An inquest is to be held into the death of a York lecturer who contracted Covid-19 shortly before the first lockdown.
Ed Rooksby was a political theorist and lecturer at the University of York. He was 46.
Mr Rooksby had chronicled his struggles with pain and fatigue from long-Covid since being infected with coronavirus in March 2020.
He wrote in his final blog post in January that he knew the moment he caught the virus.
“In late March, a day or two before the first lockdown came into effect I walked into York city centre with a bravado that turned out to be hubris.
“I was in town to prove to myself that I wasn’t scared and, while I was at it, to pick up some bottles from the very nice Belgian beer specialist on Stonegate and to use a gift card I’d been given months before. This was before masks in shops became mandatory and before people really started to wear them.”
He said he was queuing in another shop when he noticed “too late, that the cashier had a nasty cough.
“She must have known this was a symptom of Covid and, for that matter, her store manager must have known it too – she should have been told to self-isolate and supported on full pay.
“I can’t be 100% sure I got the virus from her, but it seems highly likely. Sometimes I wonder if the elderly woman who was behind me in the queue is still alive.”
‘I suddenly felt very ill’
Dr Rooksby said his symptoms were mild at first and he believed he had made a full recovery. Then in August he went for a riverside walk in York with a friend.
“On the 15 minute walk home to my house I suddenly felt very ill, like I was going to faint and collapse in the street.
“I only just made it back to my home and crumpled on the sofa where I lay for a few hours with a heavy physical and mental exhaustion that I have never experienced before.
“Over the next few days my health rapidly and frighteningly deteriorated. The headaches became permanent and the tickle in my lungs became a feeling of uncomfortable tightness. Further symptoms, often bizarre, followed in a gathering cascade.”
In September he felt so ill “I literally thought I was going to die.
“I thought I was having a stroke and considered dialling 999 with my useable hand. I didn’t do it, but I did draft goodbye messages to my family on WhatsApp on my phone, to have them ready to send if I felt myself going.”
His symptoms receded, but then he was hit by regular relapses. He died in February at his home in York.
One former student wrote: “He was hugely popular with students because of his kind encouragement and willingness to go above and beyond to help. He was undoubtedly one of the most popular members of staff and he will be missed so much.”
Another described him as “a brilliant lecturer” and “one of the best teachers I’ve had”.
An date has now been set for the opening of an inquest into Dr Rooksby’s death. It will take place in Northallerton on 23 June.