I am COVID-19 positive, and in a public hospital in HK for next 2 weeks. Q&A

I am COVID-19 positive, and in a public hospital in HK for next 2 weeks. Q&A. I'm just really bored, it's day 4 and I've not much else to do so figured I'd post this.

1) March 9-13. Acquired the virus in London. Original symptom was a slight nasal drip (sniffles) and a very slight dry cough that only arose every few hours. So one cough every 5 or 6 hours or so, so it was unclear if it was an actual infection or just a common cold. Otherwise totally asymptomatic. That made it unclear if testing would have been warranted.

2) cough increased in frequency (a singular cough or two every hour) after about a week of incubation. Sniffles went away. Otherwise asymptomatic. In London, masks were unavailable. I checked multiple locations and was told all masks were sold out. I finally found a flimsy surgical mask at a convenience shop, and bought it for lack of alternatives. London was putting no precautions in place. Gatherings were still happening. Flights from London to most Asia locations were disappearing rapidly by March 13, when I started to look for an exit. I was competing with Asian students, business people and virus refugees that were abandoning London for HK/SG. Only two flights I could find were either with a 12 hr layover in Mumbai or a 24 hr layover in Ethiopia. Departed evening March 16. On the plane over there were many HK students wearing rain gear and labratory clean gear (I have pictures. They look adorable). Multiple people we coughing on the plane. I remained asymptomatic.

3) Arrived HK on March 18 morning. Presented myself to airport health authorities and said I had a minor dry cough and some breathing issues. I asked where I could get a test done. I was told tests were not given out unless directed by a physician. I was told government guidance was to go home, wait out 2 weeks, and see if I developed symptoms. I argued that I did have a couple of symptoms, but I was told since I was fever free that I would need to just go home. The only other recommendation was to go to the public hospital. I pondered going to the public hospital. I went home, gathered basic belongings and moved into
self-quarantine in our spare apartment (we had a tenant leave on the 15th). I minimized human contact, but was not totally in isolation (still went to Wellcome to buy food). Up to this point, symptoms are incredibly mild, so unclear if any test would be necessary. That's what is so insidious. The symptoms are so mild and 'generic' (who doesn't have a brief cough or two every 5 hrs) that it is unclear if a trip to the general hospital is warranted.

4) Woke up morning of March 21 exhausted and feeling flu-like symptoms - specifically exhaustion, heavy breathing, more intense dry cough, muscle soreness. It was clear corona was in effect. I sought to get a test in the private system and was quoted a total test cost of HK$950 ($450 for test, $500 for doctor fee). But I was also told that the clinic was full for the weekend, so that if I wanted a test, Monday morning was the best that they could do. I was concerned about going to the public hospital as an alternative, because on weekends the public hospitals are much lighter staffed. Went home, went to a feverish sleep. Woke up every two hours. Slept from noon Saturday until Sunday morning. Woke up in an immense amount of pain across all muscles and joints as if my body had gone 20 rounds with Royce Gracie. Really one of the worst feelings I've had from an illness. But by evening Sunday I was feeling much better.

5) Reported to the public hospital on Monday morning 9am. I was put into a waiting area for 'fevered' patients, despite not having a fever. The waiting area is outdoors of the hospital, in makeshift cubicles, while we waited for processing. There were 10 patients in total. The wait to begin processing was 9 hours. Processing involved going into a quarantine room, where the tech takes a chest xray to look for pneumonia. After that, doctor gets on intercom, tells you you're to be admitted, and they move you up to a negative pressure room, again in isolation. They run a corona virus test by threading a plastic tube into your nose and down into your esophagus to siphon a sample. It's the least pleasant proceedure I've expereinced, simultaneously giving pain to your nose while choking you with a tube. I can imagine there's a big market for less-invasive tests. They also ran a throat swab, which is less invasive.

6) Tuesday I was transferred to a bigger hospital where there's more beds, into a common-room where I have 3 other roommates. All of us got infected in London and brought the virus back to HK. Many people fled UK back to HK and Singapore once it was clear London was unable to manage the crisis. We're all on designer anti-viral drugs that they give to HIV patients. So I guess we're all getting the best of care. I've started doing prison-style workouts. There's no place to really get exercise except for the shower room, which is a small room off of the cell where the 4 of us are housed. So I kind of fit my lower half of body into the shower room and do pushups and squats in the area near the bed.

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Comments (184)

Mar 30, 2020 - 1:31pm

How are you feeling now and how long do you have to stay in the hospital?

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Mar 31, 2020 - 4:55am

I have to be here for 2 weeks, and have 2 negative tests in a row. I've settled into a routine. It's not too shabby here other than the boredom. The key seems to be working out, prison-style.Squats, pushups, jumping jacks, leg raises, shadow boxing. Not enough space for running or much else. I can see why people who go to prison come out jacked. There's just not much else to do, and physical exercise keeps your mind from coming unglued.

I've got 3 roommates. Two are very talkative, which is good. The third was swapped out. Poor bastard had high fever and was drugged into unconsciousness for a week. They just removed him last night and brought in a 17 year old. All 5 of us got sick in UK, if that's any indication of how badly the wheels are coming off the cart in UK.

I think if there's any takeaway from all this it's how important exercise is to keep sane when bored and stick in a single place physically.

We tried to sneak a bottle of whisky in but we were unsuccessful. I did manage to get a knife snuck in here so now we can make sandwiches with tomatoes and crackers. I also was able to get a bag of miso paste delivered so I can make my own soup. Food here is a war crime. You have to have friends and family deliver shelf-stable items, like bread, tomatoes, crackers, apples, and ramen. Can't have fresh food because we do not have a way to refrigerate or cook. We do however have some intermittent internet on our phones and can

Mar 31, 2020 - 2:55pm

Can agree, UK is a shitshow at the moment. I showed a couple of symptoms in the two weeks prior, but luckily turned out to be just a viral fever. Covid negative, but in isolation for the foreseeable future. The miss works in the NHS, so unfortunately can't be sleeping in the same room for as long :(.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."
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Mar 30, 2020 - 1:34pm

Godspeed earthwalker7 - keep us updated


What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Mar 30, 2020 - 1:41pm

How do you view the potential bed shortages in HK if the confirmed cases continue to grow at the same speed? Are you still in isolation ward or have they transitioned you to one of the 400 new beds for people who are recovering but don't have severe symptoms?

Mar 31, 2020 - 7:48am

Yes serious bed shortage. The doctors want us out of here ASAP and off to home quarantine, or a quarantine center. I've been pretty impressed with the government response actually. They have a whole task force working around the clock on containment, and they built custom quarantine bungalows. My roommate had come in contact with over a dozen people, and the government has rounded them all up and put them in the quarantine bungalows, 1 person/room in a concrete box. My wife came back from China, and has been on 2-week self-quarantine at our apartment. The government checks in with her via Wechat and video 2x to 3x per day. Others were given electronic bracelets for monitoring their location. Once I checked in to the hospital the health department had a case officer assigned and called me, asked where I'd been, arranged for disinfection of my apartment itself and the building's common areas, and worked to round up people I'd contacted (though fortunately I pretty much had gone into self-quarantine so there were no contacts). Each day there's a press release that announces the new cases, the addresses of the new sick people, The level of expenditure for the city must be enormous.

Mar 31, 2020 - 8:36pm

and what if one wants to self quarantine at home? still get put into some quarantine jail against your will? pretty dystopian.

can you tell us more about the potential UK infections? all students? living in dorms? going out to dinners / meeting friends etc? travelling by tube?

ive been flying out of airport to Europe 2 x per week but WFH 2 weeks now and think im fine....but weve been isolated to house and no city travel for family other than occasional toddler class 1-2 a week which we stopped 3-4 weeks ago.

gl in your recovery.

Apr 13, 2020 - 1:01am

Omg the bungalow sounds like a prison I can't even imagine

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Mar 30, 2020 - 1:57pm

hope you get well soon - let us know when you've gotten better and have been discharged

Mar 30, 2020 - 2:25pm

Interesting how it deteriorated quickly. It makes me wonder if I ever got it. I had 5 days of general weakness back in early February, the last two of which had a slight cough then I felt better. I simply took extra vitamins and I have been rather careful ever since it became widespread.

2 of my colleagues were sick for roughly 2 weeks recently but none of them got tested.

Either way, how are you spending your days? Any food recommended?

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

Mar 31, 2020 - 5:19am

We tried to sneak a bottle of whisky in but we were unsuccessful. I did manage to get a knife snuck in here so now we can make sandwiches with tomatoes and crackers. I also was able to get a bag of miso paste delivered so I can make my own soup. Food here is a war crime. You have to have friends and family deliver shelf-stable items, like bread, tomatoes, crackers, apples, and ramen. Can't have fresh food because we do not have a way to refrigerate or cook.

Apr 2, 2020 - 1:14am

Back then, in the country I am now, you'd get tested only if you had fever. I know simply because the guy who was the most sick actually contacted the hospital to get tested and was told that. That has changed now.

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

Mar 31, 2020 - 5:26am

Hey man, yes I'm fairly healthy; eat right and get exercise.

Actually I was really only sick for 2 days - just Saturday and Sunday, with harsh flu symptoms. The flu generally hits harder than this. I was fairly asymptomatic other than the weekend.

I think that's what's so insidious about the virus - 80% of people will not even know they have the virus and will pass it onwards to more vulnerable people. I could have theoretically stayed at home and not reported to the hospital on Monday, because I really wasn't feeling sick anymore.

The reason I reported in is out of social responsibility; the last thing I want to do is keep walking around as a highly contagious asymptomatic recoveree and kill some old lady next time I go to a restaurant or grocery store.

It's a scary virus in this sense. It's highly contagious, airborn, attacks the respiratory system, and is nearly undetectable in most hosts. I'd wager there's a LOT of people walking arounwho have few / no symptoms, and they won't get tested. And then some old lady will get it and have to be put on a ventilator.

Mar 31, 2020 - 5:34am

Sorry for butting in. It is not supposed to be airborn. Were you taking any precautions prior to getting hit? Do you know what may have been the catalyst?

Mar 30, 2020 - 7:55pm

Hey buddy, hoping you and your family stays safe, happy and healthy.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
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Mar 31, 2020 - 12:36am

Did they give you estimates on when you should feel better?
What's up with your fam?

PS. Nice pricing

Go, Go, Excel

  • 1
Mar 31, 2020 - 6:29am

I was asymptomatic when I reported to the hospital. I reported out of concern for public safety and not wanting to infect others. I'd like to think even after 2 week incarceration I'd still make the same choice, but there's some times I just wish I'd kept my mouth shut, stayed at home, and wait out a few weeks until I was no longer contagious. Perhaps if there were reliable home tests those who suspect they are carriers could check, and if they test positive they can just sit at home and ride it out until the tests come back negative.

Mar 31, 2020 - 5:08am

Sorry to hear this. Did you have any pre existing health conditions? Do you smoke cigarettes?

Mar 31, 2020 - 6:03am

Thanks for this.

Why didn't you just stay at home and self quarantine like us UK-boys are doing?

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Mar 31, 2020 - 6:34am

I was infected in London specifically because UK people were NOT self quarantining - at least not in a timely manner (I presume it's better now). In fact, all 5 of the patients in this room were infected in London. That's hardly a coincidence. I saw how there were mass gatherings until very late in the epidemic's development. People gathered in churches, at markets, etc. I also spent several days going to various Boots and even the hospital near London Bridge to try to procure a mask.

People in London were distinctly irresponsible. Both UK and US were slow to self-quarantine.

HK and China instituted self quarantine in late January. My mistake was traveling to UK for business when the reported cases in UK were negligible, not realizing it was because UK wasn't really testing.

I'm not sure I get the question. Is your question why I didn't stay at home once I knew I was infected, since I was already asymptomatic and over the illness? I certainly could have done so. But I think there would have been significant risks of me infecting others if I went outside to buy food, because at that point I was certain I was Covid-positive. The only responsible action was to turn myself in to the public health system, and ride this time out in quarantine/hospital. But for sure home self-quarantine would have been more pleasant

Mar 31, 2020 - 8:17am

You can't buy masks in Boots. They've been out since Jan when the Asian community started buying them en mass and sending them back home. I checked 24th Jan and buy then they were already long gone.


Mar 31, 2020 - 6:25am

Sorry my man, that sounds awful. Me and my family had flu-like symptoms in January after my uncle visited us from overseas, and we all fell pretty sick, high fever, pulmonary infections, blinding headaches, the whole package. We got better, but we now suspect we caught COVID, since the symptoms are similar, and that is a very unsettling thought.
Anyway, I hope this things blows over soon and we have you back with us, earthwalker7

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Mar 31, 2020 - 6:44am

Wow Matchwood, that sounds awful. I actually got thru relatively unscathed. A couple days of flu symptoms, but otherwise it's been minor. I guess I'm lucky. Never had any fever, cough was very mild, no respiratory discomfort, only a little shortness of breath and two days of the virus kicking my ass MMA-style, with whole body pain in every joint and muscle. But otherwise nothing. That's what is so weird. One can be largely asymptomatic and still highly infectious.

Mar 31, 2020 - 6:48am

Yeah, crazy, from what I´ve heard the variation from person to person is out of the world. One of my family member had scar tissue from two lung inflammations a few years back, luckily antibiotics helped, but that could easily have been a pulmonary collapse. Weird to have seen Death almost cross the door frame, really unreal.

Mar 31, 2020 - 6:43am

Thanks for your response. Now that you've gone through this disease and thankfully successfully recovered, do you feel it justified throwing the world into a recession?

Mar 31, 2020 - 6:47am

That's a great question. I wonder that a lot. I also don't know what's the right way to deal with the virus. That's a question for the epidemiologists and public health professionals not a knuckle-dragging financier like myself.

I think if it was just everyone getting mild symptoms like me, certainly not worth tanking the world economy. I think the bigger risk though is to the elderly. The virus has an 18.4% fatality rate for 70/80 year olds, and that's pretty serious.

But this virus is absolutely going to wreck the world economy, and that has ramifications across all of society. There is going to be a LOT of economic pain from this all around, and it may take years for businesses to recover. A lot of people losing their jobs is going to be incredibly painful for a lot of families. Tough call really. I have no idea.

Apr 1, 2020 - 11:34am

Purely from an economic perspective, above the general value of older people, in many places on earth, "elderly" people are the sole childcare for working parents. So there is also significant economic value to making sure our older population survives. Even in the NY area where many people have "nannies" and childcare centers, I can off the top of my head think of 10 families where relatives (grandparents, aunt/uncle) over 65 are watching kids while both parents work. Some of it is cultural, but it's surely an affordability issue for them.

Of course I look at over 65's as a tremendous resource far beyond "economics" - but when you mention the economy that's also got to be factored in. Not everyone who must work has access to, or can afford, childcare beyond family members.

Jefferies & Co. lost their CFO, if you were unaware. He was 56. I'm not sure the % death for 50s-60s, but those are some still quite productive people. And statistics are not apples to apples, because some countries count a death with an underlying condition as a COVID death, while some count that death as from cancer or heart disease. So the stats are not fully comparable from one region to another.
It's a difficult balance, but death is so final - at least after a war there's a chance to rebuild.

Mar 31, 2020 - 7:09am

Lot of time these days I and one of my roommates (Johnny) are wondering if we really did the right thing turning ourselves in. Both he and I are asymptomatic, and we're occupying beds that could be taken by people who have real symptoms. Originally there were lots of spare beds, and I was worried about 3 things:

  1. infecting others, especially the elderly, even though I was asymptomatic
  2. my wife was really riding me to go to the hospital, and I figured the virus has a 0.4% fatality rate, but an angry wife has a 100% fatality rate so...
  3. I had some concern of potential lung effects should the virus rear its head and launch a true offensive

But in hindsight there's really not that much benefit to being here for me or Johnny, because we're both fine and could be at home, there's not that much the hospital can do for us, and there's some real sick people out there not getting beds. Meanwhile I had one roommate that was in really bad shape. They wheeled him out of here yesterday. They had him sedated for the entirety of the 10 days that I've been here. He didn't even wake up for the first week. We didn't find out his name until yesterday. The rest of us just called him Harry Potter for lack of another name. That is pretty scary - if you're a 30-ish year old who is effectively in a drug-induced fever coma. He got replaced by a 17 year old who is complaining about a headache and otherwise asymptomatic. Dude, the last guy who was in your bed pretty much died. No points for headache man. And I'm feeling quite guilty for taking up the bed space. Perhaps it was a miscalculation to turn myself in.

Mar 31, 2020 - 8:21am

Think you did the right thing
- You got there early and got some anti-virals i presume so that kills the viral load preventing you from further spreading it
- If other people have real symptoms, there will be beds / they'll discharge you
- better have you kill the viral load / than you spreading it even though you're asymptomatic. I presume you're from Hong Kong and if you recall with SARS, SARS managed to spread through a building because the pipe were interconnected or something. They also recently evacuated a couple of housing estates of because of this...


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Mar 31, 2020 - 9:00am

You're right on all counts. The virus in both SARS and COVID seems to be able to spread through the sewer plumbing so even in self-quarantine I was still a potential risk to others. And I would have had to go outside to buy supplies at least once or twice so would have exposed others. Regardless, here I am. No point second guessing.

And yes, you're right, they have given me a lot of fancy antivirals to kill the virus load. I'm on Kaletra 200mg and Ribavirin 400mg.

Mar 31, 2020 - 9:33am

Not a miscalculation at all. Its the medical systems fault for not triaging correctly.

It really is a joke how bureaucracy has completely taken over and prevented competent people doing their jobs.

Mar 31, 2020 - 9:29am

Passing times with bat soup memes I see. Hope you get better soon man. I assume you aren't working in the hospital? How did you tell you're employer that you're infected and how'd they receive the news?

Go all the way

Mar 31, 2020 - 9:38am

Yes, I'm killing time with bat memes and WSO. Most of the time I'm bullshitting with my new roommates. We call it Covid Camp. "This one time, at Covid Camp, they stuck plastic tubing up my nose." It's kind of a cross between prison and camp. We have good times and joke around, which is awesome. Nice to be hanging with fellow 30-year-olds talking smack for hours a day. On the prison side of it, we're not allowed to leave the room, the food is a crime against humanity, relatives have to give us enough food stuff to subsist on (like saltine and tomato sandwiches), and one of my roommates is turning prison-gay (I am not sure if he's kidding). It's simultaneously both a very fun and incredibly frustrating/boring time, which is quite a surreal combination.

I am still working a little from the hospital, but I'm not really able to concentrate too well here, given I lack a desk and a quiet environment. Also there's no wifi. Internet is limited to my cell phone hotspot. Most of my work at the moment is remote consulting work anyway, so not much impact to my work. Everyone's been pretty cool and understanding about it all.

Mar 31, 2020 - 9:59am

Here's a poem my roommate wrote:

As I sit here on the loo
Having a forced corona poo
I ponder what my life is now
And if I'll leave some day some how
The virus is a right little shit
Why did I travel to Spain you little tit?
These questions pop into my mind
I went to Europe - what else would I find !
No masks , no sani, no social distance
Caucasian's thought we were fully resistant
How silly we are and now to what cost
There is no doubt corona is the ultimate boss
But like any game we like to play
We will win out at the end of the day
So cheers to the battle and cheers to the fight
This poem has helped me have a great shite

Mar 31, 2020 - 10:01am

We are also writing and recording a video version of Les Misrables "One Day More" which we call "Ten Days More" done in online collaboration with others that are in various quarantine boxes around Hong Kong.

I'm also working on a Covid-version of Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way" called "I Got It That Way" about the epidemic.

"My lungs... on fire...
I've one.... desire...
To leave... just to...day....
I got it that way...."

Apr 1, 2020 - 11:06am

So glad you had a relatively mild case and are ok, and your wife as well. Scary. The very long incubation to real symptoms is what is so disconcerting. People almost think they are better, after 1-2 weeks, then suddenly they have difficulty breathing and severe symptoms within a few hours. I hear this a lot locally. In NJ a large family was affected - a grandma, her daughter and 2 sons died, and 2 more of her children are hospitalized, yet their family members have it but mild cases. Will be studied - potentially genetic response. Just happens the family are of northern Italian heritage. Anyhow, people of all ages are perishing, so yes, older people more (terribly sad hearing of my friends' parents and in-laws in severe condition and dying, I mean, these "old people" were living active lives and contributing to society - 70 years old is not so "old" anymore), but certainly 30's, 40s winding up on respirators, which is about a 50/50 shot of survival, and likely long-term ramifications from lung damage.
So appreciate this post - you really did what you could to isolate, etc.
Really so glad to hear you are ok, I could imagine some people going postal in your circumstances.

Apr 2, 2020 - 3:35am

A friend delivered 2 chocolate bars and a bag of peanut M&Ms. I recognize that this undoes a few days of my workouts, but dudes you have no idea how far chocolate can go to getting one through this slog. I had eaten most of my roommate's chocolate bar, so it was either replenish it or be in debt. And I've seen too much about prison to go into debt. God bless chocolate and the M&M company. We have a sort of friendly barter system going. We trade apples, hot sauce, chocolate, usage of the hotspot, etc. Such simple things become almost currency in here, because we are so dependent on outsiders to bring us these little things. The other day we had some tea sent in. I don't even like tea all that much and I probably downed a liter of it. Just to feel like a civilized human again.

Apr 2, 2020 - 4:12am

Sorry to hear about the botched whiskey smuggle attempt. Do they give you any fun drugs?
Thanks for sharing.

"Out the garage is how you end up in charge It's how you end up in penthouses, end up in cars, it's how you Start off a curb servin', end up a boss"
Apr 12, 2020 - 5:08am

Hey sorry I didn't respond to this. I missed it. The standard Hong Kong protocol, of which I was on, is 2 weeks of 200mg/50 Kaletra (which is a combination of Lopinavir + Ritonavir), which is 2 tablets of 50mg 2x/day and Ribaririn 400mn (200mn 2x/day). They give precisely 2 weeks, no more, no less, so last Monday was my last dose, and I've now been 1 week without meds, as tomorrow is my 3 week anniversary.

To celebrate my 2 week anniversary they did some things to my butt. I'll spare you details. @Lloyd Blankfein" would be proud.

Apr 2, 2020 - 8:05pm

Darkness is starting to creep in. My talkative roommates are being released today having tested negative. I'm still stuck getting positive tests. The remaining people here in the ward just sleep all day. Hell, I even miss that roommate who was (pretending?) to be going prison gay. So, the darkness creeps in. Got to do more workouts. Yesterday did 25 minutes of super hard HIIT. Managed to remove parts of the bed so I can do dips.

And really I've no excuse for the darkness. It's my own fault. I have a lot of 'take-home' work I could be doing. But instead I surf the 'net. I've several reports and papers to write for an equity research consultancy I'm doing on food-tech and fighting epidemics (ironies abound), investing books to read (O'Neal's How to Make Money in Stocks), money to raise on secondaries, etc. So I have no excuse to be bored and it's so counter-productive. I ought to be on the grind, building, getting business to happen. But the lack of human contact does wear one down. Of course, everyone is in the same boat. Whether you're being walled off in quarantine at home, or alone in some hospital ward, we're all in the same boat. Good luck, and God speed. We'll all get through it anyhow.

Can we at least agree to close the wet markets? FFS.

Apr 7, 2020 - 2:15am

Quick update - they moved us to a small room, and it's become much more quiet. My fun-loving English roommate was released 4 days ago, so now it's just me and a super-quiet local. This was depressing at first, but now I've settled into just doing work on some of these consulting projects I've been given by my employers.

In order to be released I need two consecutive negative tests. I had one negative test, but then a positive test the next day, so we're back to zero. Every day we do the test in the morning, and every afternoon we wait with anticipation of a (hopefully) negative result so I can get released.

All this time in a prison-like condition has given me time to think. I deserved this brief prison sentence. I took the epidemic pretty seriously when it blazed through Asia. I sent the wife and baby to a small town and kept them there, in safety. I kept off the streets in HK, and stocked up supplies. But it was a deeply stupid miscalculation to go on a global fundraising trip to US and UK. I knew the an open society and democracy could never lock down people the way an authoritarian system like China or Singapore can. This is not praise of authoritarianism - but for sure an authoritarian leader can move much more rapidly to shut-down. And putting myself out there, meeting people and traveling to multiple cities - that was unbelievably stupid and ignorant. I over-prioritized work and making money. I prioritized the needs of my employer over my own health. I let my hunger to go conquer and do business take priority. And maybe somewhere in the recesses of my psyche I underestimated the virus and thought I was young and healthy and that the statistics were in my favor. What the ever-loving F? I put myself at undue risk. I wore masks when possible, I washed my hands hourly, and disinfected often. I self-quarantined for 2 weeks in a hotel when I arrived in the US - but all this is not enough if you put yourself into travel and into multi-country exposure.

There's a lesson to be learned here my fellow monkeys. We are so used to putting the employer, career, profession and dollar first. So used to working long weeks, sacrificing family, and taking a roll of the dice. This time, I crapped out hard. I am luckier than I am smart, and luckier than I deserve. I am super lucky I am healthy, asymptomatic, and I'll recover, I've no doubt. But I should take this lesson to heart. Young as we are, there's a line in the sand that isn't worth crossing or risking, not for any employer, or for any money.

Apr 7, 2020 - 2:16am

Someone earlier in the group had asked if I think we've overdone it, and whether the economic impact of the shutdown is worth it to avoid getting sick. Frankly, there is no choice. Yes, the shutdown is worth it. This is a highly infectious and aggressive disease, whose virus is mutating (drifting) quickly. It's a human-to-human respiratory disease that is incredibly hard to shake.

The virus is present in stool and urine for over a month after the patient has first been infected. You may already be infected yourself and not know it. Who wants to go to an office and sit in a meeting and get infected, or to use the toilet after lunch and be exposed to an asymptomatic colleague's infection?

We're just going to have to ride this out in quarantine, take the sledgehammer blow to the face economically, and come out the other side when a vaccine is developed, or a treatment isolated so that the lethality is reduced.

Apr 7, 2020 - 1:18pm

Curious if, where you are, most people have the same view as you on that, or do you think it's more limited to people in your position/going through experiences like yours who have accepted the implications and necessity of certain government actions regarding shutdowns? At least where I am in the US right now, seems many people only take it seriously once it's too late and they/someone they know has gotten sick


Apr 7, 2020 - 5:34am

friend's dad died from covid19 today. crazy how it can affect others so greatly and others seem to have a better immunity built up to it. a lot of variables i think other than just being in good physical condition / healthy.

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

Apr 7, 2020 - 6:48am

Yes, very unpredictable virus. One of my close friends is an ER physician (technically general surgeon who is the surgeon assigned to the ER), and she says on the daily she's seeing young people die. A few days ago was a healthy athletic 19 year old. One of the reasons is that the body's immune system at first does not recognize the virus, and when it does it over-reacts in a phenomenon called cytokine release syndrome (CRS). This is not a virus to be underestimated, even if you're young and healthy.

Apr 7, 2020 - 1:19pm

A client of mine told me recently that a kid he played sports against in high school died from Covid -19. He was under 30 years old. I don't know if the guy had any preexisting conditions

Apr 10, 2020 - 11:41pm

While the fatality is far higher in older people vs younger (18.4% fatality in people >70 vs. 0.4% in a young person) there are exceptions. With this virus, often the immune system does not recognize the virus for a long while. Then when it does it goes into overdrive and unleashes what is known as a cytokine storm, which can be lethal. That's why even very healthy young people with no other outstanding conditions can die.

Apr 10, 2020 - 11:38pm

I'm still in hospital. I need two days of consecutive negative tests. The test is that they shove a sharp plastic stick up my nose and stab what feels like my brain but is just somewhere deep in the throat. So far I have had 2 negative tests but not on consecutive days, so we just keep repeating the tests, and I'm not releasable yet. The medicines were discontinued after 2 weeks, so it was discontinued about 5 days ago.

Apr 11, 2020 - 9:45am

ok I'm starting to legit lose my shit. All my roommates have been discharged so I'm now in solitary confinement. It pisses me off to no end that I've been given the same shitty bland meal every day, 2x per day. It's a bit of tofu with white rice. That's it. But actually it's better than the first 10 days, when a linguistic error made them think I wanted only steamed bok choi and white rice every meal, for like a total of 120 calories per meal So I survived 10 days on saltines, tomatoes and apples.

In other news, I've turned one of the cabinets here into a heavy object I can lift, in lieu of weights. I wrapped pairs of socks around the handles and pinned them in place with surgical tape that one of the nurses gave me in exchange for letting them stab my brain through my nostril with a sharp stick while I deep throat a cotton swab. They call it testing for virus, I call it rape. Semantics. But at least I got some surgical tape, so now I have a heavy object to life. But this cabinet is hardly suited for lifting. The drawers keep swinging open, so I'm getting all dinged up by it. Still, the weight is my only friend. That and the Internet.

I'm lucky though. People are dying, doctors are tired. Solitary confinement still sucks, but I'm trying to make the best of it. But would it kill them to throw this caged monkey an apple instead of steamed bok choi and plain white rice?

Taking a page from Castaway I turend an orange into my new best friend. And I'm listening to a lot of angry music. Rage Against the Machine is on repeat. I think one can really only truly hear RATM and that deep seated anger from the inside of solitary confinement. i mean, when was an angry, angst-filled 15 year old, I thought I heard it. Now? Oh, we hit a whole new level.

Apr 12, 2020 - 4:49am

Made myself another roommate. Together with this face mask she kind of looks like a nun.


I was wondering, no laptop or anything allowed?

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

Apr 12, 2020 - 5:00am

Laptop I have. Smartphone I have. But no wifi. Something about government policy and interfering with machinery, but FFS everyone here including the hospital staff is running full internet on their smartphones, so what's the difference? Anyway I have to run everything off of my smartphone hotspot, cruising the 'net at mid-1997 speeds. I can almost hear the dial up model connecting sounds.

Apr 12, 2020 - 10:54pm

Reading your posts in chronological order is like a horror novel where the protagonist spirals into insanity.


Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
Apr 12, 2020 - 11:46pm

Get well soon buddy.

No pain no game.

Apr 13, 2020 - 5:24pm

Hey earthwalker,

Hope you get well soon. Just curious, are you receiving any medication from hospital (remdesivir/hydroxychloroquine/interferon/kaletra)? Or do they just put you in the ward and monitor your health closely?


Apr 14, 2020 - 8:21am

Sometimes hope is a terrible thing.

You take the test in the morning, painful as it is, and then you wait, and wait, knowing at 2 or 3pm, you'll get a result. You get hopeful, you get excited, the test is all you can think about. You call the nurses station and the results aren't back yet. And still not back yet.
And still not back yet. Then the results are in... positive. Sigh, ok, what's my PVR number? Shit, it's gone down. It's worse. In the 7 hours between the test and the result time stretches out into an eternity. You watch the clock and it ticks, one second at a time, waiting for that answer that could send you home. That answer that can let you taste freedom again, and those simple pleasures, like a warm meal, some fruit, some red rice or a bowl of hot soup. Or human touch. Or sunlight. Fresh grass and trees.

See if you know parole is up in a week, or a month, or a year, you can get your mind organized around that. You can make plans and appointments. You can tell yourself what you'll do as soon as you get out. But you don't know, you can't know, and no one can tell you anything.

You can be released tomorrow, or in a month, or in a year. You're on an international flight to an unknown destination that never seems to arrive. You're just in the air sailing away, adrift to a destination unknown.

The only way to deal with it is to just accept the situation and the unknown. You have to tell yourself "I live in a hospital. This is my home. There's no 'getting out' because there's no 'out there' to go to. I'm already home."

The tests, the swabs, they're all part of paying rent, because this is my home. Like a rat in a cage this is my home. Push away all hope, because hope just messes with your head. This is home.

Apr 14, 2020 - 8:52am

>Reading your posts in chronological order is like a horror novel where the protagonist spirals into insanity. Cheers!

It's the slow transformation of a relatively young, healthy and hopeful person into just a number - just a patient that has become institutionalized.

When you first get in, it is kind of fun. Camp Covid we called it. There were fellow patients around and we talked about drinking and partying, food and girls, and let our imaginations run about what those nurses might look like under their surgical masks. You tell jokes about lawyers and dirty things. You do pushups and planks and more pushups. The food sucks but you can hate it together. You share the extra food friends and family drop off. You make saltine and tomato sandwiches and eat chocolate.

Then they take the roommates away, and you're all alone. Just a patient with a barcode wristband. Faceless gowned-up staff are your only human contact, 2x/day. They scan your barcode. They bring you the same tasteless meal. They scan your barcode. It's the same meal that you have eaten 42 times previously - cold tofu in a clear mystery sauce that has no flavor, a handful of steamed greens and a bowl of white rice. No taste, little sustenance, no variation. They scan your barcode. They take your temperature and blood pressure. Your only contact with a person. They scan your barcode. No one knows your name, you're just bed #6. You become institutionalized. You're just a unit not a person. Bed #6. They scan your barcode. They scan your barcode.

Apr 14, 2020 - 10:42am

I watch a lot of Youtube. The stories on there are heartbreaking, especially out of NYC.

I saw a nurse talk about taking an ipad over to patients so that they could say goodbye to their loved ones. That's ... so lonely. So awful.

My MD friend in LA said she had a 19 year old patient die not long ago. At 19 his life hadn't really even started.

Here in HK, we're sort of in a bubble. The lockdown was so tight and the system so seamless that one really doesn't hear of deaths and we don't experience real suffering.

Not like NYC. Those poor people.

Another newsreel showed a doctor, who said that as he put a patient on the ventilator to save his life, the patient said "who's going to pay for this?" That's heartbreaking. And in the end, the patient didn't make it.

Imagine your last thoughts in the world being a goodbye to your family via an ipad, no one to hold your hand, no real last look into the eyes of the people who love you. Imagine checking out, with the last thoughts being if the medical treatment might bankrupt your family.

'Tragic' doesn't begin to cover it.

Apr 14, 2020 - 11:57pm

Keeping ourselves and our family healthy is important especially in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Drink lots of water to avoid dehydration or you can infuse your water with some fruits, too? It is more healthier and above all, keep calm and stay positive.

Apr 16, 2020 - 10:56am

Out of curiosity, is this the worst thing ever happened to you?

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

Apr 16, 2020 - 4:11pm

No, not even top 10. It's not fun, but it's just some incarceration.

Like most of us, I've been through some sh*t before I got to this age. I lost one parent when I was 13, and almost lost the second when I was 18 and had to consider whether I would have to drop out of university to support two younger siblings. Once you've been through real hardships I suppose something like this is certainly bad and deeply frustrating but I don't think it ranks in top 10 of worst things.

I also have the benefit of perspective. I spent half a year as a full-time volunteer at an orphanage in mafia-controlled southern Italy. If you ever want to see some sh^t, go talk to orphans and hear their trauma. eg. Two brothers had seen their dad executed in front of them by the Camorra when they were 4 and 6 respectively. Another kid was dying of leukemia so his parents abandoned him. He was so kind, but no one wanted him. The rest were abandoned because they were children out of wedlock, children of the poor, or the 7th or 8th kid in a country that frowns on contraception. All I've got is a f&cking flu. I'm acutely aware of my privilege.

So why this post at all? I put this WSO post together early to stay connected to the outside world and it's really helped me that you guys keep tabs on me. Sincerely, thank you for doing that. Otherwise I would disappear into the cracks of the system. There were some seriously dark times when I felt I was losing my mind. Now I'm kind of over the worst and am just waiting out my time. This post has served well as a coping mechanism and I appreciate you guys keeping tabs on me.

In terms of coping with the actual physical incarceration - me getting moved to a room in which I don't have to stay in bed all day but can actually get up and walk around helped. Before that I could only do pushups in the small shower room and otherwise had to lie in bed, balancing a laptop on my knees to type. Being locked in a room is bad but being confined to a bed with no space to even walk was worse. Now I have the floorspace I need to workout and a desk I can use to get work done. Big upgrade.

I suspect many of us are unhappy during the global quarantine. But there are tens of thousands who have it far worse. We just have to wait this one out.

Apr 18, 2020 - 3:19am

Well, I can tell you are quite bored and need some sort of human interaction, a very normal need. Hopefully you get better soon and we can go back to roasting each other.

Speaking of which, my parents are from Southern Italy and calling it ''mafia controlled'' is quite a stretch. Some very specific areas are, but not the whole region and it's nowhere near as bad as decades ago.

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

Apr 16, 2020 - 5:33pm

I got some MS thrown at me for speaking about why 'hope' is the biggest enemy in this incarcerated situation. It's actually an interesting trip into human psychology so let me walk you through it.

You get the COVID test done early, usually 7am. But then all day you're thinking about the result. Even if you try not to think about it or get excited, you still inevitably do. Come 2pm you start calling the nursing station asking about your result, but the tests are often delayed. You get hopeful that you might just be able to leave. And then when it comes back COVID-positive it just breaks you a little more.

So I'm opting out of daily testing. "Why?" you may ask. "Why wouldn't you get tested every day so that you might be able to be released earlier?" It's not the physical pain of the exam. It's the waiting, the hoping, the false excitement. It's a sort of "Chinese water torture" for lack of a better term.

Apr 16, 2020 - 6:02pm

Interesting point - I imagine the complete uncertainty (not having a set "end date" like you mentioned in an earlier post) must add to what must be a somewhat volatile / difficult to manage range of emotions.

What does opting out of daily testing mean for you and how long you stay? Are you still getting tested, just less frequently, or does this mean staying where you are until the quarantine overall begins to let up more or less?


Apr 18, 2020 - 6:34am

I may have news Monday. New type of test. Results due then. Fingers crossed.

Basically the doctor came in today and admitted that the medical staff and the Hospital Authority are keenly aware that the test they are using is overly sensitive. It picks up fragments of viral RNA in the pharyngeal nose swab - and that means it can detect dead viruses in patients who are no longer sick or infectious. But the way the government policy is written, that's the test that is the standard. The reason they use this test is its sensitivity is great at early identification of viruses in asymptomatic patients. But it's rubbish at telling if a patient is contagious. Someone who beat the virus (as I think I did before I showed up here) could be healthy and non-infectious and still keep showing up positive as I have been. I spoke with an epidemiologist at a local university here and he confirmed the same. It's a well known problem in the academic circle,. In fact HKU and the medical staff at the hospitals just concluded a study on this, and it will be published soon.

In any case, the doctor is giving me and one other patient here a test that looks for live viruses as opposed to dead virus fragments. The tests will get evaluated on Monday. There's no guarantee they are negative. But if they are I'll be released in 2 days' time.

Apr 19, 2020 - 10:23am

Hope you get out of there ASAP. I had it as well. I was bed ridden for 2 weeks, barely eat and if I walked upstairs I was out of breath and had to lie down. Luckily I never felt in danger and I didn't have to go to hospital. I have had no symptoms for 2 weeks now and feel 100%. The good thing is I should have immunity and am no longer contagious so am no longer stressed about going out in public.

New Orleans Property Investor https://homebuyerlouisiana.com
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Apr 19, 2020 - 6:47pm

Terrible that you had 2 bad weeks of this. I only had about 1.5 days of being sick, so I got off lucky (other than the month of incarceration).

I hate to break it to you though, but there's been significant evidence that the body really doesn't build up immunity to this virus the way it does to other viruses - that, or there's suspicion that the virus can just stay dormant. There has been a reported 10% re-infection rate and it's unclear if that is from a lack of immunity formation or a dormancy in the virus. In any case, let's not get over-confident in the immunity factor until we know more.

Apr 23, 2020 - 2:22pm

I empathize with your situation but it is my understanding that it's highly unlikely that there's no immunity conferred from this virus. There is a clear antibody response, which suggests this follows the same path as almost every other virus out there.

The re-tests were from people who were recently released from the hospital. It's much more likely they got a false negative and then a true positive after being retested due to declining viral load / relapse due to still being sick.

The real question is how long the antibodies last, but lean there is that it's at least a year or two.

Important to keep in mind that shocking news like "person re-tests after negative" gets quickly packaged and shared via media without any context. Info about "hey this pretty likely to lead to immunity but we can't say 100%" doesn't.

  • 3
Apr 23, 2020 - 1:52am

A nurse took pity on me and told me secretly the test sample that they didn't lose came back negative several days ago. Still waiting on the second sample to come back. Definition of "sunk cost" is now a lost week due to a missing sample. But soon.... oh soon.... I packed my clothes and gear. Soon.... soon... soon....

I already wrote and presented a thank you note to the staff (which they immediately disinfected and sealed in a clear hazardous medical waste bag)

Apr 23, 2020 - 9:28am

A nurse took pity on me and told me secretly the test sample that they didn't lose came back negative several days ago.

Well that is good news!

Apr 23, 2020 - 10:54pm

Sorry to disappoint, but it's no different than normal. Seriously my only symptoms were a very tiny dry cough, tightness in the chest/lungs, and then 2 days of really painful flu, which basically felt like every muscle and joint had been beaten with baseball bats. Poop fine, no fever, etc. And the flu was over and done with a month ago with no symptoms since. I got off lucky. It was quickly and less harsh than even the annual flu. 2 days, and done.

Apr 24, 2020 - 10:41am

Have you tried inserting UV lights under your skin or injecting bleach? I heard it was a new potential treatment.

Commercial Real Estate Developer

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Apr 24, 2020 - 10:26pm

Good lord. So you're still stuck there?

Commercial Real Estate Developer

  • 1
Apr 25, 2020 - 1:59am

Mate, the best advice I can give you is to go forward with zero expectations. If you really want to prepare for something, prepare for the worst, meaning staying there for long. Otherwise you'll lose your mind.

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

  • 1
Apr 26, 2020 - 3:15am

Here's some interesting tidbits about COVID contagion that may interest you.

The attending doctor overseeing my case (an epidemiologist) actually comes in seeing me with no PPE. He just has an N95 mask on. He doesn't even wear gloves usually.
He says my PVR numbers have been consistently around 35. PVR tests are scaled 0-40, with anything above 40 being considered a negative tests. Anything above 30 is non-infectious. Separately I spoke with a well-known professor of epidemiology at the local university here. He says the same thing.

It seems like my body's immune system beat the virus that one weekend (which means it was less serious than a flu, which usually lasts several days for me). And I've been non-infectious for weeks.

However the problem is the tests. The nasopharyngeal swab tests we've been doing are super-sensitive. That means they pick up pieces of dead viral RNA long after the patient has beaten the disease and is no longer infectious. The doctor says that the tests are great for figuring out if someone has had COVID, but are not so good at detecting live virus.

The physicians and epidemiologists in HK have conducted a research study. The results will be published soon in the Lancet. The TLDR is that these tests are not good for testing patients who have recovered from COVID, because even post-COVID patients can continue to shed fragments of dead virus for up to 2 months, despite no longer being sick or contagious.

The physicians here are quite frustrated that most of the patients on the ward are being kept despite most of us being >30 PVR score. And while everyone else has long since gone home (with most people having a stay of just under 2 weeks) I'm still here at 5 weeks, taking up an isolation room and generally being a royal pain in the ass. The doctor has been trying new tests on me, and has even gives me helpful hints on how to beat the test ("Don't spit up too much from your throat just give them some mouth saliva" and "Let's take the swabs at night so you have a better chance of a negative.")

This is a case of government regulation being more cautious than the medical experts. Of course if you're going to err you want to err on the side of being overly-cautious. A strict quarantine has helped HK and its neighbors flatten the curve and get back to work. Yay winner winner chicken dinner.

But what about me? Can I pretty please go home now? Por favor? My son turns 5 in 10 days and I'd like to see him.

Apr 26, 2020 - 3:39am

Earlier in this thread I had said I don't regret turning myself in. I take that back now. I ABSOLUTELY regret turning myself in.

If the government does not have a decent testing regime in place and is coming up with positive tests based on healthy patients' shedding dead viral fragments, then that's just irresponsible. I'm stuck here as a non-infectious and healthy post-COVID patient for 5 weeks, in solitary confinement eating prison food.

Hell if we had a reasonable quarantine policy or a decent test (or a home test) I could have kept on self-quarantining myself in the still-empty apartment. I didn't need to take up 5 weeks of my time and freedom and public resources for non-issue. FFS.

Apr 27, 2020 - 4:45am

I think they will keep you there until you fully turn libertarian

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

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Apr 27, 2020 - 10:52am

Is this you demanding it or proclaiming that you have been given it?

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Apr 27, 2020 - 11:05am

It means that the saliva tests worked. I have been released. I. Am. So. Freaking. Happy.

The doctor doesn't even think I was contagious or carrying a live virus for most of the time while incarcerated. I told 'em. You got the wrong guy.

Hk started accepting the saliva tests last Friday . Which means they tested me this Saturday, Sunday and this morning and this evening I got the results. Triple negative. I have been granted my freeeeeeeeeeedoooooooooom!!!!!

Apr 28, 2020 - 4:12am

So you are out?

NVM, I couldn't see the other post for some reason. Enjoy freedom, have some steak.

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

Apr 29, 2020 - 11:16am

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Apr 29, 2020 - 6:47pm

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"It's okay, I'll see you on the other side"
May 1, 2020 - 11:09pm

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