A-Z

Emdad

Age at interview: 49
Brief Outline:

Gender: Male
Background: Emdad is 49 years old and is Bangladeshi. He is married with three children and works in transport services. Emdad developed Covid while working as a key worker, and his household tested positive for coronavirus too. His wife, who lives with physical health problems, took longer than him to recover from the virus.

 

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Emdad first heard about Covid in 2019 because of news reports mentioning increasing cases in China. He specifically remembers hearing that “people have been dying”, but he did not feel it was that serious at the time because it was happening in China, “far way from here [UK].” He started to become worried in March 2020 when seeing that the virus had spread worldwide. He then felt increasingly concerned when the UK went into its first lockdown. Emdad had questions like, “What will happen to the world? What will happen to England?”
 
In the first lockdown, Emdad followed the Government guidelines “strictly”, and felt that by staying home he would keep himself and others safe. He says that some of his family and friends did not follow these guidelines. As he puts it, “sometimes we heard a party at another house, we [would] never go because it’s a risk to lockdown.” 
 
Emdad continued working during the pandemic because he was considered a front-line worker. He says that this caused increased worry because he had a higher chance of catching Covid. He was also worried about his wife, who lives with physical health problems related to her back and breathing. He tried his best to protect his family by wearing a mask and following social distancing guidance.
 
In December 2020, Emdad and his wife visited a Covid testing centre because she had been coughing and had a fever. The following day they found out that the result was positive, so Emdad, his wife, and children quarantined at home for ten days. Emdad also ordered a home testing kit, which showed that four out of the five family members had Covid. He felt sad because his other family members live in Bangladesh and could not help him. However, his friends in the UK were able to deliver food to his doorstep. Emdad felt fully recovered in two weeks, but his wife did not recover until about a month after having Covid.
 
When Emdad told his family in Bangladesh about his positive Covid test, his family became worried. They could not help him much, but they did provide some advice. Emdad says they encouraged him to, “get the steam, get the lemon, get the lemon with every food, get the lemon ginger tea.” He followed some of this advice.
 
Emdad reflects on the difference between Covid in Bangladesh and the UK. He says that more people had Covid in Bangladesh, but he felt like they were following the social distance rules better than people living in the UK. However, because people in Bangladesh were not getting monetary support from the government, Emdad says they started breaking social distancing rules because they had to make money. As he puts it, “if they stay [at home], there’s no money coming and no food coming, so after two, three months, they started coming out.” However, he thinks Bangaldesh benefitted from having hotter weather than the UK. He believes the colder weather in the UK caused more people to get Covid.
 
Emdad has had the Covid vaccine. He said that he had a fever and felt tired after having the vaccine. He hopes that other people in the UK get the vaccine so that the infection rate and death rate from Covid can come down. He thinks that there should be more information regarding whether the vaccine is halal [allowed] or haram [forbidden] to encourage more people from the Muslim community to get the vaccine.
 

 

 

Emdad had heard reports from China on the news. He became more worried when the government introduced the first lockdowns.

Emdad had heard reports from China on the news. He became more worried when the government introduced the first lockdowns.

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Basically, I have heard like Covid-19 since like around December two thousand and nineteen because it came like in the media that in China there is Covid, people have been dying like this but that time it was not serious with anyone because it was in China. It is far away from here, so I was not worried about but slowly these stories become like this spreading worldwide and it comes like around March it’s too much like and America has started like and the death rate is too high and Italy also around that time peak. Then March, end of March, government gave the first lockdown, then we really started worried like what will happen to the world? What will happen to the England? Around where I am living now so maybe it’s come to me.

 

Emdad watched BBC News at 10pm every day. He worried when the numbers were going up and was hopeful when they dropped.

Emdad watched BBC News at 10pm every day. He worried when the numbers were going up and was hopeful when they dropped.

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Because every day we would like make a habit of watching BBC News at ten o’clock. We just go, “What is the infection rate today? How many people, what is the death rate, how many people died like this?” So, every day we see the tally and we see that it’s going higher, higher, higher and was worried about what happen. When it’s like the death rate had gone down, then we were so happy like our favourite team on the game penalty, you know, like shoot out, we are, yes, yes, yes, but there’s still people dying but we were happy that it’s less people dying, not that many people.

 

Emdad said that a senior Imam issued a statement to confirm that Muslims were able to be vaccinated to counter fake news.

Emdad said that a senior Imam issued a statement to confirm that Muslims were able to be vaccinated to counter fake news.

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Rumour come from is, you know, the society, they find people. When you find someone, get hear something, they get a message, they pass it to others and by this service it is spreading very quick and maybe someone without judgment, they just believe in it. Before believing you have to justify it because these things, whether there is halal or haram, it need to come from authorised person. If they say it is haram, okay, we follow you. If they say it is halal, they follow but we should only listen to about this halal or haram need to come from authorised person, authorised person in our community, maybe our Imam, like a head of the mosque. And you know the East London Mosque is the largest mosque in Europe. There is a there is a head of the Imam. If they declare this, this is fine, they should follow because they go, they study, they have all the information, then they can pass it to them, then we know this is legitimate social information and you can, you can have this information not by whispering from other or getting the message, email message from others and believing it.

 

Emdad distracted himself from his anxieties by watching movies instead of the news.

Emdad distracted himself from his anxieties by watching movies instead of the news.

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Yeah, that’s how that’s how we’re passing time, some time we have movie time. We see like the movie on YouTube, “what do you want to watch?” Then we do altogether. Switch off light, night time, movie time, just like we have to pass our time otherwise how the day and night is the same. We can’t go out. Just by the alarm, you see the morning and then it’s by the dark you see the night.

 

Walking upstairs made Emdad feel breathless and weak after he caught Covid in December 2020.

Walking upstairs made Emdad feel breathless and weak after he caught Covid in December 2020.

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Because we live in a second floor and I see that my breath got faster, when I climbed up the stairs. Sometime or other someone dropped the food downstairs and they call me, “I left the food down so can you come and pick up please?” Then I go to pick up the things from the down and I come back up to the second floor, within the second floor like maybe thirty, thirty five stairs, after that I become breathless. I, it’s taken a minute to stop my breathlessness like heart rate gone faster and then cough coming so I think it was because of weakness and the breathlessness, it’s hard work, make me more tired.

 

Emdad felt there was a small hollow in his heart with cold coming through it.

Emdad felt there was a small hollow in his heart with cold coming through it.

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And during this two weeks time I feel like there is a sound coming out from my heart like a small hollow in my heart, something like a hole in a heart. And I feel like something is passing from the heart, something like that and after two weeks it’s like it stopped around three weeks time, then I never feel like there is a hole in the heart because you’re feeling like there’s some cold coming out from the, your heart. So I think I’m feeling like this.

 

Emdad, who caught Covid in December 2020, felt that he lost about fifty percent of his taste and smell while he was ill.

Emdad, who caught Covid in December 2020, felt that he lost about fifty percent of his taste and smell while he was ill.

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I lost the smell like a half of it and the taste also half, for fifty percent gone because when you eat something, we can’t get that much like a flavour from the curries and taste also bit like, you know, they fade out and that time for just for eating we are doing dinner, eat other food and we just emphasise on the hot tea with ginger, lemon, something like that, you know.

 

Emdad used a steam bath to help with congestion even though he found it difficult to keep his head in the steam for long.

Emdad used a steam bath to help with congestion even though he found it difficult to keep his head in the steam for long.

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And sometime put some hot water and some lemon and, you know, the, what’s it called, some medicine I forgot the name, one drop, you put it in the hot water and take the bath, it makes you like clear the congestion from your throat or something like this, clear and help you to breathe clearly because your nose, mucus maybe block so you can’t breathe properly and that bathe in hot water and this clears your nose and everything. It’s a bit like a tough time because things are hot, you know, the steam, you can’t put your head down too many, too long time but it’s still we had to go for it for better future. We work hard for this and this is maybe why we are okay now.

 

Emdad describes wearing a mask to protect himself while working in public transport, but is aware of the risks faced by keyworkers.

Emdad describes wearing a mask to protect himself while working in public transport, but is aware of the risks faced by keyworkers.

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I had to continue my job because I am working at like another front worker, front line worker so I have to go but worried about myself that I have to go, if I can get the virus or not but I try to wear the mask all the time but it’s still so many closest thing like I followed, still I had like a positive like in December during the second wave.

 

And a bus driver died, thirty six around, bus driver died because of the Covid because they came to work. If they don’t come to work, they stay home, they not die because of our job, nature of our job. If it’s like, you know, the war time or something, you had to go to do our job because we need to run the service otherwise how people move from one place to another place. This is like backbone. [The transport system] is like a running service and like a backbone of the [city]. If they don’t run the service, no one can move from here to there.

 

Emdad hoped that vaccines would make Covid more like flu so that life could go on as normal.

Emdad hoped that vaccines would make Covid more like flu so that life could go on as normal.

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Because of the vaccinated, we’re hoping for the best that corona we can maybe control and we’re expecting that corona will be like a flu like symptoms. Like I had a flu jab every winter, then maybe I’ll have a corona vaccine every year at the same time just like the flu. If it’s like the flu, then we can carry out our normal duty, normal job, life can go on.

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