Immigrants in Covid times: our most human fears

When death is near, we have two options: succumb to the pain or cling to what we have left. On the day my parents and my grandmother tested positive for Covid 19, I opted for the latter. For weeks they had headaches, vomiting and fevers. Today some have aftereffects.


Daniela Alejandra Arias Baquero


The pandemic has confronted us with our most human fears; who does not fear their own death or that of their loved ones?

In December of last year, I was reminded that my childhood home and everything that I treasured there, the good and bad times experienced as a family, were not forever.

After seeing my father bedridden in the fetal position with his forehead burning hot, I felt that I could be present for him for the first time in several months, and everything else became irrelevant compared to the possible threat of losing my family.

My father, a 58-year-old man who had worked most of his life in the tourist transport sector, was left jobless.

For this reason, months after the pandemic began, he was forced to expose himself to the virus in order to bring some money home, and so agreed to take on business tourist routes around the city. This is how it all began. Some of the employees began to feel the symptoms and then he, too, became infected.

Moreover, seniors who do not have a pension in Colombia are an even more vulnerable sector of the population, since they have to decide between taking care of their health or going out to work for their livelihood.

According to the Gini coefficient, the indicator most used to measure economic inequality, the income group most affected by the pandemic is the middle class.

This is the case for my family, made up of 5 members sharing a single house located in the 20 de Julio neighbourhood, to the south of the city.

Since the pandemic began, we spend our lives thinking about how to survive. This stress, in addition to the lockdown and the high number of cases in the area, have made us easy prey for the virus.

After my father began to experience symptoms, my mother and my grandmother also began to get headaches. They could barely stand up, they lost their taste and smell, they had constant vomiting, fevers and discomfort throughout their bodies.

On December 20/21, at 7 in the morning, they stayed in the house while the rest of the family went to get Covid tests. When we arrived home they were gone, they had to rush to the emergency room because my grandmother had very low oxygen levels.

In some bodies, the virus is silent, and when the most serious symptoms appear, it is already in advanced stages.

That day I thought I would never see my mother and my grandmother again. I had to be strong and, above all, affirm life.

After several hours they were discharged. Seeing them leave the hospital is one of the best memories I have of the past year, along with being able to help them cross the street and get into the car to go home together. I feel that life has given me a second chance to be more present in their lives.

It has been more than a year since my family had coronavirus. Although they are now out of harm’s way, some members still test positive, while others get the same negative result.

Those who had the virus feel aftereffects such as despair, vertigo and fatigue, but we continue to be strong and united to overcome this situation. Personally, I continue to hold on to what remains of this lesson – to spend time with my family, and live every day as if it were the last.

(Translated by Lucy Daghorn) – Photos: Pixabay



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