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'We felt so guilty' - couple who got virus knew they had infected other people


Debbie and Declan Connolly

Debbie and Declan Connolly

Debbie and Declan Connolly

A couple who contracted Covid-19 at the early stage of the virus in Ireland have spoken of the guilt they felt at knowing they had infected others.

Debbie and Declan Connolly were among the first people in Ireland to get coronavirus in March after a trip to Munich.

The couple are now pleading with people to take the deadly virus seriously as case numbers rise and hospitalisations increase.

Debbie admits that when she received a phone call from her friends in Germany to let them know one of them had tested positive, she wasn't all that worried.

She said: "It didn't enter our heads for a second that our friend might have had coronavirus.

"In our house, it's Declan that gets the colds and flus, I'm never sick.

"I thought this was going to be a breeze."

The couple were tested and had to isolate.

They were brought to hospital to isolate effectively as was the procedure at the time.

Debbie, who went to hospital on March, 6, said she was largely bored for the first week.

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"Then my oxygen levels went low and I became really unwell," she said.

"My temperature went up, I was put on an antiviral and antibiotic and I just couldn't breathe.

"It was really strange to me as I haven't experienced anything like that before.


"They gave me oxygen and I had no energy. I really didn't feel good."

Declan said although he only got a mild form of the virus, it took a considerable amount of time to get over it, saying, "it was a good month before I could say I was right again."

Debbie said she felt she didn't fully recover until June - three months after contracting the virus.

"I had this brain fog and it wasn't anything serious, but I wasn't myself."

Declan was discharged before Debbie and said she really went downhill after this.

"You could hear her struggling for every breath and you could hear how scared she was in her voice.

"To have someone you've been married to for nearly 30 years struggling for every breath, and knowing you can't do anything to help, it was very, very scary."

Debbie said the guilt of knowing she had passed on the virus to her neighbours was one of the hardest parts.

"I didn't do it on purpose but knowing you've changed the lives of these two families because they have to isolate, I felt really guilty.

"They could have been really sick. That really affected me," she said.


Debbie confessed she is afraid for other people that are contracting the virus, and that the couple aren't assuming they now have immunity.

She said they're acting as if they could get it again so they don't infect anyone else and the couple are urging everyone else to act the same way.

"I know that feeling of passing it on to someone, I don't want that feeling again," she added.

Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland

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