I Talked to 10 People Who are Sick with COVID-19

They live in five European countries and could not be more different in age, interest, or inclination. It made no difference. They were all infected. Some were not scared. Others were terrified. They have all gone through an experience that, without exception, has marked their lives.

Timothy (34) is a divorced father. He lives in Bracknell, England, some nine miles from Windsor Castle. His main suffering in self-isolation was not so much the illness, painful as that was, but that he cannot see his daughter. “She shares the house with her grandfather on her mother’s side. The grandfather has health problems. If the virus got there, he would be in severe danger.”

Timothy is a policeman. One of those who can't stand aside. From what he repeatedly told me, it is obvious that he is constantly tormented by the thought that he must remain isolated instead of being with his colleagues at work, engaging with everything possible to be part of the crisis response. His answer, when I asked him if and what he is praying for these days, came naturally: "That it clears with minimal casualties."

Then I talked to Tina (37). She is very attached to her creative work as an author and speaker. She is happy that she lives in Germany, especially because, since March 18, when she was found positive, she feels cared for in a “perfect” way by the German state and its neighbors.

The disease did not scare her, although she says she was very ill — she had breathing problems for two weeks and felt terribly weak. But as she began to recover, a thought settled deep into her mind. So much so that she began to pray for it. She says she would like to feel that people can remain as attentive and caring about one another even after the new coronavirus will no longer be a threat.

Pedro (46) is a mountain-sized man, normally with an exuberant energy and a heart that seems immune to aging. He lives intensely and with a deep love for his wife who he thinks is “incredible” and their two children — Adaia (19) and Johan (18). Pedro is happy that he has the opportunity to work as a pastor.

His wife was the first to get infected. She was quickly joined by Pedro, then Adaia. Johan is currently isolated in his room with no symptoms. "I thought I was dealing with a mild form of the disease but the symptoms worsened after seven days,” Pedro said. Just as he was mentally preparing for recovery, he realized that he was deteriorating. "There were moments of serious concern, especially one night when I began to feel that I no longer had oxygen, that I could no longer breathe.” His only, desperate response was, “God, here I am, in your hands."

I tried to talk to Pedro this last weekend, but general condition did not allow it. He has lost seven kilograms. I had asked Pastor Pedro what was his priority in prayer? He wrote back, "I pray for my parents, they are 80-years-old and living alone in the south of Spain."

I also asked Adaia how this family situation has affected her life. “My relationship with God is growing,” she responded. “The way I see the Bible and the way I talk to my friends is not the same, and I think I'm growing as a person.” She adds, “God doesn't punish. He does everything with love, and he is not the author of our catastrophes."

Giusi is a lively lady — like any other Italian, some would add. Probably even a little more. At 56, a single mother with two adult children, aged 29 and 23, Giusi is a social worker and mediator. But she is also a counselor at a hospice for terminally ill cancer patients and is involved in counseling initiatives for minors, victims of domestic violence, and victims of sexual abuse. What spare time she has left is used to do translation jobs from Spanish and to write.

Experiencing the first symptoms of COVID-19 on March 14, she instinctively feared the prospect of hospitalization, but not the disease. She says, "I was not afraid, I never thought of asking God, ‘Why me?’. That's because I always had the idea in mind, ‘Why not me?’ I believe that being a Christian does not mean to be exempt from such situations, but rather to face them with a practical attitude, convinced that God is with you during the storm."

Maurizio (59) works at the hospital in Bergamo, Italy, with his wife, Luisa (56). He had the first symptoms on March 4. First a fever. Then came dyspnoea — a difficulty in breathing that continuously got worse. On March 11 he had to call an ambulance. He never got to say goodbye to his wife and 15-year-old son, and he left with only one fear in his soul — that he might never see them again.

What he saw in the hospital, says Maurizio, was “pure terror.” With oxygen masks on their faces and waiting in line, people were frightened of what the medical staff might tell them in the next few hours.

Thankfully Maurizio is among those who was discharged. He is at home but isolated. He still has difficulty breathing and at night he still uses the oxygen mask. "Don't underestimate the virus; it can affect anyone — no one should play superhero. Do keep your social distance!” Maurizio concludes. Not before adding, though, "Something has changed inside me."

"The hardest and saddest thing was that I couldn't see my husband until he returned from the hospital after 13 days," says Luisa. Meanwhile, she was also found positive. She doesn't know if she got the virus from the hospital or from her husband — or from someone else. There were so many people around her who got sick. The source could be any one of them.

Luisa wants to continue thinking the way she does now for the rest of her life, and never to complain that the visits of family members or friends have taken too much of her time. "This experience made me understand the importance and beauty of time spent with loved ones," she said.

In Sweden I spoke with a Romanian woman — Rebecka. She is 52 years old and married to a Swede. Her husband, Thomas is 67. They live in Malmbäck. Rebecka suspects that she contracted the virus on the train. She, in turn, then infected Thomas.

After developing a fever higher than 40 degrees Celsius and completely losing her strength, Rebecka was rushed by emergency ambulance to Jönköping. "I simply couldn't think too much," she says. “I could not eat for several days, continued to have a fever, a cough and felt ill.”

After she began to recover, Rebecka states, “You get time to reflect, you have time to think more about God and pray more for the family, loved ones, the world. Unfortunately, I think we humans will soon forget what we have been through, but I really hope I can take this with me — without God I am nothing."

By the time Rebecka was discharged, Thomas was already feeling very ill. "Fever, cough, and as soon as you got up you started to pant. It was very painful.” He added, “The cough felt like it would never end." He was not scared but says the disease consumed all his resources. He feels that he would not have succeeded without God's help. "I will rely more on God in the future," He concluded.

Instead of conclusions

A story to which we can associate a face really imprints itself on the soul. In the same way, a face to which we can associate a story becomes more than an image, a portrait, it becomes a person.

And they, the faces of the stories above, have understood that they have not only an experience in common, but also a message.

The video above is the third in a series of #dearcoronavirus videos created by a network of Seventh-day Adventist communicators in Europe and beyond [GAiN Europe]. The aim is to present hope in the midst of challenge. The videos have been translated and shared in multiple languages and can be found by simply typing #dearcoronavirus into your search engine. It is planned to add a new one each week.

They can also be found directly, in English, here:

Dear Coronavirus — a letter from around the world.

Dear Grandparents.

The original version of this article was first published on Semnele Timpului, website of the Romanian Signs of the Times. The interviews were conducted by Norel Iocab, a pastor and Semnele Timpului editor in chief. This version was published on the TED News Network, the official news services of the Trans-European Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and is reprinted here with their permission.

Images courtesy of the TED / Semnele Timpului.

We invite you to join our community through conversation by commenting below. We ask that you engage in courteous and respectful discourse. You can view our full commenting policy by clicking here.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/10332

Thank-you for sharing their stories…and their Christian witness through this horrible virus. I pray for speedy and good recoveries for all of them.

All around me in my state of New Mexico there has been 3 days of 90-100+ new positive Covid cases. What is sad about this particular state is the general lack of good medical care even in “normal” times and insufficient services for the disabled and elderly. This pandemic is stretching an already thinly stretched state resources.

Sadder still, is news from the Navajo Nation that reports over 300 positive Covid cases with several deaths already. Generally speaking, Native health services are insufficient and lacking and our New Mexican Governor is very concerned that Covid could seriously impact the Navajo Nation. All Pueblos (19) are at risk as well with much of the same issues.

I only pray that we all do our best to stop the spread and care for one another. It is the best “witness” that we can do.


Thank you. One message is clear for me: our endeavors doesn’t matter. Before Covid-19, we, the people of the world thought we were in charge of our lives. Covid-19 said, " NO!". This pandemic, also, will soon pass and will be remembered in the future as the disease that made people abandon their usual daily activities and left only one: procrastination. :sweat_smile:


People are scared everywhere. After three weeks today I resumed seeing patients again, using telehealth (zoom) from home. It’s astonishing how people are fearful and anxious. As they should be since the population I work with is basically the elderly.

This is not a time to be worried the most about re-igniting the economy; this is a time to work hard, seriously, and fast to save lives. It’s preposterous that some politicians are so insensitive about people’s lives, showing total disdain for human souls who are suffering and maybe even dying. No Christian should engage in such reprehensible behavior or support such an inhumane, barbaric attitude. But, … unfortunately many do!!! :frowning_face:


These messages about personal impact written above brings to mind four subjects. One is that I am grateful for our president Trump who has been tremendous in his leadership to our nation over this virus impact. He was quick to stop travel relating to China and has worked feverishly for our nation. Secondly, that our numerous governors of states have been exposed to showing they have been weak with proactive leadership and as a response have pointed their fingers to the federal government as their red herring. Thirdly, the World Health Organization has failed in their mission. Last, the China government has been extremely dishonest and entirely owns this pandemic. It has been stated now by statisticians that if the China government had been open from the beginning about the virus and its discovery, 95% of the virus deaths throughout the USA could have been prevented. I have not heard stats for world wide yet.
My heart bleeds for these victims who are totally and completely innocent as well as the loved ones that also feel the brunt of this experience. They are all in my daily prayers.

Fact check: This is false, He never “stopped” the travel. At that time travel was “restricted,” which is very different.

And that’s about how far I read into that Beautiful Statement.


Economy isn’t about money… It’s about producing products and services that many people depend for survival… Including that zoom service that you are using to keep the things on your end running which takes a long chain of people to support and maintain, beginning with electricians, telecom workers, software developers… And everyone who feeds them and makes their work possible.

Likewise, there’s certain threshold for many SMBs from which they would never recover. That almost certainly means disruption of the supply of goods and services that people depend on.

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There are essential and non-essential services.
But thanks for the lecture on economy anyway. Astonishing… :innocent:

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I don’t think I’d ever lecture you, George. You’d be my worst student :wink:

Thanks, @shshsh.

Like @GeorgeTichy, I find your admiration of Trump’s leadership curious.

That is, during the time of this pandemic, I genuinely do not understand what anyone has seen Trump do that one could refer to authentically as “leadership.” (Indeed, the only example you’ve offered is that, “He was quick to stop travel relating to China and has worked feverishly for our nation.”)

Also, I wonder what people, who do admire his “leadership,” make of the things that he does that, clearly, are inappropriate for leaders to do.

I don’t say any of this to insult you, or anyone. I’m not trying to do this, and I hope that you are not insulted.

What I’m trying to show, by contrast with your expressed perspective, is how far apart my viewpoint is from ones like yours; i.e., ones of people who say Trump has shown great leadership.

I’m doing this as a way of showing “where I stand,” so I might understand where you stand.

Put another way, I think Donald J. Trump is not only grotesquely unfit for the office of U.S. President, but he is also the worst president who has every lived. I think that this is fairly obvious.

Despite this, I don’t resent people who think he’s the greatest president ever, or who admire his leadership. I don’t think that they are stupid, or “undesirables.” Instead, I am genuinely interested in hearing what they, and many average Americans, who admire his presidency, see in it, and in him.

For example, again, you say, “He was quick to stop travel relating to China.” You see this as an example of his leadership.

However, as @GeorgeTichy pointed out, he wasn’t, and didn’t: He merely restricted such travel. He did this on January 31.

Also, as the Associated Press notes, by that date:

“Most major airlines had already suspended flights to China prior to the announcement on Jan. 31, following the lead of several major international carriers that had stopped due to the coronavirus outbreak.”

Further, per the AP, as @GeorgeTichy noted:

Trump’s order did not fully “close” the U.S. off to China, as he asserts. It temporarily barred entry by foreign nationals who had traveled in China within the previous 14 days, with exceptions for the immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Americans returning from China were allowed back after enhanced screening at select ports of entry and for 14 days afterward. But U.S. scientists say screenings can miss people who don’t yet show symptoms of COVID-19; while symptoms often appear within five or six days of exposure, the incubation period is 14 days.

However, most of all, what we’re now finding out, from genomic studies reported in The New York Times, is that the strain of virus most infecting the current planetary hotspot, my hometown, New York City, did not come from China:

“The majority is clearly European,” said Harm van Bakel, a geneticist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who co-wrote a study awaiting peer review.

A separate team at N.Y.U. Grossman School of Medicine came to strikingly similar conclusions, despite studying a different group of cases. Both teams analyzed genomes from coronaviruses taken from New Yorkers starting in mid-March.

The research revealed a previously hidden spread of the virus that might have been detected if aggressive testing programs had been put in place.

Aggressive testing programs. Trump might have authorized these, instead of finding the word “corona,” in his prepared notes, putting a marker through it, and writing the word, “CHINESE,” above it.

Maybe aggressive testing would have led him to enact a European travel ban.

But, let’s say, as you do, that he enacted a ban against China, and that this was the correct country to isolate.

The first publicly available news article covering the outbreak, that I’ve seen, is dated November 16, 2019.

If we assume that Trump only had access to information sources you and I can get for free on the internet, this means that he took 2 1/2 months—10 weeks—to issue the January 31 ban.

By that point, the virus was already in the U.S. Six people had been identified as sick, and no one had yet died. But it was here.

Researchers have concluded that such bans have “limited effectiveness” in these contexts.


Think of it this way:

If, on a breezy day, a fire started in your house, you might close your windows, to keep the breeze from coming in, and feeding that fire with oxygen.

However, closing the windows—“banning outside oxygen”—would not put out the fire in your house, especially if there were small flames starting in multiple parts of your home at the same time.

This is especially the case if, for the first five or ten minutes, all you did was tell your family that there was no fire—that it was a “hoax”—that you had it under control, and that the flames would quickly go to zero.

This is really, especially the case if those fires were breaking out, but you had no effective way to test and see where in the house they were.

What you would need to do is call the fire department, immediately; as soon as you knew there was a fire.

But, suppose you were also the mayor of your small town, and you had disbanded the fire department a couple of years earlier.

That is, you’d concluded there was no reason to keep paying firemen, and maintaining fire trucks, when fires almost never happened in your town; keeping all that infrastructure was just a waste of money.

If this were the scenario, what do you think would happen to your house?

This is, analogically, in part, what Donald Trump did, here, in the United States, as it pertains to the first few weeks of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.

What are your thoughts?



I pray neither @george or @Harry_Allen contracts this virus.
Both undoubtedly would refuse treatment because the object of their abject hatred recommended a treatment by a drug for which said object purportedly benefited from.


In other news, another president waited 6 months, a thousand American deaths, and 20,000 hospitalizations. CNN reported at the time (Oct 09):

Since the H1N1 flu pandemic began in April, millions of people in the United States have been infected, at least 20,000 have been hospitalized and more than 1,000 have died , said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

Disclaimer; I did not vote for either of the aforementioned two presidents, and i neither adulate nor hate either man, but apparently not all commenters here have that needful freedom. Perhaps freedom is itself a hoax?

excellent comment, harry, particularly the news that genetic studies show that NY’s crisis derives primarily from european travel, and that aggressive early testing could have uncovered this unknown fact and led to more chiseled national policies…

but as has been said before, you’re wasting your time on shshsh…he’s only here to derive glee from what he anticipates will be reaction stemming from his calculated comments, all of which reflect the latest from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Breitbart - and i know, because i watch Fox News, and try to catch snippets here and there from Rush, Breitbart and others, in order to follow the historic delusion afflicting more than half of your country…i believe this delusion has eschatological significance…


Honestly, I hope you won’t. That kind of lecture is really repugnant and unwelcome. :open_mouth:

Harry, you described it all very well.
What astonishes me the most in all Trump’s presidency are two facts:

  1. The amount of lying coming from him. Demonstration not only of a flawed character but of some mental unbalance. Sure he can be a “genius,” I get that … :roll_eyes: , but definitely not a “stable” one. This man has a serious personality disorder. Mental sanity is by far not his “forte” …
  2. That there are still so many people who apparently have no problem with his lying and behavior in general, thus they continue supporting him. Do they really want to be fooled like that, or are they short in their ability to perceive the obvious? Or do they just dismiss the value of basic morality?

@vandieman, Jeremy, have you wondered why there has been absence of reporting total mortality rates from all causes?
This number would cut through the disarray of all the other numbers bandied about-trying to pin down tested vs infected and then drawing mortality rate numbers is, literally, pointless. As is not giving consideration to data that normal pneumonia ONLY deaths have DROPPED by half since December.
Why? In a normal year around a thousand people a day die of pneumonia-why are these numbers more than 50% off?

In the roughly 60 days, we should note total US mortality tallies around 420,000, of which 60,000 should be pneumonia. Pneumonia is down to below 30,000. Adding the 19,000 deaths labeled as due to CoVID still does not seem to reflect expected data accurately. If the significantly increased 2000 deaths attributed to Covid just last night has any utility (even as we see the “curve flatten” and ventilator/icu bed/er admissions decrease substantially, it does suggest we do have medical problem that is being handled-on both sides-as a political/publicity/media fodder problem. THAT’s a problem we can’t cure through quarantine, social distancing, wringing hand washings.
In other words, these simple roundly estimated numbers suggest that FEWER PEOPLE are dying today.
This, during a pandemic of HUUUUGE proportions…

(and before you leap to the assumption to suggest I mean “it’s all a hoax” or that it was engineered and released intentionally, you have perhaps intentionally missed my point, unsurprisingly, again. I am asking why more folks are less willing, even loathe to look at the deeper issues-such as fairness, balance,nonpartisan analysis -or asking why the bias? who benefits most? who makes what slurs?- rather than too predictably rising to swallow the meanstreakmedia shinybutshallow bait? Hey, and while you’re at it, perhaps I mean that soon we will have a forced vaccination, replete with a “covid-free” ̶m̶a̶r̶k̶-̶ errr, card. Without which we cannot go vote…or buy…or sell…)

Despite Harry, George, you, and many others apoplectically declaring president as Hitler, Judas, Antichrist and PolPot rolled into one, it well may be that he is the one who may claim to bring peace-ie, “healing”. What then, the abrupt end?

Again, try understand-I’m attempting to walk the tightrope of being the advocaste.
My conjectures-based on both standard narrative historic adventist narrative and a rough analysis of numbers which do not foolishly try resolve “untested/tested confirmed/unknown” numbers to run hasty and premature death rate scary numbers does not imply anything about my beliefs except perhaps a desire to see through the chaff and try elicit the larger picture. Focus on the why (what the implied larger motives might be -both for the many suggested theories floated, as well the smooth media pablum smorgasbord, to me), seems more fruitful (and interesting) than “your guy is more evil than my guy” conversatans.

To entertain these ideas is not indicative of acceptance-unless one is unable to examine them without the bias of fear or desire. I know George can’t, and have my doubts of Harry, but I believe its perhaps not too late for you to try understand what my point is. It is not Georges hoaxed up “Trump supporter” pithy epithet, either. Never has been, and hope never will be.


Most of the “lectures” I offer isn’t and wouldn’t be for your benefit. Obviously you would disagree. All I can do is to leave some other possibilities for other people to explore. Feel free to ignore it.

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Once in a while I check Fox to see what they are up to at that moment. Honestly, I end up watching no more than a few (5?) minutes, because the grotesque approach, the dishonesty, the adultered facts, and the half-truths are so obvious that it becomes a repugnant experience. For some reason the word “deplorable” pops up in my mind just thinking of that!..


no, i haven’t wondered about that, but if i did, i’d assume coronavirus has taken the spotlight…and i’d think this a reasonable assumption since all of cable TV, and all world leaders, are discussing it non-stop…this is besides the clear evidence that all government action all over the world is being commandeered into combating coronavirus; that all business world-wide has come to a screeching halt over coronavirus; and that people from the most enlightened societies on earth are all hunkered down in their homes over coronavirus…

this would be true if coronavirus was always lethal without comorbidities, which of course it isn’t…keep in mind that all coronavirus deaths have not been reported or tallied…this is especially true in america where testing for coronavirus has been very slow out of the gate…and i actually heard on rachel maddow last nite that the u.s. government has no strategy, or plan to even mention, the vast number of coronavirus deaths occurring daily in nursing homes across the country - a phenomenon being helplessly lost in all local jurisdictions - and that even some hospitals don’t want to admit the elderly now because they want them dead in nursing homes, and not hospitals, given that they are believed to be on a certain trajectory towards death…

because these pneumonia cases are now being finished off by coronavirus, which steers the human respiratory system into hypoxic pneumonia, and tallied as a coronavirus case…keep in mind that these annual pneumonia cases were overwhelmingly among the elderly, and that they haven’t been aggressively treated historically because the elderly have never been believed to be candidates for meaningful life upon recovery…this is no doubt why there is a world-wide dearth of ventilators on hand, now that they are needed for coronavirus…

i think you’re seeing a conspiracy theory where there isn’t one…today’s 2,000 deaths are yesterday’s infections, stemming from as much as 5 weeks ago…in any flattening curve for a respiratory pandemic, we should expect deaths to lag behind factors like a flattening curve, lower ventilator use, lower ER and ICU bed admittance, etc…far from being a conspiracy, this lag is what we can expect to see when any kind of peak is being approached or passed, and when measures in place to prevent transmission are working…

but if you want to consider a conspiracy, ask yourself why 18% of NY’s covid deaths have come from its 9% black population, or why, even more tellingly, 70% of louisiana’s covid deaths have come from it’s 33% black population…obviously blacks have levels of comorbidities that reflect an unequal healthcare system…

timo, you can stand on your head, but nothing’s going to change anyone’s opinion on trump…we’ve seen him up close for over 3 yrs…it doesn’t matter what he does, or doesn’t do, anymore…and it isn’t even a case of party politics…it’s the man himself…if he were a democrat, as he’s been for most of his life, he’d still be disrespected and loathed…trump is going to go down as the least admired man of all time…it’s his own personal choices and qualities that have given him permanent ignominy…it has nothing to do with overlooking actual data in order to lapse into a “your guy is more evil than my guy” conversation…

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I can’t believe what you posted here. This president has been anything but expeditious in his handling of this corona virus.
You need to get a good look at the real Donald Trump: https://historynewsnetwork.org/blog/154329

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The evidence is out there if people really want to know the truth about him. Jesus said that man would either worship God, (The way, the truth and the life) or mammon. He claims to be a Christian, but which path has he chosen? Many evangelicals and their followers have stood by this historically corrupt individual. Here is a profile of the real Donald Trump: https://historynewsnetwork.org/blog/154329

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