Achooo, uhmm uhmm — and all eyes were on me.
“Arshita, why are you sneezing, please tell me this is the first sneeze of the day.”
Did you ever think that a sneeze could be such a big deal? Or just a little “kharash” (irritation) in your throat would be COVID-19? Well, it certainly could!
I tested positive for COVID-19 last month, and things have really been different ever since. It all started with a little irritation in my throat and then came common symptoms like body ache, headache, loss of taste and smell and many more.
I did not think I had coronavirus until I saw the report, which totally caught me by surprise. I would have never guessed! I stayed home since the second week of March and stepped out only for groceries. What else could I possibly do to save myself?
I was fortunate to have had only mild symptoms. I was drinking at least 5 litres of liquid a day. Coconut water, kadha, giloy juice, probiotic drinks became my best friends. It is advised that you eat and drink at regular intervals.
The only medicine I took was Paracetamol but I also look vitamin supplements and both Ayurvedic and homeopathic medicines, all with regular consultation with my doctor.
During the course of my home isolation, I made sure not to get lazy. It’s important to meditate, exercise, and the most crucial – stay positive. Don’t overthink your symptoms. Believe it is just a flu after all!
It is nearly impossible to track how I got it. No one in my family was positive, so it is likely I got it from someone who was asymptomatic. I have no idea where I got it from, or who gave it to me.
I hate that everyone puts it like that though... ‘Who gave you the virus?’ It’s not really a gift someone wants to give you, right? I mean I also happened to meet my parents, which is why I spread it to them as well, but it’s certainly not what I wanted to do. But I wish people looked at “getting the virus” in another light.
Why I Started #NoCovidShaming Petition
The reason I started the petition #NoCovidShaming does not solely stem from my experiences, but also a lot of other things I have seen and heard throughout this month. When I tested positive, a lot of things changed, and not all for the good.
People crossed my house looking up to see if they could spot the COVID-19 patient, some people refused to deliver essential goods, and a lot of people said things like “you got the virus to our neighborhood.”
I am empowered and could fend for myself, but what about the people who cannot?
They think COVID patients look different. They also ask patients to produce fitness certificates even after they battled the virus and tested negative, because they are so scared. People don’t understand that we are also responsible citizens who will not put other people’s lives in danger.
I could go online and get everything I needed delivered, but what about people who cannot do that? Or don’t have access to it?
A Call for Public Service Ads
For India to chart the path to recovery, there is an urgent need to counter such prejudices and remove the roadblock that is COVID-19 stigma. We urgently need a transparent public communication strategy.
I believe a public awareness campaign centred around breaking stereotypes is the need of the hour.
I am asking the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to run public service advertisements on television channels on coronavirus awareness and removing the stigma associated with it.
We need to realise that no one — yes, no one in the world goes out with the intention to get the virus, it is not a choice we make. So stop shaming COVID-19 patients, they are humans just like you!
With the way the virus is spreading, we don’t know when our loved ones could get affected. So let us all stand together to stop COVID-shaming.
(All ‘My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)
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