March 19, 2021 5:38:07 am
A week after returning from Finland, Sumiti Singh (35), reported Covid-19 like symptoms and isolated herself on March 14 last year.
“There weren’t any government regulations or quarantine measures at that time, but I was aware something like this (outbreak of the novel coronavirus was happening) so the moment I had 99 degrees Fahrenheit fever, I self-isolated at home,” recalls the Ahmedabad-based bakery entrepreneur, whose was the second positive case in Gujarat.
In hospital for 11 days, Singh’s symptoms were moderate. “I had a complete loss of sense of taste and smell for almost two to three months… It was not known back then for how long this (ageusia and anosmia) would stay… Every patient that was coming in, had a different set of symptoms. Right now you see a lot of different tests such as D-dimer, CT scan score etc…These were not available at the time.”
In Sumiti’s case, the post-Covid effects prevailed for two to three months. “There was severe fatigue and a bad throat for almost a month and a half. I had skin rashes on and off and had a heavy chest. I couldn’t even put a thick blanket on myself while sleeping for two to three months. I would visit SVP Hospital almost every 10 days for a check up.”
Singh also donated plasma once. “I felt some weakness after donating plasma and doctors advised me to not donate again.”
When the the nationwide lockdown was announced in March, Sumiti’s family were in home quarantine. Speaking of her experience until May 31, 2020, Sumiti says, “My family members were already in home quarantine when the lockdown began. After I was discharged, I was fatigued and had to be quarantined at home again for 14 days… Work began from June and all my energy was then focused towards getting the business back, while being short-staffed.”
“We had people who were still celebrating birthdays and there was a requirement of cakes. We were working almost 10-12 hours a day,” she says.
“Slowly the team started coming back and around November we started facing the issue of curfew. Everytime there is a mention of curfew, people get cautious and that stays for a week or 10 days till they start eating out again… my store has a limited seating space and we have not opened seating yet… I am a bit disillusioned at the moment seeing the cricket matches (and crowding at stadium),” Sumiti adds.
At the time of the interview, cricket matches were permitted at Motera stadium at half its capacity. On March 15, it was decided to play the matches without audience due to increasing number of Covid-19 cases.
Speaking of the challenges during the pandemic, Sumiti says it is not only the lockdown in India but the one abroad that affected her business. “Procurement was also a problem. When Europe went into lockdown, chocolate could not come into the country… Something as simple as white butter was not available,” she says.
While Sumiti saw some from her friends’ circle infected with Covid-19, she opines that initial cases were more severe compared to those infected later in the year. “For me, I had the whole gamut of symptoms and it took me relatively longer time to recover. Now people get a mild fever or are largely asymptomatic…”
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