Bengaluru: Two Covid-19 patients from Kerala offer hope at a time the number of cases in India has been climbing.
The patients, a couple from Pathanamthitta, are among those who have recovered from the coronavirus infection, but what makes their story remarkable is the fact that they’re both older than 80. Patients older than 60 are at higher risk from the infection, and recovery is usually fraught with age-related complications.
Thomas, 93, and Mariyamma, 88, from Ranni in Pathanamthitta district, had contracted the novel coronavirus from their son, who had recently travelled to Italy. The infection was transmitted to four others in the family. The entire family underwent treatment at Kottayam Medical College, and have since recovered, said an official from the Kerala health department. Except for the couple, all the relatives were discharged Monday.
The couple, the last to recover, are expected to be discharged in a few days. Kerala had reported India’s first three cases of Covid-19 in January, which were also the first cases to recover.
Infection spread through family
The couple’s son and his family had taken two connecting flights from Venice in Italy to India on 29 February. At the time, India had less than 100 cases of coronavirus.
The family had met relatives and attended several functions before their symptoms began to develop.
They were forcibly admitted to the local district hospital in Ranni on 6 March when they went for a check-up, and tested positive for Covid-19. Several of their relatives also tested positive. The couple were admitted at Kottayam Medical College two days later.
Family members had not divulged their travel history when they first returned from Italy.
“It was due to our ignorance that we made a mistake,” Rijo, the couple’s grandson, told ThePrint.
“We were kept in isolation wards. At the time we were being admitted, we were really depressed. We were very worried as we thought you cannot recover from this infection. But we thank God, the doctors and the government took such good care of us that we have come out fully recovered,” he said.
While in isolation, doctors and nurses helped build their confidence and brought them out of depression, Rijo added.
“When we read the newspapers, all we saw was death being reported. Nobody spoke of recovery. We stopped reading the news. We concentrated on getting better, and that’s how today, everybody, including my grandparents have recovered,” Rijo said.
A nurse who was tending to the couple also contracted the infection and was immediately sent into quarantine. The state government is taking care of her treatment, with Kerala health minister K.K. Shailaja seeking regular updates.
Recovery for the elderly couple was trickier since they had to be monitored closely for age-related complications. At one point, the couple went back to their house against the doctor’s advice, but they were brought back to the hospital and put in quarantine.
Thomas suffered a heart attack, after which his health deteriorated. He was also put on a ventilator due to his breathing issues.
Forty medical staff led by seven doctors at the Kottayam Medical College kept track of the family’s progress along with the other coronavirus victims.
“We are very grateful to all the doctors and nurses who helped us recover quickly and also helped us think positively,” Rijo said.
Celebrations, but with caution
Ranni Hospital authorities organised a cake and dinner for the family members that were discharged Monday, and also gave them a kit containing essential items such as hand sanitiser and hand wash as a parting gift. Their homes were thoroughly disinfected by the district authorities before the family moved back.
According to Dr Ashis Mohan and Dr Sharat, who treated the family, they will be in strict home quarantine for two weeks. After that, they will be brought in an ambulance back to the hospital, their samples taken for testing and then once the results are back, we can be 200 per cent sure that they have full recovered.
(With PTI inputs)