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Jaswinder

Age at interview: 44
Brief Outline:

Gender: Female
Ethnicity: Indian
Background: Jaswinder is 44 years old and is Indian. She lives with her husband and children. Jaswinder heard about Covid in 2019 but experienced it herself after her daughter developed symptoms in July 2021. She feels let down by the government about racism in education and healthcare during the pandemic

 

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Jaswinder first heard of Covid in 2019 but only knew that it was a virus. During the first national lockdown in March 2020, she became more worried about Covid and the number of deaths. Jaswinder felt scared to go out into public places, and sad that she had been cut off from seeing her relatives. In July 2021, Jaswinder’s daughter tested positive, and soon the rest of the family also came down with symptoms.  
                                                                                  
Jaswinder was worried about her daughter’s breathing so she slept in the same room until her daughter recovered two days later. Jaswinder, her husband, and their son developed symptoms a few days later. Both Jaswinder and her husband felt short of breath, and needed to sit down after standing for more than a few minutes.
 
When Jaswinder’s husband’s condition got worse, she called 111 at 11am, but didn’t get a call back from a doctor until 1:30 the next morning. Jaswinder woke her husband up but he refused to talk to the doctor and felt fed up. Jaswinder also felt bothered by the NHS when she received calls from the NHS Test-an-Trace service at 6am, asking about the same things every day. She felt that the service wasn’t doing anything to help and, when she asked for help from the service, she was told to ask friends or family instead.
 
Jaswinder felt that the NHS isn’t to blame, but the government should be doing more to increase the number of doctors and take pressure off the service. She also felt that education has suffered during the pandemic, and that home-schooling has left big gaps. Jaswinder was also concerned about GCSE grades being decided by teachers, as racism may mean that some students get lower grades. She felt that racism has affected healthcare during the pandemic as well.
 
Jaswinder is wary of medicine given by doctors because she feels that natural remedies, like turmeric with milk or ginger with water, have fewer side effects. Despite having an autoimmune disorder, Jaswinder did not have the vaccine, as she was concerned about side effects and becoming more ill.  

 

 

Jaswinder did not expect that the virus would be very harmful but became fearful after lockdown.

Jaswinder did not expect that the virus would be very harmful but became fearful after lockdown.

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At that time we did not know much, and that it would become so massive. Everyone used to say that it is like normal flu virus, like many other such viruses, that has come. In the past well, many things came, came and went away. Like, at the start we took it lightly, right? And expected it would not be very harmful. It will come…We thought science is so advanced. It will do something or another and then it will go away. But then after March when lockdown started, people were going in high numbers You know, the deaths, then we got worried that this is just not like normal flu but there is something is wrong, somewhere.

 

Jaswinder’s husband works in a supermarket and avoided contact with his family in the evenings. This was hard for their son.

Jaswinder’s husband works in a supermarket and avoided contact with his family in the evenings. This was hard for their son.

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So did you have any fear for a specific family member? 

Yes, for husband, as he used to go for work every day. Costco was very busy, you must have seen, in the news, that up to two or three metres, four and five metres like there use to be two or three queues of people. People crowded in, shoving and pushing for their groceries.

My husband drives a forklift, does the stocking, everything…meeting people, “This is kept here, that is kept there”. So, don’t know, we just didn’t know. Young people also come there, as do old people. Poor things, who has what, who doesn’t have it, So he had, my husband had warned me strictly that, like at night, he’d leave work at ten, he’d come home at 10:15. “Before I arrive, you all go upstairs to bed” [laughs]. “Yes, don’t wait to meet me”. So he would unlock the house, go straight for a bath. He would put his work clothes in the washing machine. He would bathe carefully, and then come downstairs for dinner.

He also had that fear somewhere in the back of his head that “our kids are young, I come from outside”. Like my little one has a habit that he has to first hug his daddy. Wants to mess around with him, wrestle with him all that, and then tell him about his day at school, like “I did this, this happened today”all that kind of stuff. But then they weren’t allowed. They meet each other. They just met in the morning, that’s it [laughs].

 

 

Jaswinder told her recent contacts that she had Covid so that they could get tested.

Jaswinder told her recent contacts that she had Covid so that they could get tested.

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Everybody, in our family, everybody knew and the people whom we had met two to four days earlier. We asked them as well, that they should get tested. We said, “you’ve been identified as at risk from our (positive test)”. We didn’t want that somebody else should have a problem because of us, right? It’s not like it is something to hide, Tanvi [Researcher’s name]. So, we have this problem, and we cannot do anything about it, you know? So, what is the point of hiding it? If I have it, and I know these people were in contact with me. So then if I hide then those people. Something bad could happen to them, isn’t it? So, their health, before anything goes wrong. So, the better thing would be that everyone also gets tested. So, that if they are positive then they can get treated quickly.

 

Jaswinder was back to normal after ten days, with four ‘very bad’ days in the middle when she could hardly stand up.

Jaswinder was back to normal after ten days, with four ‘very bad’ days in the middle when she could hardly stand up.

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Our condition for four days was very bad. Like, for two days we had only cough and then it turned out to be Covid positive, so for the initial two to three days we had lot of weakness. 
 
Like, going to the bathroom, brushing teeth. We did not even have the strength for that. How many minutes does it take to brush? Two or three? But even through that we needed to sit down after returning we used to feel shortness of breath. 
 
So, the, having the strength to preparing our food was beyond possible. But even if somebody has given us ready cooked food, I did not have the strength to just warm the food in the kitchen to just be able to stand for two minutes. 
 
That’s how it was.
 
My daughter was mostly fine, maybe because she is quite young, children feel less impact anyway and we are in middle age now so that is why we it is because of that. 
 
It took me, took me, 10 days, to get back to normal, for instance, I went in kitchen, just made some tea in a pot, then I used to feel like, quick let me sit down on the sofa, after turning off the gas.
Back to a little rest and then back, I mean, it took 15-20 minutes to do everything.

 

 

Jaswinder was worried about her daughter and cared for her while she was sick despite infection risk.

Jaswinder was worried about her daughter and cared for her while she was sick despite infection risk.

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My husband said we will shift her to one room, and I looked after her, gave her food and water. But being a mother, somewhere in me I wanted, I wanted to be close to her. 
 
I heard people lose their breath with this people become ‘out of breath’ so and she is 14 years old right now. 
 
So, I insisted with my husband “No, please allow me to sleep in the same room. We’ll sleep at some distance from each other, right?”, And then, no then, my husband told me that I also have young child, he is, my boy is around eight or nine and my husband told me that, “no everyone else will also get infected, so better to take some precaution”.
 
So, we did that. She recovered in four days, five days later, Then after a gap of two days, my turn came (laughs). Then two days after me, my husband got it and other child also got infected. I mean the whole family got it.
 
My daughter had become a bit active, And she is young, so it did not affect her that much, she had temperature for two days, She had a headache but there wasn’t much flu or anything. She had a slight cough, but even that went away.
 
So, she took care of us, like she brought us offered us water, medicines to the bed, bless her the food would come from outside, with the help of friends, that is how it went along, for 22 days.

 

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