Coronavirus: Canadians diagnosed with COVID-19 describe it as ‘worse than any flu’

Melanie Fournier went to bed a week ago Thursday feeling grateful that, despite everything going on in the wor…

Melanie Fournier went to bed a week ago Thursday feeling grateful that, despite everything going on in the world, she was in the best health of her life.

Less than 12 hours later, the 42-year-old Montreal-area woman was racked with coughs that left her gasping for breath and was burning up with fever.

“I woke up with a little scratch in my throat and started trying to cough it up,” she said in a phone interview.

“Within 20 minutes I had a full-blown fever, I was hacking up my lungs and it hit me: I need help.”

Fournier, who works in health and social services, is one of the thousands of Canadians who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

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She and several other Canadians have shared their stories with The Canadian Press in order to demystify the illness and to urge the public to respect physical distancing measures.

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In the days following the onset of her symptoms, Fournier felt panic creeping in as she struggled to get through to anyone on Montreal’s hotlines, which constantly disconnected her. Later, she had to fight to get tested since she hadn’t travelled recently and didn’t know who infected her.

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