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‘It’s Real’- A COVID-19 Survivor Tells

COVID-19 is real; the sickness is real and the misery it brings to lives affected is real.
21 May 2021 12:13
‘It’s Real’- A COVID-19 Survivor Tells
Jovesa Naqarase was dependent on the oxygen machines to breathe, which he could never survive without it.

The virus is real, be very careful about information that states otherwise or you will pay the price.

This was the message from COVID-19 survivor and former Fijian citizen, Jovesa Naqarase, from Santa Rosa, California, yesterday.

Mr Naqarase was responding to a video featuring a woman claiming that the virus was fake. The woman is identifying herself to be Fiji’s COVID-19 case 74, the 53-year-old maid of Lautoka.

He said the woman’s claims on video were baseless and not true, as he described his COVID-19 experience as hell.

Naqarase’s virus experience 

Mr Naqarase and his wife, Silivia Naqarase, were tested positive for the virus in the United States of America on Christmas Eve, last year.

He was labelled a ‘critical patient’ because of the toll the virus had taken on his respiratory system while admitted at the Sutter Health Hospital in Santa Rosa.

“Two weeks before getting swabbed I was experiencing symptoms like loss of appetite, dizziness, cough, and I was just not feeling comfortable with anything,” Mr Naqarase said.

“I felt like I had warm air in my system, and I had shortness of breath. I took all this very lightly and I never wanted to get checked up in the hospital because I thought it was just the normal flu.

“After two weeks, my body just gave up. I could not bear my shortness of breath.

“I’ve never suffered from and the experience COVID-19 gave me was just hell.”

On December 24, he said he and the wife tested positive for the virus in hospital.

“My condition was really worse. I was dependent on the oxygen machines to breathe, and I could never survive without it,” he said.

“I even had two oxygen cylinders on standby in my hospital isolation room because I was running low on it.

“It reached to a stage where I thought I was really going to die. I couldn’t even go to the washroom.”

While in isolation he said he received news that two of his Fijian friends – a man from Nayau, in Lau and another from Gau – had died from the virus.

“My mom would call me from the Marshall Islands and only cry over the phone because she saw the condition I was in,” he said.

“My doctor told me that I was to be entered into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) because I was really getting worse.

“I cried to God; from the depths of my heart, I knew he was waiting for me. I prayed as my wife prayed with me, we were on a battlefield, and we believed it was a miracle that only God could perform.”

No joke 

He said his oxygen level picked up after New Year and by January 7, he was discharged from hospital.

“I want to tell Fijians that this virus is not a joke, I was one who took advisories lightly, but when I experienced the pain, I was really regretting what I had always said. I was retested over three weeks and it returned negative,” he said.

Top doctors respond

While responding to misinformation, the Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, said the global pandemic was a fact.

“Whilst some may be asymptomatic with the disease, others may have symptoms with the need for treatment and the many lives saved is a testament to the expertise and diligence of the health staff looking after our cases,” he said.

“COVID-19 is real; the sickness is real and the misery it brings to lives affected is real.”

Responding to the video, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry for Health and Medical Services, Dr James Fong, said such misinformation must be strongly discouraged.

“It is extremely unfortunate that this type of misinformation is being persistently shared,” he said.

“We have seen the devastating impact of this disease and misinformation needs to be strongly discouraged as it undermines our efforts to prevent the emergence of the devastating effects of COVID-19.”

Methodist Church 

The Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma general secretary Reverend Iliesa Naivalu, said in a time where different kinds of information were being shared on the virus, it was only right that Fijians only adhere to information from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

“We have heard of all sorts of information, seen videos of people saying that the injection has a magnetic effect and many others,” he said.

“But I am urging Fijians to only take the information that is from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

“Adhere to all directives by the Health Ministry and follow them because it is for the benefit of all Fijians.”

Feedback: inoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj



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