Andhra Pradesh

COVID-19 stalks a family that neglected its symptoms

Here’s an example of how treacherous the dreaded COVID-19 could be if its symptoms are neglected. At a time when several people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms are rushing to testing centres, a family of four – an elderly couple, their daughter and son (in late 40s) – residing on Naidupeta road in Srikalahasti chose to ignore fever, cold and cough, the symptoms of the infection, and paid the price.

When the first symptoms appeared in the last week of April, none of the family members had gone for testing. The family’s self-isolation, however, led to doubts in the neighbourhood and some people advising them to go for tests, but it went unheeded. The family kept dodging inquisitive questions, saying that they were safe and only suffering from general cold and cough. Carried away by the treatment methods being telecast in some channels and posted in social media, the family took to self-medication, both allopathic and ayurvedic.

On May 11 morning, the couple’s son along with his pregnant wife was seen proceeding to the vegetable market on a motorbike. In the early hours next day, he reportedly complained of breathlessness and was rushed to a private hospital in Tirupati. He tested positive for COVID-19 and breathed his last due to failure of lungs the same night.

Collapsed in hospital

On May 13, the elderly couple (in their 70s) and their daughter went to the hospital before the mortal remains of their family member were taken to the crematorium in Tirupati. Seeing the son’s wrapped-up body, his parents collapsed and were admitted to the same hospital. They tested positive for COVID-19 with serious lung infection. The deceased’s elder sister tested negative.

The victim’s pregnant wife is said to be staying with her parents and it’s not clear whether she got herself tested. The family is reluctant to speak to neighbours and relatives.

A friend who runs a medical shop and has 40 years of acquaintance with the family, has lamented that she had repeatedly warned them to go for testing but in vain. “Call it utter neglect of COVID-19 symptoms or fear of social stigma, the family had suffered the worst. Neglect for over two weeks is not correct,” she says.

Ironically, the deceased man had reportedly observed with his friends a couple of days prior to his death that his “body is made of steel and the virus could never touch it.”


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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 12:05:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/covid-19-stalks-a-family-that-neglected-its-symptoms/article34568682.ece

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