Sarah Ashley, 38 She sol­diered on through ill­ness, but fears she may have spread the virus

The Guardian - - News Coronaviru­s - Damien Gayle

When she woke up on Mon­day morn­ing the week be­fore last, Sarah Ashley thought she was suf­fer­ing from a hang­over. When it dragged into the fol­low­ing day, the 38-yearold thought it was a lin­ger­ing symp­tom of her week­end away.

“I was just so ex­hausted and thought I just needed some early nights,” she re­mem­bers. “I was in bed both those nights by 9.30pm, which is not me.”

Her cough be­gan on the Wed­nes­day, a dry bark from deep in the lungs, and on the Thurs­day she de­cided to work from home. That day the gov­ern­ment asked peo­ple with a new con­tin­u­ous cough to self­iso­late. “I spoke to my mum … I was like: that’s you, that’s me.”

Ashley, from Bed­ford, could not reach her GP; she left mes­sages that no one re­turned. She called 111 and was told to stay at home. She was not of­fered a test. By Satur­day her chest was tight. “It felt like some­one was stand­ing on it.” Ashley’s friends be­gan to suf­fer sim­i­lar symp­toms and on Sun­day, her best friend’s sis­ter, a mother of one, aged 25, was strug­gling to breathe.

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