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Guyanese Born US First Responder Shares His Experience with COVID-19

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Published: 25th of November, 2020

Last updated: November 26, 2020 at 12:02 pm

Mr. Zarif Hanif is a Guyanese citizen by birth who migrated to the United States in his late teens. He presently works as a Critical Care Medic in the United States. He contracted COVID-19 while attending to a COVID-19 positive patient. This is his story.

On the 18th of November, 2020, Zarif made the following post on Facebook:

What happens when you develop symptoms of acute upper respiratory infection after working on a patient who tested positive for Covid-19? Well, it’s 1 year into this pandemic and we’re still significantly behind the 8-ball.

Let me explain. About 8 days ago my partners and I were dispatched to an elderly woman in significant respiratory distress, we were also told she was covid positive. We arrived on the scene and took a few minutes to don the cheap rip as you touch it gowns (that are more of bibs than gowns), goggles from the 1980s, and industrial N-95 masks (not medical ones).

We made contact with the patient, provided care, and took her to the hospital. We got back to the station, followed all the decon guidelines, and proceeded on with our day. About 3 days later I started having horrible headaches and general body aches. On day 4, headaches got worse body aches got crippling and I developed a cough, very sore throat, and a high fever.

I immediately started OTC treatment and contacted my doc. I requested a COVID test and let’s stop here for a second. With all the self-righteous nonsense all these politicians boast and brag about how much they are doing for first responders it’s all BS. Let me explain. I requested a covid test and it was after hours so the on-call doc couldn’t issue a script and even if she did because I wasn’t actively dying, I couldn’t get a test immediately.

Fair enough, I waited, and my wife found an urgent care which opens late and does the whole 2-5 days result. I went over there explained the situation and inquired about a rapid test. Apparently, since the flu season hit, rapid tests are very difficult to come by so that wasn’t available to me. Fair enough I took the swab test, requested a rapid influenza test along with a rapid strep test.

The PA refused the influenza panel since they’re rationing their kits one has to be ruled out before the other is considered. Contacted my primary care updated them with what my actions were so far and started quarantining. It’s now day 4 in quarantine I still have no results from the covid test and the doc who is basically helpless without the results is saying continue the OTC.

My symptoms are improving only because I have a general understanding on how to treat these symptoms and what to avoid. Healthcare providers don’t want to be glorified with parades or concerts or shoutouts on daytime and nighttime TV shows. We definitely don’t need politicians arguing over counting votes or who should be at your house for thanksgiving.

These grown political toddlers need to put on their big boy or girl (or however they identify) pants and do the job they were elected (or selected who knows) to do! We need proper PPE and care when we become ill, especially when it’s potentially something we contracted at work. I’m doing significantly better and hopefully looking forward to a negative result.

On the 24th of November, 2020, Zarif made the following update

On the 11th of this month I contracted Covid 19 from a critically ill patient. I wore the advanced ppe, took all necessary precautions but still caught it. Within 2 days I developed symptoms and 24 hours after that I became very ill.

I got all of the symptoms of the regular flu but they were more severe. By day 5 I had lost my sense of smell and taste. While in quarantine I ran 1-3 miles and stayed pretty active. On day 7 I felt 90% better and thought I had seen the worst of it but I was sorely mistaken. I woke up on the morning of day 8 with a horrible cough and difficulty breathing, I’ve done some pretty scary things in my life and I’ve never been scared but this did it for me. I was terrified.

The cough got worse and worse and by day 9 I thought I was going to be admitted to the hospital and get intubated. I was constantly monitoring my vitals and was in contact with my doctor. By day 10 I realized that I was horribly dehydrated and maybe that contributed to my difficulty breathing and coughing so I started consuming large amounts of electrolyte solution.

The coughing got better almost instantly (still pretty bad but tolerable), within 24 hours my breathing improved to probably 40% better. It’s day 13 for me and isolation ends tomorrow, I may voluntarily extend it for another 24 hours, I cannot wait to see my family again! This virus is no joke, it’s not fake and no one is trying to scare you. It’s real and terrifying. Wear a mask, stay home when you can, avoid social events and family get togethers if you can.

Reprinted with permission.

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