Kate Garraway: A doctor explains why Derek's health deteriorated after getting Covid

Since last weekend, news about Kate Garraway’s husband Derek has been very worrying. Derek Draper suffered a heart attack after being very sick since catching Covid-19. But why did the virus have such an impact on him?

Kate Garraway, Derek Draper, long covid effects
© Jon Furniss / GETTY IMAGES
Kate Garraway, Derek Draper, long covid effects

We are very close to the end of 2023 and somehow, as much as we would like to think of Covid-19 as a thing of the past, it is still very much a thing. Earlier in the year, we spoke to people who suffer from long-covid which highlighted the fact that the virus is part of our present even though the first lockdown was over three years ago.

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The people we spoke to were able to recover, even if not fully. However, this isn’t the case for Derek Draper. Since getting it, the man has been terribly ill, showing the impact the virus can have on the body over time. This culminated when it was announced that he had a heart attack.

A doctor explains why Derek Draper is so ill

Speaking to Mirror, Dr Gareth Nye explained that Draper’s case isn’t particularly isolated. The man - who contracted Covid in March 2020 - has since been suffering ‘organ damage’.

The doctor said:

After any Covid infection regardless of hospitalisation or treatment, your risk of having a cardiovascular event (eg heart attack or stroke) is significantly higher in the 12 months that follow.
Long-term lung issues are also seen due to the damage from the infection along with long-term changes to your immune system, leading to increased risk of autoimmune diseases (over 40 per cent more likely).

Dr Nye also highlighted that studies on thousands of people who had Covid-19 show that ‘between the ages of 17 and 87', it was 'estimated that 80 per cent of those infected with coronavirus ended up developing one or more long-term symptoms’.

Unfortunately for Derek Draper, he is one of those people. Speaking specifically about his situation Dr Nye continued:

Derek will undoubtedly have multiple long-term health conditions following his specific reaction to the Covid infection, as well as the procedures used to try and save him eg ventilation.
His start certainly isn't isolated but remains quite uncommon compared with the vast numbers of people who have been infected with the virus, even multiple times.

The lasting effects of Covid-19

As Dr Nye points out Derek Draper’s severe case is not the usual for people who get Covid. Most people who did get it ended up recovering in a couple of weeks. However, as we were told during the peak of the pandemic, some people are more at risk than others. Those with autoimmune diseases, elderly people and generally people over 50.

At first, the lasting effects of Covid-19 were not studied but three years later that is no longer the case. We now know for sure thanks to research that there are very real medical impacts. Dr Nye mentions ‘fatigue, headaches and attention span’ but there are so many more.

The NHS has on its list of common symptoms things like shortness of breath, ‘loss of smell’ and ‘’muscle aches’. Imperial College London conducted a study on 120,000 people called REACT long-covid. The goal of that study was and still is to ‘understand (the) varied symptoms and experiences’ of long Covid.

One of the results of this study is a comprehensive and pedagogical illustration by Monique Jackson which captures the wide variety of symptoms of long Covid.

Long Covid symptoms Monique Jackson & Imperial College London

In February 2023, around 2 million people in the UK had Covid symptoms that lasted longer than 4 weeks.

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Mirror: Doctor sheds light on why Covid made Kate Garraway's husband Derek Draper so ill


Imperial College London: REACT Long COVID

Office for National Statistics: Prevalence of ongoing symptoms following coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the UK: 2 February 2023

Kate Garraway steps away from work as husband’s health gets worse: What happened to Derek Draper? Kate Garraway steps away from work as husband’s health gets worse: What happened to Derek Draper?