COVID-positive reporter battles mental toll of isolation

Amajahl Knowles, 27, a reporter at ZNS, tested positive for COVID-19 on August 15.

He was retested on September 1 to see if he had recovered.

“I got my results back that Friday and it came back positive,” Knowles told The Nassau Guardian yesterday. 

“I was hoping that based on things that I was told — that after 14 days, I should be negative — but that wasn’t the case. Spending time in quarantine, I try to learn as much about the virus as possible.

“I’m currently taking a contact tracing course with Johns Hopkins [University] to learn a lot about it. I’m trying to talk to other persons to see how they help themselves and how they get over it.

“I think there’s a general misconception out there that after 10 or 14 days, that that’s it, but that’s not necessarily the case.”

Knowles is unsure where and when he contracted the virus. 

“I don’t know if it was from traversing a grocery store or something like that. I have no idea,” he said.

He said he experienced COVID symptoms for 10 days after testing positive.

Knowles said he experienced headaches, fatigue and a loss of taste and smell.

“Initially, the no taste or smell, it took a bit [of time] to get used to,” he said.

Knowles added, “It’s like something you take for granted because it’s so simple. It was kind of a shock at first. I was like, ‘I can’t taste as well.’

“You know, people build their days around food like, ‘What am I going to eat?’ When you don’t have that, it’s like, ‘Ah, I’m disappointed.’” 

He is currently quarantined in his apartment, which is a part of a duplex.

His family lives in one of the other units, he said, adding that his mother sometimes drops food off at his door.

Knowles said the mental impact of isolation has been the most challenging part of having the virus.

“Mentally, it has a bigger effect on you,” he said.

“Obviously, you don’t have any serious symptoms, but the mental aspect of being isolated by yourself for a long period of time not being able to move; it plays on you.” 

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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