inFOCUS: How COVID-19 changed human interaction

inFOCUS

MARYLAND (WDVM) — Worldwide, more than 115 million people and counting have had COVID-19.

More than 2.5 million people have died from the virus. And as the numbers continue to climb, it’s easy to become desensitized. It’s easy to look at the statistics as just numbers, but it’s more than that. Each number represents a person, a life, a family whose world has been altered by this plague. No case or story is the same.

Some stories like Shayna Maxwell’s are ones of triumph. But there are stories like that of Sandra Barnes – riddled with loss. No matter the tale, no matter the outcome. One thing remains true, COVID-19 changed the world.

Shayna Maxwells’ story began in January when she was exposed to the virus. One to never get sick, she was surprised when she woke up one morning feeling a little out of it. Shayna was down for about 14 days with a fever, body aches, and loss of appetite. Locked in the house with no one but her husband, it was only a matter of time before it hit him as well.

No matter how miserable they both were, in a way, Shayna says she was grateful she had someone to go through this journey with, not everyone is so fortunate to have that human interaction.

“In the instances that I’ve seen where people have been able to speak to their loved ones, even if it’s over facetime, they’ve done better,” said Maxwell.

Studies have shown that human interaction is important. Lack of interaction can contribute to sentiments of isolation and depression. When both of Sandra Barnes’s parents were fell ill with COVID, Sandra saw first-hand human interaction can impact a person’s willpower. Sandra’s mom battled COVID-19 and pneumonia at home. Separated from her mother who was seemingly on a decline, feeling helpless, Sandra decided to go and take care of her mother. That visit made all the difference. Meanwhile, for 7 weeks, Sandra’s father went between the hospital and rehab. with all the visiting restrictions in place, it became hard to keep in touch.

“My father would literally put the phone down and turn his chair away from the window because he just could not understand that they couldn’t come in, he felt like they didn’t want to come and I could understand a lot of people probably felt the same way,” said Barnes.

Ultimately, suffering from multiple underlying conditions, her father succumbed to the virus. Sandra believes his life was prolonged thanks to her sister, who works in the medical field, and her ability to advocate on her father’s behalf.

And although it’s not how she wanted to say goodbye, she’s at peace knowing he had someone fighting for him. It’s not a chance not everyone gets.

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