Saturday, May 2
I’ve been experiencing a weird breathlessness sensation for a couple of days that I put down to hay fever.
But today, it got significantly worse, to the extent where I was having trouble breathing properly, was left panting after walking up or down the stairs, and then I started sporadically coughing too.
‘You OK?’ texted Amanda Holden, who’s hit the pop charts with a stunning version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow to raise money for the NHS. ‘Hope so,’ I replied, ‘but if it’s bad news can you sing at my funeral?’ She sent back an immediate, very animated voice message: ‘OH MY GOD PIERS, DON’T EVEN F****** JOKE!’
I also feel oddly tired and was disconcerted enough to call a respiratory consultant who treated me for a bad bout of bronchitis a year ago, for his opinion.
‘Breathlessness, cough and lethargy are all possible symptoms of Covid-19,’ he said. ‘You should get a test as soon as possible.’
I’m not easily fazed but felt a sudden wave of panic.
I watched an ICU doctor on TV last week saying they were seeing more and more men in their 50s carrying a bit of excess timber who were seriously ill with coronavirus.
One of those is Derek Draper, husband of my fellow Good Morning Britain presenter Kate Garraway, who is a similar height and build to me but three years younger. He is still fighting for his life, poor man.
So, this was an unnerving moment.
‘What would you say my chances are of having the virus?’ I asked, nervously.
‘Five to ten per cent,’ he replied.
I’ve always been a glass-half-full person, so would normally view those odds very confidently as 90-95 per cent in my favour.
Yet this time, all I could think was that I might have a disease that is killing a lot of people in a particularly horrible and vicious way.
Sunday, May 3
I took my NHS test at a drive-through unit, where two nurses came out in full protective gear and stuck a swab down my throat (which made me gag) and up my nose (this felt fine). It was all over in two minutes though, and I was on my way again.
But I can’t go back to work until I get the result, so to avoid any ridiculous speculation over why I won’t be in tomorrow, I tweeted that I’d had a coronavirus test on medical advice and ‘out of an abundance of caution.’
Of course, this revelation just attracted ridiculous speculation anyway.
Some were outraged I had got a test at all, but all journalists and broadcasters covering coronavirus are designated ‘key workers’ by the Government and therefore entitled to one if they are showing any symptoms.
Others claimed it was all a scam and I’d obviously been suspended by ITV for shouting at too many Government ministers. (Coronavirus is a hot breeding ground for conspiracy theorists).
One of those ministers, health secretary Matt Hancock – who himself had the virus – tweeted: ‘Sorry to see Piers Morgan has symptoms of coronavirus. If you test positive, I sincerely hope it’s mild. Get well soon.’ I appreciated the gesture, though it may have been motivated more by relief that I’d boosted his test numbers.
I also appreciated the good wishes of GMB rivals like BBC Breakfast’s Naga Munchetty, who tweeted: ‘Take care, hoping test result is negative – but if not, hope you recover.’
And heartfelt messages from Covid survivors like Linda Lusardi, who nearly died from coronavirus last month, and said: ‘I really hope you haven’t got it.’
Knowing what she went through, so do I.
‘You OK?’ texted Amanda Holden, who’s hit the pop charts with a stunning version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow to raise money for the NHS.
‘Hope so,’ I replied, ‘but if it’s bad news can you sing at my funeral?’
She sent back an immediate, very animated voice message: ‘OH MY GOD PIERS, DON’T EVEN F****** JOKE!’
Monday, May 4
After a fitful night’s sleep, partly from the symptoms and partly from worry, I paced around all day waiting for the result like a condemned man on Death Row desperately hoping for last-minute clemency, as more friends kindly got in touch to show solidarity.
‘Sorry to hear you’ve been undergoing tests,’ emailed former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. ‘Hope you get good results and come through feeling better. You’ve been the voice of the country throughout this pandemic. Can’t get through it without your presence on our screens! Hope you’re back with us soon.’
‘Don’t take liberties with your health, our bodies speak to us sometimes,’ said Gary Lineker.
My body’s definitely speaking to me, and it’s not mincing its words.
Eventually, early this evening, my doctor phoned me and uttered one word: ‘Negative.’
How ironic that this was such positive news – well for me anyway.
When I tweeted out the update, a young lady named Chloe retorted: ‘Personally, I was hoping for death, so this is a shame to read.’
‘Sorry to disappoint you, Chloe,’ I replied.
On a happier note, I got a text from the greatest living Briton, Captain (now Colonel) Tom Moore and his daughter Hannah, wishing me a speedy recovery and suggesting my symptoms may have been caused by excessive ‘ranting at fools’.
They might be on to something!
Friday, May 8
After a few days’ rest, I feel a lot better.
More concerned friends have been offering advice: Holly Willoughby urged me to try meditation to reduce my stress levels in these ‘mad times’, Judge Rinder recommended a vitamin drip (‘You’ve been the de facto opposition in the most politically turbulent time since WW2,’ he texted, ‘I suspect it was your body saying ‘enough already’), and Sir Geoffrey Boycott was very worried about the breathlessness – ‘If you can’t speak you won’t be the same guy!’
It fell, as so often, to Vinnie Jones to give some much-needed perspective.
‘Oh, come on Piers, don’t be going for the sympathy vote with all the housewives you complete bell***,’ he texted. ‘Let me know when you get over the sniffles you panzy and I’ll see you on the golf course. Your loving buddy in LA, Vinnie. X’
Attached to the message was a photo of a smirking Mr Jones wearing a beanie hat with a large woollen penis stuck on the front.
It’s time to go back to work.