EAST BRUNSWICK, NK - Hello Everyone, after a long absence, I am back.

Life offers us a lot of twists and turns, and we must navigate through it with a fine precision sense of wisdom to be able to survive to see another day.  As we transverse through the day, we also must have a strong discernment to all information we are fed via so many avenues. Unfortunately, everything we hear, read and react is based at times on the agenda of the outlet or person disseminating the information. What is it you ask I am talking about? What is the information am I referring to?

I am talking to you today about the epidemic that has gripped the world. A viral outbreak that has shaken our way of life as we knew it and forced us to hide ourselves from each other in seclusion to break the cycle of contamination. The dreaded COVID -19 Virus or the Coronavirus.

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The global wave of sickness and death has not stopped the news of the virus to be used by many to promote their own agendas at the expense of lives in exchange. We, as a society in whole absorb information to what suits us best. With that foreknowledge, the news is perverted by many to push across micro messages or macro ideas using the events in front of them. We are then conditioned to believe the source of our knowledge blindly without question.

Today, I am here to tell you that no matter what you might have heard till date. It does not matter what version you care to believe or think it is all a hoax. I am telling you that it is real, and it is dangerous.  It is so dangerous and deadly it can kill in matter of days or in a matter of weeks. Yet, many are willfully ignorant to the very idea that they may be susceptible or maybe a carrier helping spread it. I know it is real. I know people who have lost loved ones to this virus. Survivors of other dreaded diseases have succumbed to this virus. It kills indiscriminately. The Coronavirus plays a game of Russian Roulette with your life.

The variety of reasons the virus kills in all age groups is still being researched and tabulated as each case is studied. Are your genes the reason for survival or death? Is your blood type more immune or susceptible to contracting the virus? Why do some show no symptoms, and some have all symptoms?

There are no definitive answers yet to these questions yet. I want to offer you my perspective of this virus from someone who contracted the virus and describe to you in detail the hell I went through for 21 days. First, I must say this is nothing compared to getting the flu. The flu is a walk in the park compared to this. I had the flu back in 2007 and if I had to choose, I would choose to have the flu over and over again instead of having to be sick again with the COVID-19 virus.

My story begins on March 16 in the late afternoon. I was feeling heavy headed and felt a cold coming on and very tired. Next two days I didn’t think much of it. I heard all the news reports, yet I never expected to get the virus. I still did everything the same way as always. On the afternoon of the 18th, I came home and felt very sick, went to bed and got up later with a 102-degree fever.

I immediately called my doctor that night and had a video conference. After telling her the symptoms, she prescribed flu medication because all the symptoms mirrored the flu. She warned me about the virus and its symptoms. Next day, the fever remained at 102. During the course on next 24 hours I developed a loss of smell and taste. My chest started to hurt with every breath I took.

On the morning of the 21st, I was told by my doctor I might be positive for the Coronavirus, and I should get tested immediately. She also changed my medication and prescribed antibiotic medicine. Fortunately, I was able to get an appointment the same day at an urgent care clinic and got tested.

While waiting for the results my fever remained at 102 for 5 straight days. My chest was exploding with each breath. I felt my ribs were cracking while breathing. I did not get the results back then till the 8th day. When I heard I was positive, I just decided I need to survive this and move on. I could not dwell on the why or the how of it all.

Already beset with guilt that I might have unknowingly given it to someone was driving me crazy. I called everyone I was in contact with to let them know just in case. After I was tested positive, I was contacted by the county on three separate occasions to follow up and check on my condition.

I was told to retrace my steps and let everyone know. This is before the contact tracing began. My fever reduced but vacillated between 99.6 and 100.8 till April 7th.

For 21 days I had a fever. My chest pains continued till April 2nd.

After my last symptom, the fever subsiding on the night of the April 7th. I still was quarantined for another one week before I ventured out. 

The first time I drove by myself felt surreal. Route 18 was deserted at 5pm. I felt I was in a zombie movie without the zombies.  Even though I had no more symptoms of the virus and had the antibodies running through my blood, my lungs took a beating over the course of one month. It took me another four weeks before I was able to walk briskly, run, jog or do any heavy lifting without feeling a shortness in breath. Even speaking for more than ten minutes at a time was difficult.

I want to emphasize to everyone; this is for real and you can be infected without the proper precautions.

The State of New Jersey has done a great job in handling the crisis. New Jersey is only one of 3 States to contain the virus. Even though the restrictions are being relaxed, and we are trying to get our lives back to normal, please take every precaution necessary to protect you, your family and others you may be in contact with. The State, County and Township websites have a wealth of information that flows daily to help you understand and cope with the virus. East Brunswick officials and township employees have done strong work in helping curb the virus with adhering strictly to all guidelines given from the Federal and State governments. Till date East Brunswick has had 668 cases and 54 reported deaths.

I hope that anyone reading this who still is not convinced it is not real or does not believe in the severity of it has changed their minds after reading this article. Like I said earlier, I would rather have the flu repeatedly anytime.

Watching events unfold while I was stuck in bed, one thought kept creeping through my mind. Was I going to make it? It was a scary feeling know people my same age was dying from the virus, and I was a night away from being admitted to the hospital. I was scared to go to sleep at night because I could not breathe, and I was scarred I would stop breathing while I was sleeping as I had such a hard time breathing while awake.

The randomness of the lives that were lost to the virus scarred me the most throughout this whole ordeal. There was no set rule to the virus. The virus, symptoms and victims were all a chaotic mix. As I lay in my room I pondered upon the lawless and haphazard way the virus attacked and killed with no rhyme or reasonable explanation. As I saw this unfold, I could see how the rules of the lethal game of chance Russian Roulette applied to the virus. Every time you venture out without the proper precautions to minimize your risk, you are risking pulling the trigger every time. Instead of a single bullet in the chamber, it is the COVID- 19 bullet waiting to inflict harm. Once afflicted with the virus, a person can suffer greatly or die.

Catastrophic events such as this always bring out the best and worst in humanity. I want to highlight the good and not give any credence to the bad. I would like to thank all those who work in the medical field that have worked tirelessly to help save lives.

We have so many East Brunswick residents out there risking their lives and their families to exposure by being in the front end of this war on humanity and survival. Many residents and places of worship teamed up with the township to help those that were quarantined or a high degree of risk. From getting basic amenities and supplies to driving to pick up medication.

Our police Department was delivering groceries to all the senior citizens that requested help. Our residents were sewing masks for people in short supply. Our Chinese and Indian Cultural Societies were raising money for masks and other supplies to be delivered to our local hospitals. There are many local examples of the great good done within in our township.

I urge you all to take the proper precautions and be safe in your daily lives. I lost a month of my life to this virus. I am fortunate to have only lost a month and be able to share my experience with you. The number of people who lost their lives can never walk, breathe or express their experience. The death toll is real,  and so is this virus.