‘I needed to protect others’

2020-04-21 06:00
Catia Cicognani.

Catia Cicognani.

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Giving up her 20th birthday party, might have saved the lives of Catia Cicognani’s parents.

“When I returned from my trip abroad, I suspected there was a chance of having been exposed to the coronavirus, because the virus was spreading rapidly through Europe. Everywhere people were getting sick. I was on my way back home to South Africa and thought I should self-isolate when I get there. My family also agreed that I take a preventative stance.”

However, isolating herself was tough.

“On returning home, all I wanted to do was see my family and friends. I did not even hug my mother upon arrival at the airport. I also had to cancel my birthday party and watched my friends have fun on the beach, which was rather sad.”

Cicognani was diagnosed with Covid-19 when she started showing symptoms of the disease a few days after isolating herself and she continued with isolation.

“The first week flew by in a daze because I was really sick. I struggled to eat and survived on soup for nearly two weeks.”

What got Cicognani through the lonely time of isolation, was her positive mindset.

“As I gradually got better, I decided this was the best vacation I ever had. For once I was able to do absolutely nothing with no responsibilities.”

Cicognani recovered completely and was discharged from isolation at home last week. She urges others to follow her example and heed the call for staying at home to protect the vulnerable in our society.

“Even before testing positive, I knew it was my responsibility to protect others. I cannot stress this enough. Just because you may not see it being transferred to someone does not mean you cannot spread it. During this time, it is important to be aware that even if we may not know our neighbours, it does not mean we should disrespect them by not isolating. You might be young and strong and able to survive the coronavirus, but others you infect may not be able to survive it.”

She wants to remind others that it is our collective responsibility to fight the coronavirus.

“We must stay home. It is only logical that the less you go out, the less contact you have with other people, the less likely you are to be infected and bring the disease back home to your loved ones. The fewer people who are being infected and who need to go to the hospital, the more we can help people who are in life-threatening conditions and who actually need the hospital. We know that the hospitals will become overloaded as the disease spread.”

Cicognani’s message to teenagers is to step up and do the right thing.

“We shouldn’t waste the opportunity to prevent deaths. To the youth who do not fear going out because they think they are safe and they feel invincible – you might not get coronavirus or only experience mild symptoms – but the people you infect might not be so lucky. Would you still feel good knowing that someone died because of you? Be a hero and stay home. Be a soldier for South Africa and help us fight this virus. Stay home.”

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