Author Topic: covid stories  (Read 3136 times)

Offline thaiga

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Re: covid stories - Virus Victims, And The Spaces They Leave Behind
« Reply #30 on: September 25, 2020, 11:37:41 AM »
Latin America's Virus Victims, And The Spaces They Leave Behind
An untouched exercise bike, a guitar that has gone silent, an empty couch -- these are just a few of the cherished possessions and everyday habits that tell the story of those who have died from Covid-19.

The global pandemic has claimed nearly one million lives, about a third of those in Latin America, where countries with overstretched medical resources are bracing for a new wave.

Across the region, AFP's photographers met the families of several victims, who have been forced to contemplate the empty spaces their loved ones have left behind.

Victoria del Carmen says she still makes coffee every morning for her son Franklin Rivera, a Salvadoran photojournalist who was struck down by the virus at 52.

When he was well, Rivera liked to use an exercise bike in his modest Ciudad Delgado house on the outskirts of the capital, San Salvador. Now, it sits unused. "No one can believe he is no longer with us," says his sister Geraldina Juarez. "We can't describe this emptiness."

To try to fill the void, his family are drawn to a box full of his old press credentials, eager to see his face once again. Rivera's slow decline from the coronavirus began with a throat ailment on June 22 and then a urinary tract infection.

When he was finally diagnosed with Covid-19, he self-isolated at home. Juarez remembers how tired he became, saying: "He could no longer walk much. He spent his days on his deck chair, which he set up in the yard."

He died after a lightning storm hit the city, unable to get a doctor with the emergency services at full stretch. In the yard, the blue deck chair is still there, in the shade of a tree -- empty.

Paulo Roberto's blue guitar still hangs on the wall in his house in the southeastern Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte.

The small sofa where the 75-year-old liked to sit still bears his imprint.

"He used to spend a lot of his time on this sofa in the living room to watch films, documentaries and take a nap," said his wife Maria Candida Silveira.

The pandemic has taken a tough toll on the family of Roberto, who died in June.

Two of his four daughters contracted the virus, but only one lived to tell the tale. His 68-year-old wife fell gravely ill, but survived after a period in intensive care. Now Silveira finds it difficult to put his absence into words.

"Sometimes you remember little details, moments we spent together, happy moments," she said.

"The memory of his music also remains, especially the old songs he loved to play and sing."

There is some consolation in knowing he was able to fulfill his dying wish: seeing his great-granddaughter Dudinha one more time.

"I made a video call from my phone. He was sitting on the bed, laughing and playing with her over the phone. He managed to say goodbye to her," she recalled.

Hugo Lopez Camacho's room stands as a monument to a humble life.

A blanket decorated with a football motif covers his single bed. His pillowcase is embroidered with the phrase "I think of you." A crucifix hangs on a brick wall.

Lopez Camacho lived on the property of a primary school in a Mexico City neighborhood, where his father is the caretaker.

He died in the same hospital where he had worked as an orderly for 14 years, wheeling patients to and from the surgical unit. He was 44.

At first, it seemed like he had a bad cold or the flu. Lopez Camacho had headaches. Then he started having trouble breathing.

He lost consciousness when he was hospitalized in late April. His mother never saw him again. He called when doctors said they would have to intubate him.

"He knew what was going to happen," his sister recalls.

Mexico's huge virus toll meant a backlog for funeral services, and the family had to wait for his remains to be handled.

They finally had to have him cremated, which was not their initial wish.

And now they have to wait again, to be allowed to bury his ashes in the family crypt, along with those of his grandmother.

Oscar Farias was a joker, and an expert in the art of the "asado," or grilling meat -- an institution in Argentina.

The 81-year-old former metal worker died alone in hospital in April, his family kept away by strict virus prevention protocols.

"It was the most devastating and overwhelming thing," says his daughter Monica, 45.

She wasn't even able to bring him a blanket when he called to say he was cold. They said their goodbyes on the phone.

"When I told him we would go and eat a pizza and have some wine when he got better, we were really saying goodbye," Monica says.

She had to sign the authorization for his cremation without even seeing his coffin.

She will keep in her mind an image of her father seen in a family photo -- a happy man, grilling some meat, and listening to tango on the radio.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Offline thaiga

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Re: covid stories - Worse than tsunami Phuket a 'ghost island' (video)
« Reply #31 on: October 09, 2020, 01:05:01 PM »
Tourist-free Phuket a 'ghost island'
Go-go dancers sit playing on their phones in empty bars lining deserted streets as this tourist island continues to reel from the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic with little sign of any recovery soon.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Offline thaiga

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Re: covid stories - "Ting Mong" to ward off virus
« Reply #32 on: October 11, 2020, 07:58:56 PM »
"Ting Mong" scarecrows are poping up all over cambodia to ward off the coronavirus. "Ting Mong" is an ancient superstition to ward off diseases and evil spirits wishing to bring harm on ones family. ting tong you might think- Cambodia appears to escaped the brunt of the pandemic, registering just 283 infections and no deaths - though sceptics say the low toll could be due to a lack of testing. but the belief might make some feel secure with no harm done
here's the story
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Offline thaiga

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Re: covid stories - Virus, what virus?
« Reply #33 on: October 20, 2020, 12:42:40 PM »
Virus, what virus? India gets back to work
India is on course to top the world in coronavirus cases, but from Maharashtra's whirring factories to Kolkata's thronging markets, people are back at work -- and eager to forget the pandemic for festival season.

After a strict lockdown in March that left millions on the brink of starvation, the government and people of the world's second-most populous country decided life must go on.

Sonali Dange, for instance, has two young daughters and an elderly mother-in-law to look after. She was hospitalised this year in excruciating pain after catching the coronavirus.

But after the lockdown exhausted the family's savings, the 29-year-old had to return to work at a factory where she earns 25,000 rupees ($340) a month.

"Now that I have recovered, I am no longer so scared of the disease," she told AFP amid the din of machinery at the Nobel Hygiene plant east of Mumbai.

The pandemic's confirmed fatality rate has been heaviest in richer nations with older populations -- the US death toll is double that of India despite having only a quarter of the population.

Poor countries have suffered far worse economic pain, with the World Bank predicting 150 million people could fall into extreme poverty worldwide.

Many children in the developing world are now working to help their parents make ends meet, activists say, while thousands of young girls have been forced into marriage.

In Varanasi in northern India, 12-year-old Sanchit no longer attends school and instead collects cloth discarded from bodies before cremation on the city's ghats.

"On a good day, I earn around 50 rupees (70 US cents)," the boy told AFP.

The IMF projects India's GDP will contract by 10.3 percent this year, the biggest slump of any major emerging nation and its worst since independence in 1947.

When India went into lockdown, it was a human catastrophe, leaving millions in the informal economy jobless, penniless and destitute almost overnight.

No one wants to go back to that, said Gargi Mukherjee, 42, as she shopped in the New Market area of Kolkata, thronging with festival-season customers, many without face masks.

"For survival, people have to come out and do their jobs. If you don't earn, you cannot feed your family," she told AFP.

Experts caution that the October-November season -- when Hindus celebrate major festivals such as Durga Puja, Dussehra and Diwali -- may trigger a sharp increase in infections, as consumers crowd markets to snap up big-ticket items on discount.

"Of course corona is to be feared. But what can I do? I can't miss the moments of Durga Puja," said housewife Tiyas Bhattacharya Das, 25.

"Durga Puja comes once in the year, so I cannot miss the enjoyment of the shopping."

Sunil Kumar Sinha, principal economist at the Mumbai-based India Ratings and Research agency, said Indians faced a stark choice.

"People have to choose whether to die of hunger or risk getting a virus that may or may not kill you," he told AFP.

Indeed India's relatively low mortality rate -- about 1.5 percent of its more than seven million cases -- has surprised many who warned coronavirus would lay waste to its crowded cities, beset by poor sanitation and crumbling public hospitals.

Even accounting for some likely undercounting, it is evident that the nightmare scenario of dead bodies piled in the streets as seen during the 1918 flu pandemic has mercifully not materialised.

The unexpected reprieve has given Prime Minister Narendra Modi leeway to resist a fresh lockdown, with the human toll -- and political cost -- of another shutdown higher than seeing case numbers soar.

But Bhramar Mukherjee, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan, warned the government should not simply let the virus run its course.

"In order to open up, you need to intensify public health measures... If you completely take your foot off the brakes, the virus will take off too," Mukherjee told AFP.

Last month, the Indian Medical Association slammed the Modi government for its "indifference" to the sacrifices of front-line staff in one of the world's worst-funded health care systems.

"It appears that they are dispensable," it said.

Back in Kolkata, bookseller Prem Prakash, 67, was philosophical.

"You have to leave some things to fate," he told AFP.

"Fearing death too much is not a solution. When that comes, you should accept it gracefully."
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.