14 August 2021

'I don't want anyone to die because of me': COVID-19 'patient zero' speaks out

| Kim Treasure
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Cedric Nyamsi

Cedric Nyamsi laid up in bed. He says he hasn’t left the ACT in more than three months. Photo: Supplied.

The man who is believed to have sparked Canberra’s current COVID-19 lockdown has spoken from his sickbed to dispel rumours that he brought the infection on himself by acting illegally.

Cedric Nyamsi is usually a fit, healthy 27-year-old, but the virus has knocked him flat. He told Region Media he’s as mystified as anyone about how he contracted it.

A Commonwealth Games wrestler, he’s been brought to his knees by the virus and doesn’t want to see anyone else infected.

“It makes me feel bad,” Cedric said. “Because of me, Canberra is in lockdown. But I didn’t do anything wrong. Someone gave it to me too.”

Cedric claims he has not left the ACT in the past three months and says he is doing everything he can to help contact tracers.

“I don’t want anyone to die because of me,” Cedric said.

“I’m very fit. I thought if I got it [COVID-19], it would be like a light fever, but it’s very bad.

“I’m trying to help them [the contact tracers] find out where I got it from.”

Freestyle wrestler Cedric Nyamsi

Freestyle wrestler Cedric Nyamsi in action. He’s now been laid low by the coronavirus. Photo: Supplied.

Cedric said he was devastated by rumours he caught COVID-19 by breaching health orders and driving into Sydney to get drugs.

“I was shocked when social media said I went to Sydney to buy drugs,” he said.

“I am a wrestler … number one in Australia … I don’t take drugs at all.”

Cedric said he began feeling unwell late on Tuesday night. He took ibuprofen and went to bed. Early the next morning, he felt a bit better and went to his job as an apprentice builder but was immediately sent home.

“As soon as my boss saw me, he told me to go and see a doctor,” Cedric said.

However, when he turned up at the doctor’s surgery, he was turned away and told to attend a testing facility.


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Feeling increasingly unwell, Cedric bought some over-the-counter medication and a toothbrush and went to the hotel where he was staying while he moved house to regain his strength.

“I was too sick to even go for testing,” he said. “I took some medication and lay down. About 4:00 pm, I started to feel better, so I went to Exhibition Park for testing, but it was closing, so I went to a walk-in centre at Weston Creek.

“I did my test and was asked to go home and isolate until I got a result. I went straight back to the hotel room and stayed there.”

Cedric said he couldn’t believe it when his positive result came in.

“I was shocked,” he said. “I thought, ‘oh my God, where did I get it from?’ I know I haven’t been out of Canberra for the last three months.

“I’m still confused. I really don’t know where I got it.”

Since his positive reading, Cedric has been moved to a self-contained isolation apartment but claims he hasn’t been seen by a doctor or a nurse.

“I don’t see anyone,” he said. “My breathing is okay, but I have a very bad headache. My nose is blocked and I feel so tired.”

Cedric has lived in Canberra for the past three-and-a-half years after migrating from Cameroon.

ACT Policing said today in a statement that it does not release names of individuals under investigation nor confirm investigations of individuals without receiving other specific details relating to time of a potential incident for obvious privacy and operational reasons.

“The priority for our community right now is to allow ACT Health to conduct all contract tracing to occur for all positive COVID-19 cases in Canberra”, the statement said.

“It is crucial ACT Health has time to do this important work and the people they are liaising with, feel confident to honestly report their movements to ensure that information can then be shared with our community.

“ACT Policing’s focus remains on enforcing the current health directions in the ACT, which includes monitoring people’s movements across the territory, to help ensure there are no more cases of COVID-19. Once this has occurred, and if any potential breaches are reported, ACT Policing may investigate and consider if enforcement action is required”.

Police have reiterated that while the lockdown has led to significant speculation, Canberrans should think about their public comments and not consider taking matters into their own hands online or sharing unhelpful information.

It is an offence for anyone to use technology to threaten, intimidate, harass or humiliate someone with the intent to hurt them socially, psychologically or even physically on any social networking site.

If anyone receives a threat or is bullied online, it is important to record the information and report it to police or the social media platform where it is occurring.

You can attend your local police station, call 131 444 or if there is an immediate threat to your safety call Emergency Triple Zero (000)

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Hmmmm, Chewy, I recall you calling me disingenuous because my “weak attempts to hide behind poorly hidden assertions amd (sic) insults don’t reflect well on you.” Bummer when you own words are used against you, Chewy, isn’t it? Even more of a bummer when you are shown to be, not only a hypocrite, but a cherry picker of information who skews the truth to validate your own strawman (another of your words) argument.
Yes, I did make those unfortunate comments, but unlike you, when I make a mistake I am prepared to own it. But to report all of the facts, would not support your argument, so let me refresh your memory:
“GrumpyMark 7:00 pm 13 Aug 21
Yeah, I mentioned on here that I’d heard rumours, as reported above, but didn’t state them here and fortunately neither did any other RiotACT-er. It’s ashamed that Facebook posters don’t show the same restraint. I echo the support for Cedric and wishes for his well being. Let’s hope that the rest of the media gets on the front foot immediately, to debunk the rumours, for as I type, there’s nothing anywhere else. Seems like those who were clamouring for more information to be released, despite the fact that it wasn’t validated, need to take the time to reflect that old axiom – act in haste, repent at leisure. I certainly regret contributing by even raising my part in adding to the innuendo.”
Oh and the remark about ‘… those who were clamouring for more information to be released’, while not exclusively directed at you, certainly was meant to include you.
So Chewy, as I mentioned above, I’m bored with you. It’s time you took your incessant browbeating and sanctimony elsewhere, to find another person to play with.

Grumpymark,
No hiding here, your hypocrisy was clear for everyone to see.

I just didn’t bother with it until it became to glaring to ignore with your repeated sanctimonious commentary.

You only retracted the gossiping after the man had identified himself and provided the exact information that I beleive the government should have released around the potential source of infection and early investigations.

You’ll get no kudos for withdrawing the comments after the fact, you provided exampke a,b,c of my argument. Thanks.

Capital Retro5:58 pm 16 Aug 21

Ahhhh, chewy14 an Grumpynark attacking each other.

It doesn’t get much better than this.

Thank you RiotACT.

Sorry to disappoint you, CapitalRetro, but the battle is over. It’s actually much more fun calling you out for your glaring factual deficiencies – you are the gift that just keeps on giving.

This following was posted in a response in the comment I was following, and may not be seen by all. I think it needs to be highlighted:

“midnightriot 3:20 pm 14 Aug 21
Honestly, it’s not hard to find, e.g. http://wrestling.com.au/newsite/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Final-Results.pdf

The link is to the Wrestling Australia results of the 2021 Cadet, Junior, Senior and Veteran National Championships held on Sunday, 16th May at the National Centre of Excellence, Sydney. At the bottom of page 4, it shows in the Senior Freestyle 125kgs:
===> 1st. Cedric Nyasmsi (sic – shame they couldn’t spell his name correctly), ACT

I hope that satisfies the few detractors on here.

Thank you for drawing that to our attention, midnightriot. And a belated congratulations to you for your achievement, Cedric.

Capital Retro9:55 pm 14 Aug 21

If it “wasn’t hard to find” how come you didn’t find it either? At least I admitted I couldn’t find it and to be correct, Cedric is “one of the number one wrestlers” in Australia, not the undisputed number one in Australia.

What about our local sports journalists who missed this event 3 months ago? Shame!

Seriously, CapitalRetro, do I have to read the post to you? I didn’t say “It’s not hard to find”, because I never even tried, it was midnightriot. Secondly, who said he was “undisputed number one in Australia”? Certainly no-one in the above article – though he is currently number one in his weight category in Australia, which does sound like it’s undisputed to me. I suspect this was not reported on any syndicated publication, so how could our local journalists possibly know about it – there was probably nothing to cut ‘n’ paste. Nevertheless, we finally agree on something, Yes, it is a shame that it took something like this for Cedric’s achievement to be drawn to our attention.

QED, JC

I’m glad to see that people are understanding and supportive towards Cedric

Unfortunately,it’s only the overwhelming majority, carriew

Seems like a good and decent person. Hope he’s ok long term

How come the hotel that Cedric was staying is not on the contact sites?

And when you asked the authorities Shaz Max, their reply was …?

Capital Retro8:40 am 14 Aug 21

I can’t find any info that support’s his claim that he is the “number one wrestler in Australia”. The only listed wrestling record for him was 8th place at the Commonwealth Games in Australia in 2018 and he was representing Cameroon then.

… therefore, because he engaged in some harmless self-promotion, his whole story is a fabrication, right, CaptalRetro? I assume when you see “A best chips in town” sign outside of a fish shop you storm on in and demand documented proof? Other than congratulating your fellow denialists on their posts have you ever had a positive word to say about anything on here?

Capital Retro2:26 pm 14 Aug 21

I have re-read the article several times GM and I cannot find a disclaimer that what he said was “harmless self-promotion”. Perhaps you should re-check your situation ethics settings.

Re the “best chips in town” sign, I am not an expert on that item but I can state they taste exactly like they did years ago, before man made climate change.

You are correct, CapitalRetro, and I accept your rebuke. The “harmless self promotion” comment was me engaging in shameless editorialising. Still, I’d like your answer to a direct question. Are you claiming that Cedric has fabricated the whole story because of one comment about his wrestling, that you cannot verify, CapitalRetro?

Capital Retro4:02 pm 14 Aug 21

That was only three months ago. I stand corrected – other sites named someone else. He is also a wrestling coach at a Fyshwick gym so his wrestling followers should be proud of his achievements.

Nice slam dunk, midnightriot.
Bottom of Page 4, CapitalRetro, in case you need help:
“Senior Freestyle 125kgs – 1st Cedric Nyasmsi ACT”
Gee, it’s a good thing you don’t believe in climate change, because that egg on your face is well and truly fried.
So, can we now expect to see a post from you supporting Cedric?

Capital Retro10:30 am 15 Aug 21

How can an egg fry when it is -4 degrees? That climate change thing is diabolical.

Wow, CapitalRetro, maybe it’s finally getting through to you. Climate change is diabolical and that’s why we need to do something about it.

Honey Janakson8:22 am 14 Aug 21

Thanks for this statement and take care bro. Hope you will get well soon.

I have a question someone may be able to answer.

The government tests sewage for traces of COVID-19. Are the confirmed cases (whether they are at home or hospital) set up so their waste doesn’t go into the city’s general sewage systems.

This would allow sewage testing to still continue without those cases contaminating it.

I presume it is done this way, but am hoping someone knows for sure.

Thanks

No it’s not done that way.

This type of testing is only an indicator.

Very true, but presumably current sewage testing stands a good chance of picking up the current known positive cases if they are using the standard sewage system.

By having them use a separate system (porta-potties or whatever they are called, if at home. Other solutions at hospital) any current testing which indicates a positive result from the sewage would suggest there are further infected people in the community.

ashleyintheory12:39 am 14 Aug 21

Credit to Andrew Barr who refused to be draw on the rumours when a journo tried to get a criticism out of him.

All the best Cedric! I hope you get better soon mate.

Natalie Banks9:27 pm 13 Aug 21

I just want to add another voice of support, Cedric, as this is a tough time for you.
Thank you for speaking out, setting the record straight and, most importantly, for doing the right thing by everybody. I am sure that, like myself, many people reading this article will appreciate it.
(Hopefully we all know the term ‘patient zero’ means the first documented case, not the primary case or source of this particular outbreak in Canberra). I hope you recover well from this and can get back to your normal life soon.

My thoughts are with you, Cedric. Rest and get better soon. Thank you for helping the contact tracers – it is not your fault.

Thanks Cedric, for being scrupulous with your check-ins so the health authorities can prevent the spread. Get well soon and ignore the unpleasant comments on social media, just focus on getting better.

Hope you are feeling better very soon Cedric. Thank you for being so helpful with the authorities. I hope they can track the source of your infection very soon.

Narelle Dawn7:29 pm 13 Aug 21

Sorry this has happened to you Cedric. I hope you get better soon – thankyou for getting tested quickly – Good luck

Get well soon Cedric, I am sorry you have had to go through this, stay safe and strong ?

Yeah, I mentioned on here that I’d heard rumours, as reported above, but didn’t state them here and fortunately neither did any other RiotACT-er. It’s ashamed that Facebook posters don’t show the same restraint. I echo the support for Cedric and wishes for his well being. Let’s hope that the rest of the media gets on the front foot immediately, to debunk the rumours, for as I type, there’s nothing anywhere else. Seems like those who were clamouring for more information to be released, despite the fact that it wasn’t validated, need to take the time to reflect that old axiom – act in haste, repent at leisure. I certainly regret contributing by even raising my part in adding to the innuendo.

Kieran Schmidt7:00 pm 13 Aug 21

The majority of us are impressed with the clubbing until 4:30am followed by the church at 10am with a full day of shopping only to finish it off by going to the pub at 9pm. What an absolute unit!

Stop judging people, mate! Because of this incident, he has agreed to share his private activities to help protect the community, not to let people make judgments.

The intent behind his activities should not be anyones’ concern.

where did he judge him?

Nico Mellett9:42 pm 13 Aug 21

My thoughts exactly! #beastmode

He went to his job as a bouncer, went to church, went furniture shopping, as he’s moving house, and back to work.

Sounds like a very responsible young man.

Oh, sorry! Did I interrupt you dissing him?

Kieran Schmidt7:08 am 14 Aug 21

I’m glad you’re defending the guy but you misinterpreted my admiration for something else entirely.

Get all soon Cedric, I am sorry you have had to go through all this, stay safe and strong ?

I am a Rabbit™6:52 pm 13 Aug 21

It’s somewhat concerning that the walk-in centre at Weston Creek isn’t on the list of exposure sites?

They don’t need to as they have the contact details of everyone who attends. It’s the same with workplaces where only employees are present. They only list places where there may have been unknown people present.

Steve Allsopp6:47 pm 13 Aug 21

Get well soon Cedric! Very brave of you to release your story, stay strong and don’t let the uneducated bring you down.

Celeste Cummins6:42 pm 13 Aug 21

Get well soon Cedric. I am sorry you are going through this terrible illness, and that you have been unfairly judged and criticised by people who don’t know the truth. Thank you for doing the right things, and I pray you recover your full health.?

Simon Kokoszko6:27 pm 13 Aug 21

It’s a shame that screenshots of random texts get out quicker than an explanation from the government/police, he is likely to face prejudice as a result of people believing whatever they read or see in social media!

Thank you so much for posting this. Some of the stuff that’s been put in the comments here has been pretty ordinary. Hope the young fella gets better.

Finally a bit of information is released. Strange that the government have so far been unwilling to provide any information and the man himself has stepped up.

I mean what of this tell all is actually useful information? It’s sad that Cedric has felt compelled to out himself because the Canberra rumour mill was in overdrive, but this doesn’t actually help anyone. There’s no information about the source of infection, when or how the infection was acquired. It tells us that we’re still searching for patient zero, but that was the assumption regardless. There isn’t yet any match from genomic sequencing.

The government hasn’t shared any of this because it should all be pretty irrelevant and victims of this virus should be entitled to their privacy.

Don’t get me wrong, I admire Cedric for the bravery required to come out in this climate and say who you are and apologize for any harm you may have unintentionally caused. He just shouldn’t have had to do it.

Bro,
This information quells (at least temporarily) some of the rumours that have been spreading due to the lack of information provided by the government on the source of the outbreak.

I agree with you that he shouldn’t have had to do this. Because the government should have. They could have done so without naming him as well although his identity was Canberra’s worst kept secret.

Now we can wait to see if it’s true.

Hi Cedric, so sorry that you have contracted the COVID -19 virus. Wishing you a speedy and healthy recovery ????

Hi, reallybro, I guess the authorities are still working through the maze of information they have, and understandably they probably have not been able to work back to patient zero (which is Cedric – 1). I have to confess I don’t understand genome sequencing – I’m sure someone will enlighten me – but if we assume that patient zero is from Sydney, the genome link can only be established if said patient zero has been tested and returned a positive recorded result. However, if patient zero is an asymptomatic carrier and has not been tested, then it’s worth than finding a needle in a haystack. I may be wrong, but as I recall, patient zero in the Sydney Northshore outbreak was never identified – possibly because they were never tested. So unfortunately as happened for Cedric, the constant clamouring for information, by those whose overinflated opinion of their own self importance, can only be met by the rumour mill, as it doesn’t need the time and expertise that the properly verified and validated truth requires. Unfortunately, that’s why Cedric had to come out and defend himself against these unfounded rumours. The old cliche of never letting the truth get in the way of a good story is never better expressed than in describing social media.

Because it’s none of your bloody business, mate! People have a right to privacy. In none of the Sydney or Melbourne lockdowns has there been a witch hunt to “out” anybody. All you need to know is the exposure sites and how to minimise your risk. It doesn’t MATTER who he is. Typical Canberran attitude of having to know everything about everyone else!

Evil kitten core issue is chewy14 hates Andrew Barr and the government. So he/she is always looking for something to have a jibe at them over.

And your comment is spot on. No other government of either political persuasion releases personal information about cases on day zero.

You do of course see personal information if someone gets charged with something, case in point the two who travelled to Byron Bay, but that is well after police and health have had time to investigate properly.

Seriously, JC, you actually expect an investigation of the facts before we get to have access to the information? But that takes time, and we have a god given right to know everything on demand!

JC,
Honestly just because you love the ALP doesn’t mean legitimate questions of their behaviour means I hate them.

I regularly support them on numerous topics on this website so how does that fit in with your ridiculously inane assertions?

The facts are that a transparent and honest government would release information on the potential source of the virus transmission because it is critical to addressing the spread. You even point this out with the Byron Bay cases whose travel was identified almost immediately within the first day, well before they were charged.

What a good government doesn’t do is obfuscate the issue and say it is “entirely unimportant” where the virus was transmitted like Barr did.

This man (Cedric) has had to out himself due to the government’s lack of honesty and transparency.

Either they are withholding information from the public or they are thoroughly incompetent. Neither is a good look.

But you keep defending them like you always do. Good boy.

Grumpymark,
Can’t see where anyone has suggested there shouldn’t be an investigation of the facts. Got any other strawmen you want to throw around?

JC thank you. In other states we learn that it was a removalist, or a limo driver but I can’t ever recall such a bunch of nitpickers trying to pry into finding someone’s name and personal details. So wrong. This poor guy having to “out” himself to stop the rumours 🙁

Chewy, did I say anyone suggested there shouldn’t be an investigation? Is the strawman, the fact that I intimated that the time it takes to investigate the facts, doesn’t accord with the timetable of people who have an overinflated perception of their self importance? Got any other misinformation you want to throw around?

Evil Kitten,
Completely agree with you that he shouldn’t have had to out himself. Because the government should have provided information on the case being honest and transparent with the electorate.

Nowhere have I said that we needed personal or identifying information on the case, in fact I think the opposite of that.

What we did need is information on the likely sources of the case and what their initial investigations were showing. None of that would have involved identifying the person involved and could easily have been provided to quell the rumour mill and give needed information to the community. You’re actually agreeing with my position.

Chewy, where did I state that anyone “… suggested that there shouldn’t be an investigation”? Is the strawman, the fact that I stated investigations take time, and inferred that this may not accord with the timetable of those who are guided by delusions of their own self importance? Got any other misrepresentations you want to throw around?

Chewy, the only thing Canberrans needed to know is the critical locations, so we could determine our relativity in relation to being close (or otherwise) contacts and the parameters governing the lockdown, so we can take action accordingly. That information has been provided in a timely manner and is continually being updated as new facts come to hand. The rest is … please refer to earlier comment relating to delusions of self importance

Grumpymark,
Could you be any more disingenuous. You’re replying on a thread started by me to a comment that directly references me. Your weak attempts to hide behind poorly hidden assertions amd insults don’t reflect well on you.

Although speaking of delusions, are you seriously attempting to suggest the government is unable to investigate and report on the basics of a COVID case within 48hrs? That they wouldn’t have interviewed the man and be deep into contact tracing?

You mustn’t think much of the government and the health department’s competence 18months into a global pandemic if that’s the case

chewy14, draw whatever concludsins you like – if the cap fits …. Also, I didn’t say that the government has inverstigated and provided information to those who need to know – to perform their job in getting us through this. I’m sugggesting that the priority for them to provide it to the press and general public is much lower, for very valid reasons. And disingenuous? I’ll just say kettle out, over to you pot.

Grumpymark,
Completely disagree with your beliefs of what we need to know, the source of the original case is clearly extremely important information for the public to control the spread and maintaining trust with the electorate is critical to ensure people have faith and follow the rules.

Have you ever thought of a career in fungiculture? I think you’d suit the environment.

Grumpymark,
So you agree with me that the government was withholding important information and deliberately not answering questions. Good to know.

And if you’d watched both yesterday and today’s press conference both the CM and CHO were far more forthcoming with information on the cases and answered the questions more directly explaining what they did and did not know and what was still under investigation. Almost like they’d learned their lessons from the early mistakes.

Although I’m not sure how this fits with your other comments, perhaps you simply think that whatever they tell you is the right amount, no matter what it is.

My apologies, Chewy, I actually need to re-read my posts before hitting submit, especially on iPhone. That post should have read:
chewy14, draw whatever conclusions you like – if the cap fits …. Also, I didn’t say that the government hasn’t investigated and provided information to those who need to know – in order to perform their job in getting us through this. I’m suggesting that the priority for them to provide it to the press and general public is much lower, for very valid reasons. And disingenuous? I’ll just say kettle out, over to you pot.

Chewy, not all of us are so insecure as to need reassurance at every step of the way. Some of us are actually capable of understanding that in a crisis, keeping it simple means we can concentrate on what we need to do to get through it. Are you seriously telling me that you needed to know the source of the original case? If so than I also have a career suggestion for you – bovine husbandry. We still don’t know the original source, yet people are clearly following the rules and even more importantly being tested. And as for the more information coming out at conferences, well duh! It’s now been 4 days since the first case was discovered, you don’t suppose those undertaking the investigations have had the time to discern more information in that time, which they have passed on the the CM and CMO? One of the strengths of Dr Coleman is the fact that she refuses to engage in speculation but telies on facts in evidence – nothing nurtures trust in the electorate than an official who refuses to kowtow to the press’s demands for a headline.

Anyway, chewy, this is boring. You keep demanding every morsel of extremely important (to you) information – though I can assure you it won’t be forthcoming just because you demand it. Me? I’m just going to make do with contact locations and being informed of the parameters applying to the lockdown – which is all I need to stay safe and ensure I do nothing to jeopardise the safety of others – anything else, while it might be interesting, is not critical to me.

Grumpymark,
They’ve been giving more information on the new cases. Exactly as I suggested they should have originally.

Apparently you thought they didn’t need to provide that type of information a couple of days ago, but now it seems standard. Strange.

Although I still think the additional information would have prevented people gossiping and spreading rumours. On this website, we had people saying things like:

“Like many, I’ve heard some disturbing rumours about patient zero. Unfortunately as it’s the “a friend of a friend, who knows a work mate of …” rumour mill, so no justification whatsoever to state what I’ve heard, but if true and it comes out, I’d hate to be patient zero.”

“Actually, rustylick, the rumours I’ve heard may have some basis in fact –”

Apparently these type of people were really keen on the rumours and additional information. If the government was more forthcoming, this type of commentary and gossiping would have been reduced…..

Apparently my response to you, which I posted over 5 hours ago, has fallen foul of the moderator(s).
So I will simply say, as I mentioned above, I’m bored with you. It’s time you took your incessant browbeating and sanctimony elsewhere, to find another person to play with.

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