Coronavirus has become a pandemic that has literally brought the world to its knees. WHO has been constantly sharing information about precautionary measures to take and symptoms to look out for. However, because of its novelty, only people who have been affected by the virus, or those who have been tested for it, can accurately share what it's like.
Additionally, the lack of information, the speed with which the virus is spreading, and the necessary but unfortunate lockdowns, has evoked different reactions in people and led to some shocking experiences. People have taken to social media sites, like Quora, and Reddit, to share how the virus has affected them:
1. Bindiya Sharma experienced chest pains and breathing difficulty, and had recently been in contact with someone who returned from the UK. After being advised for hospital checkup by the helpline, her test result came negative. But the check-up, and the fear of a positive result, took a toll on both her and her family.
At the hospital, they checked my body temperature, heartbeat, asked me a few questions and immediately took me to the isolation ward. After some time, a nurse came to take my blood sample. I was a bit afraid- what if the report were positive. My parents were waiting outside, tense and trying to call me as I was quarantined from them. After 2–3 hours, a nurse came again and took me for an X- ray scan. It was a crucial time. Every second was tough for me and my family. After some time, the reports came and they were negative. We were relaxed.
They allowed me to go home but instructed me to be self quarantined for at least 7 days. Today morning a team of four doctors from the health department visited our home. They gave me some medicines, stamped me and gave some instructions. Please don't take it easy guys. It's time to stand together. Stay safe and stay strong. And most importantly stay away from social gatherings as much as you can.
2. Jarred Dunn, from Texas, USA, shared his experience of buying essential items for his elderly parents, and the consequences of panic buying.
Both of Jarred's parents are at high risk for Covid-19, due to their age and health issues, especially his father who is a cancer patient. Consequently, he was dropping off groceries on their doorstep to minimize their exposure to large crowds, and toilet paper was an item on the list. But due to panic buying, stores have now employed certain rules.
When I arrived at 6:30 am (store opened at 8 am), the line was already snaking around the building. The store manager walked out to make announcements one hour before opening. Everyone was limited to one package per person, regardless of the number of rolls. Toilet paper was gone in the first fifteen minutes. The chicken was well stocked, but the egg shelves remained empty. Liquid hand soaps and sanitizers have not been seen in weeks. Signs with limits were posted around the store, though some of them dangled from empty shelves. I was happy to hear my fellow shoppers thanking the workers in the store; many of them looked incredibly tired. The cashier in my line had worked at least 12 hours the last two days.
3. Addison Taylor Rich from London suspected of having Coronavirus, but could not get tested because of UK's testing rules.
I fell sick on Friday, March 13th. It started with a dry cough, that quickly progressed to a phlegmy cough and sweats/chills. I went into isolation and spent five days catching what little sleep I could in between coughing fits. I can not be tested because of NHS shortages, but I would bet my visa I've caught the Coronavirus. I’m so tired and achy and sore I barely have the energy to get off the bed. Getting up one day to make myself soup left me falling asleep on the floor beside my bed because it was just too much work to make it onto the mattress.
I’m having to sleep propped up on pillows so I don’t wake up choking on my own mucus. Staying hydrated is next to impossible because walking down the hallway to the kitchen is so exhausting. I haven’t been able to check my own temperature, but the fever has left me shivering from the cold under two layers of blankets, feeling sweat dripping off me. I’ve barely eaten. It takes most of my energy just to get to the toilet. Tesco is out of pasta. Toilet paper is being stolen from the uni bathrooms. I watch as the death toll continues to climb in Italy and feel my heart clench when I realize that will be us in a few short weeks.
4. Lance LaSalle from Czech Republic saw his entire business (language school) go bust in a span of few short weeks, and his limited savings could not do much.
In just a week, his entire staff was reduced from 24 to 7 teachers. Wearing masks became compulsory, he couldn't make the rent for his office property and was paying salaries out of his own pocket. But the worst, in his opinion, is the economic aftermath across the globe.
I’m totally freaked out and afraid. Absolutely terrified. This is the most stressful, worst, most dreadful time period I’ve ever experienced in my life professionally. I hate that I’m literally living in a nightmare Hollywood end-of-the-world flick. Well no, I mean, not literally because this is no movie. This is the real fucking thing. This is life and all social habits utterly destroyed in a matter of days. I really think that the economic devastation to come is going to be so utterly profound and shattering that either we are all (and I mean ALL DEVELOPED COUNTRIES) are going to be knocked back into the developing world; or we will go full communist just to keep from total collapse. You know what’s worst? Watching it play out on two different timelines on two different continents. Seeing my American loved ones on social media complaining about trivial matters — while this fucking virus destroys 12 people’s livelihoods, including mine and my family’s is disturbing and horrifying. The deaths haven’t even started coming to anybody I know yet. There are zero deaths in this country as of the time of writing this. But they are coming. I can feel it.
5. Fiama Tibaldi, from Spain, talked about how her father is being treated with medicine in a clinical trial, after being diagnosed with Covid-19.
Only 43 years old, Fiama's father is a doctor and a 'non-smoker, healthy man', who is battling for his life in the ICU because of severe pneumonia caused by COVID-19. While he wasn't working directly with Covid-19 patients, chances are he was exposed to one of them and consequently, contracted the diseases. She talked about why even young, healthy, low-risk people are not 'safe' from the virus and need to take it seriously.
He is sedated and intubated, and he's being treated with medicine in clinical trials because the standard treatment is not working. Remember there's no drug that specifically targets SARS-CoV-2. Most positive cases run with mild, flu-like symptoms that can be handled with NSAIDs and rest. It is estimated only 14% of cases need intensive care, most of them are patients in high-risk groups. My dad is not in that group. My point is, even though chances are low, just because you're young and healthy does not mean you won't have a hard time if infected.
She also talked about how Spain has been, under the lockdown, with strict measures against those violating rules and leaving their houses. She also added why it was necessary to stay at home, and value the sacrifice frontline workers were making.
Health professionals are not risking their lives every day for you to be living like nothing is happening. Same thing goes for cashiers, pharmacists, police. Use your head and be respectful: stay home, specially if you have symptoms (cough, low fever, feeling like you have no air). I know it sucks and after a week, days seem long, but our individual actions influence our global consequences.
6. Snehal Srivastava, from the Netherlands, shared the conditions after a lockdown was imposed while adding that people 'taking' advantage of the situation to travel are putting many others at risk.
You know the worst part? The fact that some people are seeing this as an opportunity to book cheap tickets and travel. Why? Because only the old are dying. That is absolutely disgusting. The problem isn’t that you won’t get it, the problem is the people you will contaminate.
It’s scary to be in the Netherlands. 2 weeks back we literally had 0 cases and now we are in the top 10 with 800+ cases. The exponential growth of the virus here gives me chills. I had 3 trips planned in the coming 3 months - all cancelled. One of them was to meet my parents. Everyone is hoarding things. I’ve been wanting to buy a sanitizer for 3 weeks now but with no avail. Food shelves are empty, the streets are empty, the hallways are empty. I also saw this “covid19 quarantine party” playlist on Spotify, filled with songs relating to the words of being sick, toxicity etc. - people are so weird
7. Britney Vu, from Montreal, encountered racism because she is Asian, with people avoiding her in public transport, etc.
While I was sitting on the corner of the bus, I had one empty seat next to me. Every adult and child who walked by me did not want to sit next to me because I was Asian who might carry the “coronavirus.” This is not the first time it has happened. It occurred the same actions over the past weeks. If you’ve visited Chinatown this week, it is deserted as f*ck because of the coronavirus. I swear: businesses will shut down and the tourist attraction of Chinatown will vanish. I volunteered at the Montreal Chinese Hospital of elders with my group of Asian peers and my advisor/organiser told us that almost every organisation has cancelled on us. To all of you, ignorant people out there, #IamNotTheVirus. (But be careful though.)
Multiple Chinese establishments, including old-age homes, have also been deserted. She also talked about how, even celebrities like Eugene Lee, have been subjected to racism due to the pandemic.
8. Zapressa S Zapata, from Orlando, US, is an expectant mother, who has a high-risk pregnancy, and the situation has been extremely scary for her.
35 weeks pregnant, Zapressa, 'like most Americans, believed that things were not as serious until they were asked to stay in quarantine because the spread of the virus could not be contained. She talked about her own experience, as well as other new mothers.
The wait has been awful, and I’m scared, I don’t know what’s going on inside my own body with my own baby. I’m terrified because my doctor told me we have to induce at the right time or my baby could be stillborn, or I’ll have some other complications. But, everyone’s afraid of getting sick, so there’s nothing I can do but wait. I have a few pregnant friends as well. One just had her baby a few days ago, her husband wasn’t allowed at the time of birth or to visit and she is alone with her baby unable to see him. I’m scared my husband won’t be able to be with me whenever I give birth, everything seems so worst-case scenario right now. All I can do is hope that things will get better soon, and me and my baby will stay healthy.
9. Gene Rosales, from San Francisco, is a doctor and he shared exactly how grueling the conditions have been with medical equipment being rationed for the doctors and more and more people demanding tests.
The previous 12 hours shift was demanding beyond my capabilities and especially patience. We are going through lots of our N95, it's now being rationed. Our protective gowns are so flimsy and not really offering protection because our neck is exposed anyways. Goggles have to be wiped clean and reused, but with smudge lenses, how can I see the vein when starting an IV? We get cheap gloves that would rip when you pull on it wrong. I've washed my hands so much they are getting raw. And I'll be doing it all over again I'm certain of it when I come back to work tonight.
10. Nathaniel Smith talked about how exhausting it has been to work at a grocery store, for long hours, while worrying about his parents, and managing customer's expectations.
I’ve just finished working 13 days straight. I was scheduled 24 hours this past week... I actually worked 46. I’m exhausted. And my allergies are acting up, so I have a cough. Exhausted and a cough. Aren’t those two of the initial symptoms? Well, can’t do anything about that. But no fever. I’m checking it frequently. Mostly, I’m worried about my parents and step-parents. Most people think of healthcare workers as being on the front line of this, but it’s been pointed out to me repeatedly by customers that grocery workers are too.
11. Nitha Freddy's husband works with the State Bank of India, and banking services are open during the lockdown. At this time, she only has one advice, to prioritize the bank work and only step out when necessary.
My husband is out there working, meeting customers, providing banking facilities. And it’s shocking to know that even now people come down to the branch just to print a passbook, or check their balance. I mean please jot down your priorities. He touches money, paper, passbook, documents, pens, etc. day in day out. Please be responsible and visit the branch only if it is very important, please switch to digital transactions wherever possible. Because there are 1000s of bank employees out there doing their best, please be considerate of them too. Their spouses, children, and parents are worried for 9 hours every day.
12. Lory Lorenzo resides in Bergamo, Italy which has been one of the worst infected areas in Italy. And his heartbreaking realization, that almost everyone has loved one who has succumbed to the virus, is the unfortunate news we all must learn from.
The situation is getting even more hectic now as our hospitals are full and can't handle any more patients in need of ICU treatments. The picture of military vehicles was taken yesterday in Bergamo. They are transporting coffins for cremation in other towns because here it’s no more possible. Every family in Bergamo’s town and province has now a friend or a relative who passed away, and many friends affected by the virus. There is no time to cry for your passed away people, no funeral. If you are lucky the last farewell is done through a smartphone lent by doctors/nurses to patients before they die.
Act now, tomorrow could be too late. I don’t know when this tragedy will be over, the only thing I am sure of is that we will come out, on top of losses and pain, psychologically and economically devastated. Covid-19 takes no prisoners. Be ready for the worst if you are taking it too easy.
13. Reddit user, svenson_26, shared a very horrifying but unavoidable result of lockdowns - rise in domestic abuse cases for people stuck with abusive partners.
I was watching the local news and they interviewed a police officer and asked what has changed in the past few days. He said that with everyone stuck at home, domestic abuse has gone way up. Shit, man. Imagine being in an abusive relationship, and now you're locked in with that person 24/7 and you can't leave the house. That makes me very sad and I wish there was some way to help.
14. Another Redditor talked about not being able to make it to the Olympics after making the trials for the first time.
Made Olympic trials for the first time. Was super excited to go and compete. Now every single gym and pool on the planet is closed and even if they weren’t, the meet itself is postponed and likely to be cancelled. It’s not the end of the world but damn, it was really something for me to look forward to.
15. Carlos, from Venezuela, shared that the country has mediocre healthcare and acute water shortage, and is currently, further crumbling under the Coronavirus pandemic.
The healthcare system is practically non existent, hospitals suffer the water and electricity crisis as well, there aren’t even hospital beds, there are hundreds of videos on youtube about the state of Venezuelan hospitals. If the virus were to hit this country the same way it has hit Italy, we would have thousands of deaths every day.
16. Maitry Thaker is a medical intern, only 21 years old. For her and her colleagues, their duties have doubled, parents are concerned, and patients are on a rise.
During this time when the terror of Coronavirus shuts down shopping malls, movie theatres, corporate companies, restaurants, schools and colleges, our duties have doubled. Parents call 300 times a day, every half an hour. I can hear the fear in their voice. The only thing that disturbs me about Corona is the mental status of my parents. They have holidays at work, my sister and my cousins also have days off at school and colleges yet instead of spending quality time, they all are freaking out for me. Nothing can comfort the shivered heart of parents and this is how the Coronavirus has affected me.
17. The inability to meet elderly relatives has also been a grave concern, as shared by Redditors.
Having loved ones in nursing homes that are closed to visitors. The rule is completely reasonable and necessary. Still, we miss each other. They feel isolated and lonely as they're not physically able to talk on the phone (hard of hearing, too) and have no one to spend time with them.
My dad is currently dying of cancer at the hospital alone. No visitors allowed. My mom was kicked out of his room a week ago. It’s agonizing that he’s alone. These are crazy times
18. As Coronavirus takes over all aspects of our lives, it has also hijacked conversations, and Redditors shared the need for a distraction.
Conversation in general. It’s all anyone ever wants to talk about.
Honestly, this is the biggest one. If you want a break from the stress and fearmongering of the news you can turn the tv off but conversations... you need them to at least feel sane.
19. Redditor tla07412 is a grocery store worker, whose faith in humanity stands shaken after seeing the way people behaved in this time of crisis.
I manage a grocery store. This pandemic has ruined my faith in humanity and broken my heart at the same time. I have seen a side of people that I never want to see again; ugly, vicious, self-centered, fend for yourself attitude. I desperately just want EVERY customer to be well stocked and ready, I want myself and my employees to be safe and not verbally and/or physically abused, I want myself and my employees to feel well-rested again, and I don’t want to see fear/sadness in people’s eyes when they need something and either don’t have the money for it, or it’s out of stock, or they’re just scared for their future.
Shortage due to hoarding and taking care of the elderly continue to remain one of the most common concerns for most people. In these trying times, it is of utmost importance to take all necessary precautions, but also help where we can. Small acts, like only stepping out when necessary, combining grocery shopping with neighbors, or helping those in need, can go a long way in not just saving us, but also, humanity.
All images from the Quora thread, unless specified otherwise.