Longest ever Covid case: Man who tested positive for 305 days says he was ‘ready to die and give up on life’

A 72-year-old man thought to be the world’s longest ever Covid-19 patient after testing positive for the virus for 305 days has spoken about the experience.

Dave Smith, from Bristol, a retired driving instructor, said he was ready to die and give up on life.

He had Covid for more than 10 months in what experts have said is the longest-ever recorded persistent infection with the virus.

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He told the BBC how he coughed for “five hours straight, non-stop… if you can imagine the drain that puts on your body, the energy”.

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He added: “I was ready to give up, I said to Lyn my wife ‘let me go, I’ve been hanging on, it’s so bad now, I’m just jelly’. If I go in the night, don’t be surprised.”

His wife Lynda said there were “a lot of times we didn’t think he was going to pull through.”

Mr Smith said he celebrated the news he was Covid negative with a bottle of champagne.

Dave Smith, 72, from Bristol, is thought to be the world's longest ever Covid patient after testing positive for the virus for 305 days. Photo: BBC News

He had conditions which led to him having a compromised immune system, putting him more at risk from Covid-19.

Mr Smith told The Guardian: “Whenever I went bad, I went really bad – down to death’s door. My wife started to arrange a funeral five times.”

He added jokingly: “I called all the family in to make my peace with them. I wish I’d kept my mouth shut now.”

He said his weight fell from 18.5 stone to 10 stone (117kg to 64kg) while ill due to a lack of appetite, adding: “At one point, I was bedridden for two or three months. My wife had to wash and shave me in bed because I just couldn’t stand up.

“Sometimes I thought: I wish they’d take me in the middle of the night, because I just can’t go on anymore. You get to the point where you are more afraid of living than you are of dying.”

His case is to be presented to the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) in July.

An abstract, which is to be presented to the conference, describes how Mr Smith’s infection is thought to be the “longest infection recorded in the literature”.

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