- When lockdown rules were recently eased and family visits, alcohol and cigarette sales resumed, Nwabisa* couldn't wait to celebrate and be reunited with her friends after several months in a hard lockdown.
- The 23-year-old student attended a daytime party on the first weekend of alert Level 2 and later found out that one of the attendees had tested positive for Covid-19.
- This is her story on how her father, who had remained indoors, contracted Covid-19 from her and landed in ICU following the party.
I live with my father, and the past five months have not been easy for our family. We've lost quite a few family members from the virus and couldn't even attend their funerals.
My father is a senior citizen and suffers from diabetes and I knew that he was at a greater risk of contracting the virus.
Before the country moved to lockdown Level 2, I always ensured that we remained cautious at all times and I only left the house to buy essentials. He would only leave the house for walks alone around the neighbourhood as a form of exercise or go for his monthly clinic checks.
It wasn't easy adjusting to staying at home at all times and not seeing my friends as often as I was used to. I love partying and just socialising in general, so you can imagine how frustrating it was for me. When the president announced the move to Level 2, I was ecstatic.
I remember how my friends and I instantly made plans for the weekend. It didn't even take long for us to be invited to a party by a well-known DJ in Johannesburg. It only dawned on me later that this would mean that I would be in contact with people and this could affect my father's well-being.
I convinced myself that everyone would be wearing masks and we would all sanitise our hands. So I would be fine. I was a bit anxious about attending the party, but decided to go anyway.
When the weekend came and I arrived at the party, I immediately realised that people had already removed their masks and were drinking and partying away. I was shocked. After a few shots, I became relaxed and also removed my mask. I noticed no social distancing adhered to and we were all hugging one another, taking snaps for Instagram and just partying like the pandemic was over.
After the party, I reflected that evening and realised that I had made a bad decision. There had been no pressing need for me to attend a party with 40 other people.
After two days, I received a text that one of the attendees had tested positive for Covid-19. I had a knot in my stomach and hoped that I was safe, but knew that I needed to be responsible and get tested.
True to form, a few days later, I received a positive test result and was extremely anxious and had to inform my dad. The following morning I noticed that my dad looked a bit frail. He mentioned that his body was in pain and so was his head.
I tried to give him food to eat and drink his medication and vitamins, but he couldn't keep the food down. It was at that moment that he collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. He was not responsive at all and had to be admitted into ICU and later tested positive for coronavirus.
I felt numb. I knew I wouldn't be able to live with myself if anything were to happen to him.
He was in ICU for five days and those were probably the worst five days of my life. I am relieved and blessed to say that he has recovered, although still dealing with the minor discomforts of having previously contracted the virus.
I still haven't forgiven myself for putting my father's life at risk, just for a party. I need people to know that there will always be parties you can attend in the future and partying during a pandemic is not worth it! It's been heartbreaking to see the many #RIPs on twitter and yo think that that could've been me is scary.
Have you survived Covid-19 or lost loved ones? Share your story with us here.
*Name changed to protect her identity.
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