THE 49-YEAR-OLD wife of the first patient to die of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Pune is a corona warrior of sorts, in her own way. She ensured immediate precautionary measures, informed the chief executive officer at her husband’s workplace to get other employees tested and fully cooperated with state health authorities. Now, 13 days after her husband’s death, the woman, who is a homemaker, has urged citizens to understand that COVID-19 is a natural calamity and it is crucial to stay alert, maintain social distancing and not spread the infection.
On March 30, a 52-year-old man died at a city hospital. According to his family, he was an extremely quiet person and it was easy to trace his limited number of contacts. So far, none have tested positive for the infection — not his 81-year-old father, 78-year-old mother or his wife, who cared him for during the first two days when he was home with mild fever.
Since the first death, 34 others have died of the infection and 298 have tested positive in Pune. “I lost my husband to this infection, which is part of a natural calamity that is still taking so many lives. But if we want to break this chain of transmission, we have to be really alert as this is going to be around for a long time,” says the woman.
“We still don’t know how my husband got the infection as till March 18, all COVID-19 cases were of those with international travel history. My husband had travelled to Vapi in Gujarat on March 12 and 13 and after the factory, where he worked at a senior post in Thane, shut down we returned to Pune on March 18. The next day (March 19), he had mild fever and we weren’t sure if it was COVID-19. But as a precautionary measure, we decided to self-isolate in our bedroom. We did not allow his parents or my 26-year-old daughter to step into our room and even used separate clothes and utensils,” she says.
The couple lived in Thane and travelled to Pune, where they have a house, over the weekends. “The reason I have decided to speak out is that social distancing is an important measure and has ensured that none of my family members or employees at my husband’s workplace got the infection. Even the cab driver who drove my husband to Vapi and back did not test positive,” she says.
While her husband had diabetes and hypertension, it was under control and, on March 20, they decided to get an X-Ray from her brother’s hospital, which showed pneumonia patches. He was immediately moved to Deenanath Mangeshkar hospital on March 22.
“His was a case of early detection and we were hopeful. But he was soon put on ventilator as X-rays showed that the virus had spread to the lungs and he died on March 30,” she says.
The woman says there were almost 30 to 40 of her husband’s contacts, including the staff at her brother’s hospital, all of whom tested negative.
“There is a need for people to cooperate with each other, avoid clashes and communicate about their needs. Everyone has to play their part and by not informing about their symptoms, they will put others at risk,” she says.
She adds citizens are still out on the roads for a walk when, for some time, there is a need to stay home as we don’t know how and where we will get infected.
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