Man vs. virus: Quarantine stories

design: Abby Robinson
permission to print photos: Chris Harmison (left) and Ashmitha Yeluri (right)

COVID-19 has swept the globe this year, affecting people from all backgrounds in many different ways. Due to its ability to spread through respiratory droplets, it has reached some of the students in the district with its contagious nature, including three high school students at Olentangy Orange who have overcome this illness.

Senior Christopher Harmison and sophomore Ashmitha Yeluri contracted the virus around Nov. 10th. Senior Kai Takenaga started to exhibit symptoms later, around Nov. 20th and does not know how it may have spread to him. Because COVID-19 affects every person differently, these three students have had different experiences concerning the virus.

Though it is difficult to locate the exact source of transmission, these students have their hypotheses. “I think I got it from transmission through the band, but it could have been another source, like someone at my gym,” Harmison said. Yeluri said it was passed on to her from an athlete, and Takenaga suspects that it may have been transmitted through someone from the zoo school he attends, though it is rather unlikely.

“I had a very sore throat, a cough, a bad headache, a fever around 101 degrees, chills and body aches,” Harmison said. After exhibiting these wide range of symptoms, he got tested for COVID-19 one time. Being afflicted with this illness cost him four weeks of school, one of which his most important college music auditions occurred, so it was subsequently postponed for two months.

Like Harmison, Takenaga also experienced a wide range of symptoms and had to get tested two times. “I had stomach pain, a runny nose, body aches, trouble breathing and general fatigue. I never ended up losing my sense of taste or smell.”

At first, his life was not affected, but eventually the fatigue impacted his ability to complete regular tasks, and eliminated his chances of attending the Senior Thanksgiving event. “I spend most of my time inside anyways so it started off decent. Then I pretty much got fatigued and couldn’t do the things I normally do, and am now pretty far behind on all of my schoolwork which is very stressful.”

This disease has proved to be challenging for those who have had to deal with it, affecting them both physically and mentally. “The best way to describe it is that my body is tired, but my mind is not. This has also prevented me from getting much sleep, and when I do, it’s for short intervals,” Takenaga said.

Unlike Harmison and Takenaga, Yeluri did not experience very many symptoms, and she got tested for the coronavirus twice. “The only symptoms I had were loss of taste and smell. To me, it was a struggle being stuck in a room and not being able to hug your loved ones, and the stress the others have to go through to make sure you’re OK is insane,” Yeluri said.

For all three of these students, being afflicted with the coronavirus did not change their pre-existing views on the disease. “I wouldn’t say it really changed my view a ton on COVID-19, because I already took it pretty seriously. It did make me understand that I’m not invincible to any danger going around though,” Harmison said.

According to the CDC, it is important to take safety precautions to protect against the coronavirus. These precautions include covering the mouth and nose with a mask, keeping hands clean by washing them with soap and making sure to disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Though getting through a global pandemic is no easy task, hope and resilience can definitely help quite a bit.