These Pictures Show What It’s Like To Survive COVID-19


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Photographer Morgana Wingard is a resident of New York City and skilled firsthand the trajectory of COVID-19 because it unfold throughout the town this previous spring, infecting 211,000 and killing over 17,000 individuals there. After reporting on the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Wingard took observe of the hanging parallels between these two crises and the way the proliferation of knowledge from those that survived Ebola had helped to additional curb the unfold of the outbreak.

By late April, New York state was the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic within the US and had reached a peak an infection charge of roughly 250,000 documented circumstances and a few 15,000 deaths. At its peak, over 500 COVID-19 deaths have been being reported every day with a further 1,700 each day hospital admissions.

More than 100 days after this lockdown was first enacted, New York state is now not the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic within the US — now it has one of many lowest charges of COVID-19 infections within the nation. Meanwhile, states that prematurely eased restrictions on enterprise and actions at the moment are experiencing a surge in new circumstances. In 21 states throughout the US, COVID-19 circumstances are on the rise, with some native well being authorities noting a rise of their seven-day common as excessive as 92%.

To assist share important info and warnings in regards to the risks of the coronavirus, Wingard began the Coronavirus Survivor Diaries mission, an ongoing documentary sequence that shares the faces and tales of those that have survived COVID-19.

Here, Wingard speaks with BuzzFeed News about how this pandemic mirrors and differs from her expertise throughout the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, in addition to the significance of telling the tales of those that have survived.

Jen from Manhattan


Morgana Wingard

“It’s almost like I’ve gone through a rebirth again. The way I see my future and how I see myself has completely changed. I faced my fears. I was always thinking it stood in my way. I never thought I would be grateful for every single health problem I’ve ever had because I wouldn’t be this person today. I wouldn’t be on this journey if I didn’t get sick with COVID and I wouldn’t change a single thing, no matter how difficult it’s been. I’m alive and I kiss the ground literally every morning that I wake up.”

How did the Coronavirus Survivor Diaries mission start?

Morgana Wingard: As COVID-19 started to unfold in New York earlier this yr, I used to be eerily reminded of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia in 2014. I had moved there the yr earlier than and spent months serving to worldwide humanitarian organizations share their tales of social influence. After most of my associates have been evacuated when Ebola unfold to the capital in the summertime of 2014, I stayed for a number of extra months dominated by a virus that fueled uncertainty, concern, faux information, and phony cures — very similar to the atmosphere at present.

I realized greater than I ever anticipated about epidemiology, responding to an unprecedented medical emergency, and the essential influence of communication in such a state of affairs. It was one of many hardest instances in my life, however I wouldn’t take it again for the world due to what I realized. As an sudden witness, I noticed what didn’t work. But then I found what did.

My largest takeaway was that survivors have a essential function to play in an outbreak. In truth, lots of the solutions that we search might be discovered within the survivors — each of their our bodies and of their tales. Then, simply as now, individuals wanted to listen to from individuals they know and belief in order that humanitarian organizations may work with survivors to go on important info to warn, educate, and encourage their communities that Ebola is actual, what they will do to guard themselves, and what to do if somebody begins getting sick. Just as importantly, they provided hope in a time gripped by concern.

Dr. Odutola from the Bronx


Morgana Wingard

“At the end of March when we had a scarcity of PPE and not enough ventilators, we were running around trying to save lives. There was always a code patient dying somewhere. I wonder how people think this is not serious. I haven’t had time to sit down and look at data, but I know that on a regular day, in the regular flu season, in a month I’m calling just one or two family members saying that people passed. In this pandemic, I call them two to three times a day to tell them that someone passed from coronavirus.”

I’m not a primary responder who can present lifesaving care. I’m not a scientist who can develop a vaccine. I’m not a politician who could make vital public well being choices. So, it seems like I’m too far eliminated to have the ability to make an actual distinction. I’m only a storyteller. But I consider there’s energy in studying from one another’s tales. So, when the COVID-19 outbreak started spreading in my present dwelling, New York City, I began this private mission to doc and share these vital tales by means of a sequence of portraits and first-person accounts of COVID-19 survivors that may unfold consciousness now and doc our shared expertise for historical past.

During the Ebola outbreak we had began a mission referred to as Ebola Diaries, so I made a decision to name this mission Coronavirus Survivor Diaries.

In your opinion, how does the coronavirus pandemic within the US differ from the Ebola outbreak in Liberia?

The coronavirus pandemic is totally different from the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa as a result of everyone seems to be experiencing it collectively. The Ebola outbreak was remoted to 3 nations on one continent. This virus has unfold to 6 continents and nearly no nation is untouched. The lovely factor about that’s that everybody goes by means of this collectively so there’s a stage of mutual understanding as we share this expertise and in some methods it brings us collectively.

Melvin from Manhattan


Morgana Wingard

“We were very careful, but still, there was one day that I felt that I was coughing too much. When I came home I felt that I had a fever. That week when we were sick, hundreds of people were dying daily. One day 799 died. So, that was very scary. We were trying to go to the hospital to get tested to see if we had COVID-19, but they said they had a lot of very severe cases so they said we probably don’t have it and if we go to the hospital we’re going to catch it there.”

How do you meet these survivors?

I discover survivors by means of numerous means, however totally on social media. I’ve been amazed at how open individuals have been with an entire stranger to inform them probably the most intimate moments of their COVID journeys and permit them to them — albeit at a secure distance with masks.

Why is it vital to inform their tales?

It’s vital to inform survivor tales for 2 causes. First, lots of the solutions that we search might be discovered within the info that survivors need to share: the way it’s contracted, the way it spreads, what it does to the physique, what helped them heal, how they coped, and so forth. Second, survivors can warn, educate, and encourage their communities by telling them info about their experiences that dispel myths and encourage individuals to take the illness significantly whereas on the identical time giving them hope that they will get by means of it.

How has your impression of the coronavirus pandemic modified since starting work on this mission?

We have been initially informed the virus was a respiratory illness. It’s clear from talking with many survivors that it assaults way more than simply the lungs.

I assumed that the United States was higher ready to answer an outbreak. I’ve been stunned at our response. In some methods, African nations have responded much better than we’ve. Liberia took the specter of this virus extraordinarily significantly. The roles reversed. They quarantined anybody coming into the nation from New York earlier than there have been any recognized circumstances in Liberia. I’m pleased with them. I feel we will be taught rather a lot from their instance.

Tiffany from Harlem


Morgana Wingard

“I remember being on my bathroom floor crying and praying and saying to God, ‘There is no antidote. There is no remedy. There is no prescription. So, you are going to have to heal me because if something happens to me, what happens to my children? I can’t not survive this. You’re going to have to be the solution.’ For me, it was a matter of me gathering everything that I believed, biblically, being a Christian and holding onto the fact that I believe this to be true.”

Barbara from Manhattan


Morgana Wingard

“A few days before I stopped going into work, I traveled there via the Lex and 53rd subway station. The platform was teeming with people. I could almost feel the germs; like I was in a horror movie. It was terrifying because we were supposed to be social distancing, but there was nowhere to go. My suspicion is that I got it there. But who knows. The minute I had a fever, I knew I had the virus.”

Lucky from the Bronx


Morgana Wingard

“After a week, I was beginning to get shortness of breath so my husband called 911 and they rushed me to Lincoln Hospital, where I was hospitalized because my oxygen was extremely low. I passed out. I woke up praying to my mighty God and never gave up praying. Never did I think I would be fighting for my life. After speaking on the phone with my daughter to let her know I was okay after three weeks apart, her voice kept playing back-to-back in my head saying, ‘Mommy, but you are strong and I hope to see you soon. Get better, Mommy, OK.’”

Sandra from New Rochelle, New York


Morgana Wingard

“I do know precisely the place I caught it. On the weekend of February 29, we went to a buddy’s home for a memorial luncheon for a buddy’s father-in-law. The following Wednesday I came upon that two of the individuals there had examined optimistic from publicity the week earlier than to somebody in our temple who had caught it. No one was speaking about COVID-19 earlier than that. Because I’m from New Rochelle, we have been all quarantined on the identical time. The complete going into quarantine is nothing I can relate to as a result of I’ve by no means had to do this. I’ve by no means needed to see the world so down like this. It was very isolating at first. It was really a horrible feeling.”

Dr. Joseph Feuerstein from Fairfield County, Connecticut


Morgana Wingard

“I am proof positive that you can recover and that there is the possibility for a happy ending after COVID-19.” Feuerstein, a board-certified household drugs doctor who makes a speciality of integrative drugs, labored as an emergency division and ICU physician at Stamford Health in Connecticut.

Paul from Long Island, New York


Morgana Wingard

“I work in the main residential building that is part of a hospital in Manhattan. It looks like it’s the hospital, but it’s the apartments that the doctors and nurses live in. I’m the concierge there at the front and have relationships with most of the people since I’ve been there for a long time. The problem was there was no signage on my door that said it was a residential building. So people are constantly coming in thinking it’s the hospital and we have to redirect them. So, there were people coming in who would walk right up to my desk.”

James from Brooklyn, New York City


Morgana Wingard

“I know I got it from my wife being that we’re together most of the time. She came home one day from work and said that everybody in her pharmacy simultaneously lost their sense of smell. Obviously, that was the first indication because, you know, it’s just not one person. It’s everyone. Once she said that to me, I was like, all right, so we’re gonna have to go through the whole process. A couple of days later I got a headache. A couple of days after that, I lost my sense of smell.”

Jillian and Jessica from New York City


Morgana Wingard

“Everyone who is studying abroad in all of Europe goes to Barcelona for Abroadfest every year. We went to that, which is where we think we probably got it. When I came back home I had very, very minor symptoms: a minor sore throat and my body felt achy. Nothing serious at all. I didn’t actually think I could have it. Since we knew some people who had it, we decided to get tested to be sure because we figured it’s better to know. I got the call first that I was positive and then my sister tested positive as well. We were so lucky that we had such minor symptoms.” —Jillian

Michael from New Jersey


Morgana Wingard

“My kidneys were the main victim of the virus. They said the best option for me was dialysis. They had to inject a tube that connects to a central vein that’s also connected to my heart to be able to clean my blood and do the job that our kidneys are supposed to do every single day to help recover, heal them. Underneath my shirt there is a catheter line right here by my right shoulder and I still have to go through dialysis. It was three times a week. Now it’s been reduced to two times a week.”



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