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Jamaica – COVID-19 survivor relates her horrifying experience with dreaded virus

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BY ALICIA DUNKLEY-WILLIS

(Jamaica Observer) – LAST month when the daily COVID-19 body count and cases spiralled and frightening images of overflowing hospital wards and patients bedding down on floors flooded the media, 36-year-old Jamaican, Elizabeth, who was isolated at home, watched with compassion from the edge of what she said was her own death’s door experience.

She said two visits to the hospital during the “ordeal”, which saw her spending a night in a wheelchair on one of the outer corridors of the University Hospital of the West Indies and an entire day at Spanish Town Hospital surrounded by other coughing and equally miserable COVID-19 patients, gave her a bird’s eye view of the hellish reality, even as she struggled to regain her health from home.

“I was hearing the news reports, I follow news networks. There were people close to me that were dying and I was getting the report. I saw what was happening worldwide. When I saw what was happening at the hospitals, I felt very sympathetic, I felt sad because I was there physically to see things happening. I was there to see people dying, I was there to see the nurses under pressure. I was there to hear people crying out for water. I heard people calling out, ‘I am dying.’ So when I saw the reports it brought back memories of where I had been,” she told the Jamaica Observer in an interview yesterday.

The young woman, who said for the past year and four months she has had to take biweekly COVID-19 tests due to her work environment, was aghast when during the week of August 8 she started experiencing symptoms of the virus which she initially mistook for the flu.

“The week before I started having symptoms, [and] the Tuesday I tested negative for COVID. Then on the holiday weekend (August 6) I started feeling ill, my throat felt very weird, I had headaches, cold sweats and by the following morning I could not move, pain was wracking my body. By Tuesday I couldn’t walk, I was having a fever and I was coughing,” she recalled.

An antigen test confirmed her worst fears.

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