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Lupus patient begs Bahamians to take COVID-19 seriously

While the risks of COVID-19 may be abstract for some, Michelle Thurston, 35, knows that her life is in jeopardy.

Thurston was diagnosed with lupus eight years ago and has been seriously ill for the past two years.

She, yesterday, begged other Bahamians to take COVID-19 seriously for the sake of her and others who are more at risk. 

“Our immune systems cannot work as well as a healthy person’s,” she said.

“And we’re out here on the frontlines and there are healthy people that are carrying COVID-19 and they’re spreading it to us. And for immune systems that cannot fight it, it’s basically a death sentence. So, in this time, they don’t understand that they could be carrying our death.”

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced a nationwide 24-hour curfew and lockdown to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

So far, there are five confirmed cases of the virus in the country – four on New Providence and one on Grand Bahama.

People like Thurston, who have compromised immune systems, are at a particular risk for experiencing the more extreme symptoms of COVID-19.

Thurston, who said her family lost everything in Hurricane Dorian, said her social life had already suffered before COVID-19. After the first case of the virus was confirmed in the country, she became even lonelier.

She said she only has contact with her caregiver, but even that poses significant risks for her.

“Right now, my caregiver, even though I am under self-quarantine for my health, my caregiver still has to go out there to purchase essential goods,” she said.

“And the last thing I want them to do is to go out and be paranoid that they might bring the virus home to me because someone who is healthy is out just wreaking havoc doing whatever they want to do without realizing that they’re spreading the disease to be brought home to someone like me.”

Thurston added, “I would really like Bahamians to understand that this time calls for unity and strength.

“[R]ight now, we need all of us to come together and show that Bahamian pride is not selfish.”

She continued, “At 35, I still have a lot of life to live. I have dreams that I want to accomplish. I have a job that I love to do. I love to garden. I love my family. I have a young niece and young nephews. I want to see them grow up. I want to sit at their graduation. I would love the chance to have a family of my own someday.

“And it’s hard when you’re sitting at home doing everything that you’re supposed to be doing [and] to know that someone somewhere isn’t adhering to these laws and they spread the virus to me and shorten my life.

“And it’s not just me. It could be your grandmother. It could be your cousin. It could be your best friend, and you’re ending lives.

“Please, stay home. Give us a chance, please.”

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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