In China, there are groups of individuals who have exhibited mild COVID-19 symptoms since December 2019, when the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus first emerged in Wuhan. They have repeatedly tested negative in nucleic acid tests, although their conditions have persisted for months.
They continue to suffer harrowing symptoms, but their requests to be committed for formal treatment have been consistently brushed aside.
These suspected COVID-19 patients are active on China’s Q&A platform Zhihu and have shared their symptoms: among them are dry coughing, chest tightness, fever, abundant phlegm, weakness, wandering pain, and diarrhea.
Some have Wuhan contact history; others don’t.
Most of their symptoms began in January or February 2020, when infections began to surge and spread from Wuhan, the epicenter, to other parts of China and beyond.
‘Struggling Desperately to Be Confirmed as COVID-19 Patients’
Li Jun (a pseudonym), a resident of Haikou city, the capital of Hainan Province in southern China, recently recounted his story to the Chinese-language edition of The Epoch Times.
Li used to live an untroubled life with his wife and 4-year-old daughter, earning a considerable annual income of 200,000 yuan (about $31,300). However, his life took a bad turn after he traveled through Wuhan on business in late December 2019.
On Jan. 20, 2020, more than 20 days after returning to Haikou, he began to develop a sore throat. The next day, he was hit with a fever that lasted five days. To his surprise, no medicine or injection could cure the fever during that period.
“I’ve never experienced that since my childhood,” Li said.
After his fever subsided, he had difficulty breathing at night when he got up, and he was sweating a lot.
“Since then, I developed all sorts of strange symptoms. I could feel a taste of iron rust in my mouth when I drank water or had meals. This situation lasted half a month. Later, I ceased to feel thirst or temperature. For example, I couldn’t feel a low fever even if I was experiencing it. Also, since then, I have night sweats every night.”
His wife and daughter began to show similar symptoms. His wife’s fever lasted even longer—nine days, while their daughter began to experience a dry cough, feel weak, and she laid in bed listlessly.
Li learned from reports that Dr. Li Wenliang, an early whistleblower about the pandemic, also suffered from night sweats after he was confirmed as a COVID-19 case. After learning that, Li began to identify himself as a COVID-19 patient.
On Feb. 6, a local hospital conducted a nucleic acid test for him upon his request; the result was negative. He reported the case of his family in a letter to the provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Unfortunately, his letter wasn’t taken seriously, he said.
In March, he starting feeling joint pain all over his body and became so weak that he had trouble going up or down stairs.
“Pain killers were useless to me, too,” Li said.
As his coughing worsened, Li received a CT scan and a DNA test. The results came back normal except for a bit of emphysema, which is unlikely to have caused such serious symptoms.
Li’s symptoms have developed in an endless manner; currently, he’s experiencing chest pains and muscle atrophy. His wife is coping with similar symptoms.
The whole family received hospital care four times last year, with each session lasting 15 to 20 days. Currently, they stay at the Hainan Cancer Hospital. To continue their treatment, they had to sell their property in June last year to cover their medical costs.
So far, their expenses have amounted to more than 400,000 yuan (about $62,600).
“I’m in deep despair,” Li said. “We’ve spent a lot of money. And my wife and I cannot work. It’s really sad.”
“We’re struggling desperately to be confirmed as COVID-19 patients,” Li told the Chinese-language edition of The Epoch Times. “Or we cannot get relevant formal treatment. Right now, I’m extremely hopeless.”
Wuhan Has the Most Patients of This Kind
Patients such as Li Jun are part of communities on WeChat, a Chinese messaging app, where they share their stories. According to Li’s estimate, Wuhan is home to about 40 percent of such patients. He believes there are many people with similar symptoms in other parts of China, too.
Liu Hua (a pseudonym), a resident of Wuhan, recalled that she had cold-like symptoms on Jan. 23, 2020, the historic day when the megacity of 11 million people was thrown into harsh lockdown.
She soon found her cold to be odd, since no medicine worked. She, too, developed symptoms common in the community: low fever, chest pain, coughing, phlegm, and heart arrhythmia—along with negative nucleic acid tests.
She told the Chinese-language edition of The Epoch Times that there are many patients like her in Wuhan and beyond. She noted that the members in a chat group she once joined peaked at 500; the group was created by a local doctor, who categorized them for digital surveys.
Liu eventually left the group because its atmosphere was a bit too discouraging for her.
Mistaken for Anxiety Disorder
Suspected COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms have been frequently passed off as anxiety or mental disorder sufferers by doctors and people around them.
“Can anxiety cause coughs?” Li Jun said.
Li Yan (a pseudonym), a nail specialist, was interviewed by the Chinese-language edition of The Epoch Times.
“I’m in unbearable pain; I live every day as if I were going to die,” she said.
She said she became infected in December last year at the outbreak of the pandemic in Dalian city, Liaoning Province. She said her symptoms come in cycles, involving weakness, muscle soreness, a feeling of foreign matter in the throat, fever, chest pain, and others.
However, doctors regarded her condition as an anxiety disorder because all her nucleic acid tests have come back negative.
She’s had to leave work due to her illness.
“People like me are all deemed crazy by our families. Only we ourselves know how uncomfortable we feel. Nobody speaks up for us. Every day I wish to die. Perhaps I can only live to 27,” she said.
Zhou Yu (a pseudonym), a hotel waitress in Qi County, Henan Province, says she doesn’t remember how she became ill, though her initial sign was discomfort in the throat.
Her condition worsened in May and July 2020: dry and itchy sore throat, coughing, low fever, weakness, and muscle soreness. What surprised her most was that her mother and her children developed the same symptoms. She didn’t realize that her illness was infectious.
She believes she contracted COVID-19.
“They [doctors] all think I’m crazy,” Zhou said. “They said neither nucleic acid tests nor blood tests show I’m a COVID-19 patient. Just slight chronic inflammation. And they suggest I see a psychologist.”
Currently, her immunity is so low that she’s hit with a cold every three or five days. Again, neither intravenous injection nor medicine works for her.
“I can’t take it anymore,” she said.
Gu Xiaohua contributed to this report.