'There's hope in this virus'

File Pic

Julie, a young woman from Singapore. Had a low grade fever that got better after taking Paracetamol. Four days later, she felt giddy and was shifted to hospital where she was diagnosed as Covid-19 positive. Consequently, she was taken to isolation room. Julie bravely survived the deadly virus and was discharged from sanatorium. Recalling her struggle with coronavirus, she says- “One of the things I encountered was breathing. I felt like my lungs were going to overdrive, they were really making an effort. It is not like normal days when we are not even conscious of how we breathe. It was just challenging.”

Mr. P, a 101-year-old infected man in Italy, is among the oldest person on record to survive the coronavirus. Referred as “Mr. P” by Italian media, the man born in 1919, during the Spanish flu, survived the second pandemic. His survival was surprising, considering the high mortality rates in Italy when nearly 86% of deaths reported were about patients above 70 years of age. After bringing him home, his family termed his recovery as something that “teaches us that even at 101 years, the future is not written.”

Nic Brown, a man in 40s from Ohio, recovered after put on a ventilator and full life support. Spending several days in the ICU, he came out alive and changed. Calling himself “a walking miracle” Brown said-“There is hope in this virus, God is bigger than this virus.” As a thank you note, he left a message for the entire staff, and his nurse wrote it for him on the glass door of the ICU : ‘Saw the love of God through those people’.

Back home, in one of the Covid-19 designated hospitals, a little girl in quarantine ward was directed to get shifted to another room as she had a high viral load (high probability of being positive). Hearing this, her mother started weeping bitterly as her world turned upside down. However, to the surprise of the staff present there, they saw the little girl standing strong and, in fact, reassuring her mother-“Don’t cry Mummy, I am okay…I have no ailment….you see how God will help me.” And just a few hours after her staying in separate room, she was shifted back to quarantine ward as God had heard her. She turned to be negative for Covid-19!

From taking a breath, which many of us take so for-granted, to defeating age with resolve, seeing divinity in those who work on the frontline, day and night, and making God listen to us—the narratives all around juggle between fortitude and melancholy; hope and desolation; faith and resignation to defeat. We are all part of these narratives, universally intimate with a lingering relevance. A brush with death and uncertainty is making us cherish life, and whatever it has bestowed us with. Watching the excruciating displays of agony and helplessness, we humans have hopes unfolding and lessons to draw from this life-threatening virus.

Bottomline: A famous theory of “flight or fight” first coined by Harvard physiologist Walter Cannon in 1920 describes the responses of people in trouble. Either one could avoid facing the situation and run away or else fight it out with strength and spirit, braving resistance and exhaustion. In the present scenario, we need to beat the virus without amplifying our fears. Of course, it’s the hardest fight we are fighting: the soul-flattening fight for Life, exploding with lethally shocking scenarios. Coping with a catastrophe like this—amid limited resources, insufficient medical care, plus sickening prejudices—needs more of resilience besides adhering to health advisories….There is certainly ‘hope in this virus…for God is bigger than this virus’ and the future definitely has not been finalized yet.