Twin brothers Chris and Xand van Tulleken, both doctors, share their personal and professional experiences of Covid-19.
Chris is an infectious diseases doctor at the world-leading UCL Hospital in London. During lockdown he was asked to return to work on the wards for the first time in ten years. As well as treating seriously ill patients, he wants to understand what the virus is doing to our bodies and why it is so difficult to treat. To make things more stressful for Chris, his wife Dinah is seven months pregnant with their second child.
Chris’s twin brother, Xand, is a specialist in public health. Xand has worked in medical emergencies around the world, but never so close to home. He wants to examine the impact Covid-19 is having outside our hospitals – on the UK’s most vulnerable – and lend a hand where he can. Xand contracted Covid-19 in March, and it left him tired and sluggish. He has also developed an irregular heartbeat, which he suspects is part of the aftermath of his Covid infection.
Xand accepts an invitation to visit Philia Lodge care home in Peterborough, where they want to show him what they’re up against. It was one of the first care homes in the country to suffer a coronavirus outbreak, and one-third of their residents died. Xand in shocked by what he sees and hears. He also visits St Pancras Rehabilitation Centre, where he meets other patients dealing with the longer-term consequences of the virus.