Sir Salman Rushdie, 74, was left ‘physically debilitated’ after ‘dangerous’ Covid fight

Breaking: Archbishop of Canterbury tests positive for Covid

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The author, who won the Booker Prize back in 1981 for his second novel Midnight’s Children has been at the centre of extremely high praise and substantial controversy throughout his career. But one of his greatest challenges came in 2020 when the world was struck with the Covid virus. The star, who is approaching his 75th birthday in June of this year, explained that he got “really ill” after contracting the virus and narrowly escaped going to hospital for further treatment.

Reflecting on his ordeal, Rushdie said: “I got ill really very early, the first day I ran a fever was the Ides of March. I was fortunate that I didn’t have to go to hospital. At that point going to hospital felt really dangerous.”

As a 73-year-old asthma sufferer at the time he caught Covid, Rushdie immediately felt more in danger, which prompted thoughts of his mortality.

“You can’t reach that age without wondering how much longer there is”, he added, before going on to explain the symptoms he suffered with.

“Every day as the numbers climb, I feel more and more lucky. I have asthma which made Covid more dangerous. I had a cough and a fever and a feeling of weakness.

“This was in a period when hospitals barely knew how to treat it.

“I was really very worried about it getting to my chest. I had a two-week rollercoaster of a fever that would go up to 103.5F (39.7C) and then come back down to normal and shoot back up. Mostly I just felt very physically debilitated.”

Despite avoiding hospital, it took Rushdie months to get his full strength back, a common experience that has affected millions across the globe.

He added: “Even after I recovered it took another month to get my strength back. The calamity, here and in India and in the early days in the UK, was made worse by political mistakes.

“I’m now fully vaccinated, as is my older son. So I feel a little hopeful.

“The tragedy is of such a scale that it almost seems pointless to say that I was unwell too. But as time passes, I realise more and more exactly how lucky I was.”

After contracting the virus and having his vaccinations, a blood test revealed that Rushdie had antibodies to protect him from further infection. Since then, the author and essayist has remained in seemingly good health.

With no Covid restrictions still in place in the UK, statistics provided on June 1 showed that 35,473 people in England had tested positive in the last seven days. There are also still some being admitted to hospital with the virus.

In fact, scientists have warned that over the upcoming Platinum Jubilee weekend, cases of Covid could rise by up to 50 percent across the UK.

This is mostly due to people mixing closely for parties and gatherings combined with weakened immunity as it has been a substantial amount of time since people received a vaccination.

This comes as in May 2022, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) elevated the classification of the Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 to “of concern” due to the observed level of growth that had been observed.

Dr Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA, said at the time: “The reclassification of these variants as variants of concern reflects emerging evidence on the growth of BA.4 and BA.5 internationally and in the UK.

“Whilst the impact of these variants is uncertain, the variant classification system aims to identify potential risk as early as possible.

“UKHSA is undertaking further detailed studies. Data and analysis will be released in due course through our regular surveillance reporting.”

In addition, data from the Office for National Statistics show that cases of long Covid have reached a record high of two million in the UK. The term long Covid describes individuals who are suffering from ongoing symptoms such as extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain and problems with memory.

Sarah Woolnough, CEO of Asthma + Lung UK, a charity who have supported half a million people with health advice and support pleaded: “Coupled with a lack of support and long wait times for specialist care, hundreds of thousands of people are turning to charities like Asthma + Lung UK, desperate for vital advice and support.

“With cases only rising the problem is not going to go away. The Government must invest more to find new possible treatments to help people with this new and unpredictable condition to get their lives back on track.

“While we campaign for this, we will be here to continue to support the millions of people in the UK living with lung conditions including Long Covid, and would urge anyone struggling to call our helpline on 0300 222 5800 and visit our health advice: blf.org.uk/support-for-you/long-covid.”

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