Patients who have contracted COVID-19 and have had to self-isolate at home, have also had to deal with their social environment’s reactions which have at times been extreme, although in certain instances the response they have received has been the right one.
Racism is in a number of cases obvious from “healthy” people who stigmatise those who have been unfortunate enough to contract the virus.
Fear that even a simple phone-call will be harmful has excluded patients from their former social life.
In statements to CNA, three health professionals who have contracted the coronavirus speak out about their individual experiences and about how they have been treated by their social circle.
“What are dealing with from the people around us is fear,” says a health professional who fell sick at the hospital where she works.
“I suddenly feel that apart from the disease I have to deal with, that I am not the same person I once was. Others see me differently. They are suspicious. They are even frightened to call me and ask if I am OK, as if they will catch the virus over the telephone,” she says.
Our friends and acquaintances are no longer in our lives. They think that they will be contaminated by a simple telephone conversation, she continues.
She adds that their families is what they have left.
“In general, people show an inexplicable meanness with their stance,” she notes, adding that “I cannot understand how they think.”
The health professional also expresses her concern about what will happen after this is all over. “I wonder if they will treat us the same when this is all over,” she says.
Another health professional recalls that “the only telephone calls I received were to be asked whether the last time I came in touch with them I wore a mask and when that was, as they were also afraid that they had been contaminated.”
“I cannot understand people’s way of thinking. It is as if we wanted to contract the coronavirus,” she says, adding that “it found us in our work place.”
She assures that “from the moment we were identified as carriers of the virus, we took the rights precautions, we stayed at home and we are in contact with our personal doctor. We thought about protecting others before protecting ourselves.”
However, she continues, “how people behave is another matter. They point their fingers at us as though we have committed a crime. We stand accused.”
Nevertheless, there are also cases where social solidarity is shown towards patients with coronavirus.
A nurse who fell ill after a confirmed COVID-19 case at Limassol General Hospital, says that her acquaintances and friends are calling all the time to find out how is his state of health.
“In general, I have felt much love from the people around me. Everyone is calling me to find out how my state of health is,” he notes, thanking everyone.
“They are encouraging me in this difficult time I am going through,” he adds.
“We also have our family who stands by me. It takes one phone call and they bring whatever we need and they are there to support us in this difficult phase we are going through,” he notes.