Covid patient, 20, says he called family from hospital to say goodbye

Recovering Covid patient, 20, who called his family from intensive care to say goodbye after 80% of his lungs stopped working reveals he was so weak he couldn’t even say ‘I love you’

  • Jay Clack, 20, from Cambridgeshire, spent week in intensive care with Covid-19
  • Fell ill on December 27 and within 5 days 80% of lungs has stopped functioning
  • While in hospital had a goodbye phone call with his family, but now recovering
  • Admits he can’t believe so many young people are in denial about coronavirus

A recovering Covid-19 patient who called his family from intensive care to say goodbye after 80 per cent of his lungs stopped functioning has told how he was so weak he couldn’t even tell them he loved them. 

Jay Clack, 20, from Cambridgeshire, has asthma, an underlying condition known to exacerbate Covid-19. He contracted the virus just after Christmas and was admitted to hospital with pneumonia on New Year’s Eve.

He was moved to ICU and his parents were told at one point that he might not make it. Since contracting the virus Jay has lost two stone, going from 19st to 17st – and the weight is still dropping off him.

Speaking to the BBC’s Jon Ironmonger from his hospital bed, Jay, who is now recovering, recalled: ‘I was calling my dad and my sister, drenched in sweat, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t eat, they had to literally physically get me out of bed to go to the toilet because my body was in shock.’

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Jay Clack, 20, from Cambridgeshire, who has asthma, developed Covid-19 just after Christmas and was admitted to hospital with pneumonia on New Year’s Eve

Jay told how he called his family from intensive care to say goodbye after 80 per cent of his lungs stopped functioning but was so weak he couldn’t even tell them he loved them

Jay’s symptoms began with a headache and a shortness of breath. In a video clip he is seen struggling to make it down the stairs. 

Asked where he is hurting, he replied: ‘Everywhere.’ 

Gesturing to his collar bone, Jay explained how once he got to hospital, most of his lungs went into type one respiratory failure, with the only working part at the very top.

For days he could barely catch his breath, and recalled how nurses stroked him and held his phone to his ear while he desperately tried to speak to his worried family. 

‘It was horrible because my dad doesn’t really cry, like my dad is my bestest friend, he is my superhero,’ Jay said. 


Jay was moved to ICU and his parents were told at one point that he might not make it. Pictured left with his dad before and right during a call to them from ICU

For days Jay could barely catch his breath, and recalled how nurses stroked him and held his phone to his ear while he desperately tried to speak to his worried family

‘To hear my dad sob down the phone saying, “Please just fight one more day, you’ve got this,” but your body’s so weak that you can’t actually say I love you back, it just, it messes you up, it’s messed me up, mentally and physically.

‘You feel so empty, and numb and worthless. Because all you want is to cuddle your family in them final moments [sic].

‘If you are going to pass, as horrible as it is, you want to be able to hold your family and say goodbye and have that last final moment with them, and I couldn’t.’ 

Jay stressed that the virus can affect anyone, not just the elderly, and urged people to open their eyes and take stock of how serious it is.  

Jay, who is now recovering, recalled: ‘I was calling my dad and my sister, drenched in sweat, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t eat, they had to literally physically get me out of bed to go to the toilet because my body was in shock.’ Pictured with a family member

Jay said he felt ’empty, and numb and worthless’ because ‘all you want is to cuddle your family in those final moments’

Official figures today revealed one in every three deaths in England and Wales was linked to coronavirus in the final days of 2020, as a separate analysis claimed the virus was behind the sharpest rise in fatalities since 1940.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) numbers show 31.2 per cent of deaths in the five days to January 2 — 3,144 out of 10,069 — had Covid mentioned on their death certificates. This is the highest proportion in the second wave.

The number of deaths from the virus rose by eight per cent — 232 more people — compared to the previous week, despite the figures reported covering two fewer days than a normal week. 

Analysis shows coronavirus is killing fewer healthy and younger people in England now than it did during the first wave of the pandemic in spring.

Jay stressed that the virus can affect anyone, not just the elderly, and urged people to open their eyes and take stock of how serious it is

The risk of the virus to people without pre-existing health conditions and those under the age of 60 has always been small, with the disease preying on the elderly and patients with weakened immune systems.

But NHS England figures revealed yesterday that threat has become even smaller over time, with experts claiming it is a sign that doctors have become better at treating the virus.

People with no comorbidities made up 5 per cent of 25,080 total Covid deaths in the first wave, defined as from the beginning of the pandemic in March to May 19, according to analysis by The Times.

Whereas healthy Brits with no known health woes accounted for only 3 per cent of the 12,125 Covid deaths in the third wave, between December 2 and January 6.

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