st June 2020

The received wisdom, however, has already been retfrofitted with the first known case now being recorded on November 17th 2019, when it was first thought the first case was in late December 2019. The quote above came from The Guardian website. The article went on to note that the day before the first confirmed death outside of China, the guitarist of a British punk band, Andy Gill, died at the age of 64 from pneumonia after spending two weeks on a ventilator.

Gill had fallen sick after his band returned from China in late November and a short time after, the bands 26 year old tour manager was admitted to Leeds Hospital with a severe respiratory infection.

If the death of Andy Gill was due to coronavirus, and this seems highly likely due to the doctors surprise at the course the virus took in his case, it seems a fair assumption that Covid-19 was circulating somewhere earlier in 2019 than thought.

#kungflu ?

But where?

I think I may have some of the answer.

How so, you may ask?

Well, I think there is a high probability I contracted and suffered with Covid-19 for a three to four month period.

That period starting from early to mid October 2019. In the UK.

So, let me tell you my story:

Back in late September/early October 2019 I had been regularly woken up for a period of about two weeks by a neighbour above me coughing and sneeezing continously. I didn’t think much of it, of course, as cold and flu season was just about to kick off, but it did sound like a nasty bug.

Then, one night, something strange happened.

A knock at the door at 2.30am in the morning. On a week night? I heard what sounded like some rustling around through the mailbox and then quiet. Then I thought I could hear someone crying and a vehicle engine outside. I looked out the window and saw an ambulance driving away.

I thought it would be unusual for one of the neighbours to be taken to hospital as they seem a relatively young and healthy couple. They were in the best hands now though, I thought, and rolled over to get some more sleep before work.

I was woken by my partner who had popped to see me early and had let herself in.

“You’ve got a card on the floor from Cadent.” She said. Cadent are the company who are responsible for attending possible gas and carbon monoxide escapes in the UK. The card stated that an engineer had attended to check for a possible carbon monoxide leak.

I looked at the card and immediately rang the emergency number and quoted the reference. The operator confirmed that an engineer had attended the property but a leak of carbon monoxide had been ruled out.

My neighbours never called by to say why I had been woken up at an ungodly hour.

The following Saturday, I suddenly felt sick and had to leave the pub after drinking very little. I went home and vomitted copiously, more than I ever remember vomitting since my appendix burst at the age of 13 years old. After clearing up the mess I felt a lot better. Bad pint I suppose?

A week or two later (I don’t have any hard and fast dates until mid-October, as curiously, I wasn’t looking out for a deadly pandemic at the time) my girlfriend started to feel unwell at work and went home early and literally slept for two days. That was Monday 14th October. On the Wednesday, I sent a text to my girlfriend telling her that I was also starting to feel unwell. A cough had developed and I was feeling a little hot.

I shouldn’t have gone to work and I certainly shouldn’t have been driving. However I was under pressure to get results for a permament position, so I stocked up with paracetamol and battled on.

I managed to continue work up to the weekend by which time I was completely physically and mentally drained. I was so ill, I missed my weekly trip to the pub on Saturday, which, if you were to know me, you would realise it to be unheard of.

By Sunday though, I was feeling much better, so ventured out to the local megapub (if you’re British you know the one!) and had a chat with some locals and a bite to eat. Then I went to another local next door and then home for an early night and rest as I was still feeling somewhat drained.

By Monday morning I was feeling much better, so went to work as normal. By the Wednesday, I was starting to feel ill again. I couldn’t believe my luck, I hadn’t had a cold in years and now it seemed I’d had two in two weeks.

The return of whatever it was I had caught however, was far worse than the first taster. This time the temperature was raging and I was coughing up a lot of liquid and I mean a lot of liquid. My lungs seemed like a tap for mucous that I could not switch off.

I tried some cetirizine hydrchloride. They seemed to help.

I managed a full week of work, but once again, by the Saturday, I was shattered. I was worn out from coughing and sneezing and constant high temperature. I lay down on my sofa on the Friday evening after work and didn’t move off it except to use the toilet through until the following Monday afternoon.

During this weekend a couple of new features of my virus arrived. My muscles started aching all over like they’d never ached before. A pungent taste also appeared in my mouth. By the middle of the following week, the pungent taste left to be followed by no sense of taste at all. And no sense of smell.

Who knows, maybe some of these symptoms seem familliar to some readers?

Although the symptoms hadn’t got much better, I returned to work on the Tuesday for fear of losing my job, I had no further days off during my period of illness which ran up until the Christmas break but I was constantly unsteady on my feet. Often I felt like I was about to lose consciousness at any moment. I would literally drag my body through the week and collapse in a heap when I returned from work on Friday evening with exhaustion.

Strange lumps in both my ears also appeared.

About a week after I first visited my local pub with symptoms I returned for a quick pint before heading home. I was greeted with tales of a cold virus that had started circulating the pub that was also causing some pretty extreme symptoms most notably aching muscles in the legs and a constant draining cough.

A week or two later an elderly lady dropped dead in the pub. There were a cluster of other deaths of people that drank in the pub, mostly elderly.

When the Christmas break arrived I was truly relieved. I didn’t feel I could go on another day. I took to my bed and spent at least half of my almost three week break sleeping. Recovering.

I was feeling much better come early January and was ready to return to work.

I had an afternoon nap one day and woke up to see that my middle finger on my left hand had swollen to twice it’s size. I thought I must have injured it in my sleep somehow, but looking at it, it seemed to look as if I had an ahthritic joint. I must have injured it though I thought, arthritus surely comes on slowly, not during a 20 minute to half hour nap.

Although 85% recovered, that finger still causes pain today.

In early January, I also googled Public Health England to check for information on new infectious diseases. There was nothing to report.

As the Covid-19 scandal blew up, I scanned the news with horror but also interest, as the list of tell tale symptoms grew, I didn’t as much start to retrofit the past to my experience but literally checked the symptoms of Covid-19 with the symptoms I suffered.

They all matched up.

Then, on May 15th, I read another article in The Guardian in which a researcher had contracted Covid-19 and described in pretty close detail the ordeal I had gone through. He described the symptoms as “weird as hell.”

He also, specifically mentioned “arthritus in the hand.”

At this point, my certainty that I had contracted Covid-19 increased from 95% to 98%.

All that is required is an antibody test.

I have written to The Guardian and The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine regarding my suspicions but I am yet to hear anything back.

I have a number of theories about how I may have contracted Covid-19 but top of the list is that card that was dropped through the door by the Cadent engineer.

My neighbour travels internationally in his profession I believe, so that is the most likely explanation.

He also has a kitchen on the top floor of a building that at certain times of year is almost infested with bats that live I guess in the roof. At sometimes during the year the front of the building also looks like a scene out of The Addams Family.

Especially around September to early October time.

Now I have checked, and there are no known dangerous coronviruses carried by bats in the UK.

That’s what the experts say, anyhow.

What I do know is that I experienced a virus that sounds suspiciously simialar to Covid-19 months before it was known to be circulating.

If the British Government, the UK press, or even the Chinese media would like to follow this up, you can contact me at:


Be Seeing You!

Roger Highfield, Science Director, talks to Kari Stefansson, whose genetic sequencing project has revealed how the UK infected Iceland

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