The dragonslayer: Covid lasts for a few weeks but fears remain forever


Priyanka Mishra, a covid survivor, says the experience has made her more empathetic towards people. Besides the physical trauma of the illness, she saw a whole range of human behaviour – from social stigma to being welcomed home with diyas

On June 27, when Priyanka Mishra, an Assistant HR Manager tested positive for covid after five days of fever, she didn’t imagine the trials she would go through. It was nothing short of drama and trauma, she says.

Soon after she tested positive, Mishra was shifted to a government facility by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike. She later opted to be treated at a private hospital. Eight days later she thought she was ready to be discharged but when her family suggested she get herself tested again, she tested positive even after eight days. She was then discharged after 13 days and was in quarantine for 14 days. “I had post-Covid symptoms with rashes and boils all over my body and I had to rush back to hospital. Even the regular anti-allergy drugs didn’t help and then had to treat me with steroids,” she said.

Mishra says she felt humiliated when someone filmed her getting into an ambulance and uploaded the video on YouTube. “There were a lot of rumours about me. My cook had to face a lot of problems though she had stopped working for me a few weeks ago. Her house was surrounded by goons and she had to take police protection to convince people that she was safe. One of the maids who used to come to her neighbour’s house was denied groceries and her community had boycotted her. When I was in hospital, she called me, crying, and I had to make arrangements to organise groceries to be delivered to her home. Since I was a volunteer, there were rumours that I was a risk and a carrier of the virus. A few people had spread rumours that my son was playing with other kids and risking their lives. The fact is that I don’t have a son. I was so frustrated that I exited most social media groups and also sent out a voice note to allay people’s fears,” she narrated.

But Mishra found a lot of people were willing to help too. The task force in her apartment building ensured that her family members were provided with home cooked food everyday till she came back from the hospital. Her father’s medicines were supplied to her door step. “I had an early Diwali in July. When I returned from the hospital, people were cheering me and the had placed diyas in front of my house and I was supplied with special meals while I was convalescing,” she said.

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Covid is … that thing which you can recover from but the fear of it will continue to be with you. Covid is still around and it is worse. My dad is 70 years old and says that he has never seen a pandemic like this. People are getting frustrated, and they have anxiety issues as they can’t socialise anymore

– Priyanka Mishra, 33, HR Manager

Covid and after

Mishra is yet to resume meeting people outside her family. The memory of her illness, the fear surrounding it, the stigma still haunt her. “I get scared easily now and I worry for my family. Two weeks back, my husband was running high fever. We tested him for dengue and malaria which were negative. Even before his covid test results came in, I had started packing a hospital kit for him.

I put a box of dry fruits that I craved for in the hospital. Luckily, he didn’t test positive. But, even if someone sneezes, I’m petrified,” she said.

Covid is … “that thing which you can recover from but the fear of it will continue to be with us. Covid is still around and it is worse. My dad is 70 years old and says that he has never seen a pandemic like this. People are getting frustrated, and they have anxiety issues as they can’t socialise anymore.”

Changes after covid

Covid helped me become more empathetic towards people around me. When I fell sick, my apartment community helped me. It was a very humbling experience. On the other hand, I have become panicky.

Advice from a covid survivor

Follow the government’s precautions without fail. Follow physical distancing, wear masks and use sanitisers / wash hands. Help people during this challenging phase. Big apartment societies can come up with a task force to help those affected by covid.



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Sagar Biswas

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