A MAN who was rushed to hospital with coronavirus and ended up in intensive care is pleading with people to adhere to the lockdown rules so they don’t end up in the same situation.

Paul Wharton, from Great Orton, near Carlisle, is a keen photographer and first started with mild symptoms before the Christmas period. 

These soon developed and he had to be rushed into the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle where he was told he had Covid pneumonia and it was life-threatening.

Mr Wharton explained: “I suspected about December 21 [about Covid]. I could not get warm for a few hours on the evening. I am not sure how I contracted Covid, but I suspect it was through work. The next thing I noticed something was wrong on Christmas Day, I was feeling tired and agitated.”

Mr Wharton decided to go to bed early on Christmas Day. The next day further symptoms developed as he noticed something was wrong with his chest and he was again struggling to keep warm.

During the course of the next few days Mr Wharton continued to deteriorate. 

“On December 27 I started to feel really unwell and very tired,” he added. “On the 28th I got up to have breakfast but quickly came back to bed.”

Mr Wharton slept all day before waking later in the evening to have a bath and called 111 for advice.

He said: “I attended Cumbria Health on Call at the hospital where I was told it was suspected Covid and a swab test was done.

“I was given medication to help with the symptoms. During the next few days I couldn’t walk from one room to another without losing breath.

“On January 2, I felt something was more seriously wrong and an NHS doctor was phoned.

“An ambulance was dispatched and I was rushed to Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary. 
“It was confirmed that I had Covid pneumonia, a life threatening condition.”

During the next 24 hours in hospital, Mr Wharton continued to deteriorate and had to be transferred to the intensive care unit.

“I was told it was a life-threatening condition which left me at odds and ends with what was going to happen next,” added Mr Wharton.

“At one point I had given up. I turned to the members of my photography group and wrote a statement.”

Support flooded in for Mr Wharton from the members of the group. Hundreds of messages wished him well and a speedy recovery, all of which he says helped him with his recovery.

He said: “It was the best thing I ever did. I must have had 1,000 messages off people who I have not met and they rallied around me and changed my mindset.

“The treatment at the hospital is faultless. They treat you like family which is good; your own family cannot visit, leaving a bit of a lonely feeling.”

Mr Wharton is now urging people to follow the rules of lockdown as he never thought he would suffer as badly. 

He continued: “My message is clear. I thought if I was unlucky enough to catch Covid that it would have minimal effect. “How wrong was I? It nearly killed me. 

“I’m asking people to follow the rules, to ensure they don’t end up in hospital or passing it on to family period who may be very ill. It’s simply not worth it.”

Mr Wharton was moved out of ICU on Tuesday and said his recovery is expected to be slow.