Corona in Ibiza, Spain — Did we already have the virus?

These facts and experiences tell me we did

Photo by Josie Josie on Unsplash

From January 12th I got sick for 3 weeks. In the first days, I expected it to be the kind of regularly returning winter flu. I already experienced this influenza virus here on Ibiza, the small island in the Mediterranean, 70 km out of the coast of mainland Spain.

This ‘Ibiza’ flu is different than the one I got in Holland where I lived for 45 years prior to moving to Ibiza. The air is dryer in Ibiza, and this flu comes with a dry cough and the party is sometimes topped up with a running nose. This ‘Ibiza’ flu never took me longer than about a week to recover from and the end spurt was coughing up big trunks of moist mucus that apparently finally had decided to see some daylight.

Excuse me for boring you with my flu experiences, but unless you live in an Iglo in Lapland or on mars you must have been exposed in one way or the other to information related to how to wash your hands, how to deal with quarantine and how to not touch your face. And the following words: Covid19, Social Distancing, Herd Immunity and #staythefuckhome.

To come back to my storyline: I got sick in January, and it was nothing like I had experienced before. My intention is to stay as factual as possible and not to overdo it for the sake of this story. After the initial days of the dry cough starting, the fever kicked in. That first feverish night I got in a delirious kind of state, sweating like a beaver. Next was an increasing pain on my chest. At some point, I really got worried and asked myself if I had a lung infection.

I am blessed with very good health, do a lot of sport, practice Yoga and eat healthy. When I catch the flu at all I usually don’t need to stay in bed. It takes 3 days to a week to cure, and that’s it.

Now, I felt strongly a different category of Virus had entered my system. At the worst point, my breathing started to make a sound. I did not have a panicking problem with breathing, but quite clearly my lungs weren’t happy. After that phase, everyday things started to improve a little. I still would experience this pressure on my chest, and a slight to medium pain. Inside the lungs.

Finally, It took me 3 weeks to be able to make a 1-hour hike in nature again. It completely drained my energy. It felt like I just had a medieval battle in my lungs. I had won, but the strong antibodies that had survived needed a long break to get back to full battle mode again.

I have reasons to believe this was the COVID19 virus. When this thesis is true, it also will imply that many people in Ibiza already developed some kind of immunity.

Many more people got it

In my direct network of friends, I have at least 5 people who got a similar 3-week experience. During the Corona first week quarantine (The confirmed one), a friend from Ibiza asked how many people had this strong flu, starting in January, one month before Wuhan hit the world’s spotlight. He described the exact same symptoms as written above.

At least 25 people responded positively. All from Ibiza, or had been travelling or living in Ibiza in November/December.

Ibiza is a hub in many ways. In summer it is definitely the clubbing EDM hub of the world. Ibiza attracts 8 million tourists on a yearly base and most of them come in the busy summer season that starts in May. There are an estimated 125.000 residents living on the white island in winter. Still many people from all over the world visit the island in winter.

Let’s assume for a moment, somebody brought Corona Virus to the island. The community of people I am in organizes and attends many weekly events, circles, ecstatic dance, gatherings, hippy markets and the like. It's not really a perfect social distancing example of people. We hug, kiss and hug some more during cacao ceremonies let alone to speak of Tantric get-togethers.

I am just saying, in ‘normal’ circumstances, a virus would spread fast on an island like Ibiza. Keep in mind that one of the first places COVID19 was detected in Spain on January 31 was the small island of Gomera, Canary Islands. After that, cases got confirmed in Tenerife when a doctor from Lombardy visited the island at the end of February.

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Ibiza might be already immune

Here is the moment I bring the stats in. As of today March 26th, 53 people are infected on Ibiza, one 85-year-old died last week who already suffered sicknesses. On a population of 125.000 residents, this means 0,042% is infected.

Here are the stats for Spain: 46.66 million inhabitants with as of today 56.188 infected and 4.089 death. This is a rate of 0,12% (March 26th according to world-o-meters)

Conclusion: The infection rate in Ibiza is 1/3 of the national rate. I guess when you effectively seal off an entire island and maintain strict quarantine as we are doing currently in Ibiza, the initial rate will stay the same or go down.

Or, when you follow my thesis, Ibiza has big populations of immune herds.

To make a little crazy sidestep, I came across an article about the situation in Bali, also a smaller island, and it has exactly the same situation. The only difference is that no less than 200.000 Chinese visited Bali in December and Januari, and the paradise island had 4 direct flights to Wuhan a week in that time frame !

The number of Corona Deaths at the time the author published this article on april 17th: Zero, Nada, zip, O.

I am not writing this for people to encourage them to leave the collective agreement of house quarantine. My intention is to speak from personal experience and to share a believe that not only I but many of my friends who ‘got it’, share. I will explain to you the why later.

Is this possible?

When the virus officially spread from Wuhan from December 30, it spread rapidly. Getting it mid-January in Ibiza, is this uberhaupt possible?

This is what Wiki says:

A confirmed case of the novel coronavirus emerged on 17 November 2019, according to 13 March 2020 reports of official Chinese government sources,[8] but was not recognized at that time. There may have been earlier patients; the search for them continues

November? W.T.F? Earlier Patients?

So it is very reasonable to assume Ibiza had the virus already in December 2019.

People are flying around the globe like a walk in the park these days. Ibiza is a very international hub, Many people have their ‘holidays’ in Asian countries. They might fly back through other Asian cities like Hong Kong or Singapore

I know, I know, this is all speculation. But still, there are some strong arguments here and first in line experiences.

Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

What to do when you believe you are immune?

I needed to write this to get it off my post-Covid chest. And to potentially give valuable information and insights for people who believe they experienced Corona before. When many of your friends also experienced similar sickness in December, call them, gather information, make your own story.

Somehow from a psychological perspective it releases my left over fear. I believe the ‘I am already immune’ mindset is better than the ‘O my God when I get this I will probably die’ mindset.

To find out if you are immune, at some point in the future you can have yourself tested. Or now, when you need to work with elderly people. When you don’t than consider not to take up time and space of very busy doctors. Avoid that. Also, you probably don’t want to expose yourself to a place with sick people.

Don’t forget the fact that eventually, with all these kind of viruses, the goal is to get that herd immunity thing going. 80% of the population apparently should get Corona. For 90% of the people, symptoms appear to be mild. That’s the only thing that speaks against my thesis in this piece. For me, it was far from mild. Corona was a mean sun of a gun. Or maybe it was already the sequel?

Stay Inside, Stay healthy.

Lucien Lecarme

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Lucien is writer, blogger and author of “The Wisdom Keeper”. He lives in front of a wonderful magnetic rock in Ibiza where he organizes retreats. He loves Hiking and dancing tango and has 14 wild cats. Lucien’s passion is to write, learn and grow as a human and writer every single day.

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