Dr. Yale Tung Chen told VICE News that he tested positive for the coronavirus Sunday after two weeks of treating patients for the deadly disease at the Hospital Universitario La Paz in Madrid as an emergency physician. Spain has seen over 3,000 cases of coronavirus, with 84 reported deaths as of Thursday. Over 1,000 of those cases have been found in the capital Madrid.
Chen is now sharing updates on his condition with thousands on Twitter while quarantined in his home using the hashtag #mycoviddiary. He explained how he belongs to an online community of doctors who exchange ultrasound results as a way of studying all kinds of medical findings, and this time he’s tracking his own.
‘The patient was me’
“We usually share our experiences or cases on Twitter because that’s a strong, powerful tool to learn and share with others,” Chen said. “So in this case, there was no difference. The only difference was that the patient was me. I had the ultrasound machine and a lot of time in my isolated room. So I decided to make something of that.”
The 35-year-old doctor said that he first began feeling ill last Friday. He quickly quarantined himself to a single room of his house to avoid spreading the virus to his wife and two kids, before testing himself the next day. Tests confirmed his suspicion by the end of the weekend.
In addition to tweeting his symptoms every morning, Chen is sharing footage of his lungs using ultrasound, complete with a breakdown of what changes he’s observing. He is also answering questions from followers who are curious about certain aspects of dealing with the harmful contagion. The doctor said that his condition has been fairly mild, telling one of his followers that he’s been combating the symptoms with household medications like Tylenol and ibuprofen.
On Day One of Chen’s diagnosis, he described having a “strong” headache, a sore throat and a dry cough. On day two, Chen says that while his cough and headache began to subside, ultrasounds revealed black spots on his lungs, indicating that pneumonia began to set in on the respiratory system. Pneumonia, which causes inflammation in the air sacs of the lungs, has been another common side effect of contracting coronavirus.
On Day Three, Chen reported that diarrhea had taken hold while his cough seemed to be going away for good.
Thursday morning, the doctor said he noticed pleural thickening, a kind of scarring of the lungs, as well as the collection of fluid in the lungs, in his ultrasounds. He said that he’s been coughing once more and has noticeable body fatigue, but still no noticeable chest pains.
He was surprised how many people were asking about his experience.