As COVID-19 spreads around the world, updates are being shared online. Social media users are posting about their experiences about dealing with their local healthcare system and other issues that have risen, like shortage of household supplies, due to the pandemic.
Here are some personal accounts of people from different parts of the world, as shared online, regarding the deadly coronavirus.
A tweet from a user supposedly from Italy about how the disease was taken lightly when first few cases surfaced went viral online. Tweep @labisbeticah wrote: “Here in northern #Italy we made one big mistake. Everybody kept saying ‘It's just flu’ and now our intensive care units are collapsing. Everybody kept going outside like nothing happened and now our grandparents and parents are dying.”
Her post was retweeted at least 50,000 times. Many people agreed with her and shared their own experiences. User @geri_zak wrote: “That’s what I keep telling my husband. He keeps saying ‘it’s the flu’ and I keep asking ‘when’s the last time entire countries closed for the flu?’”
Elsewhere, a video of an Italian elderly man circulated online. In the clip shared on Twitter, the man is heard complaining about pasta shelves being empty in supermarkets because of people stocking up as the whole country is on lockdown.
“What’s happening? There was not this much panic when World War II started,” the frustrated man said.
Tweep @gerwigsbitch reacted to the video and wrote: “The fact that this older gentleman was alive during World War II and says people are acting crazier over the coronavirus says something about our society today.”
In the US, people took to social media to share their experiences dealing with the healthcare system.
In a Facebook post shared on March 7, Maggie McDow, a D.C. resident, said that the D.C. Department of Health overruled an emergency room doctor treating her at George Washington University Hospital, preventing her from being tested for the virus.
At first, all the emergency hotlines McDow called deemed her ‘low risk’ despite disclosing that she had multiple symptoms of the virus and had visited Thailand and South Korea recently. McDow also believes that she was in contact with someone who possibly had coronavirus.
McDow ended her lengthy post by writing: “Do I have COVID-19? Who knows? Do we have a broken public healthcare system that is utterly failing during a health pandemic? Absolutely.”
Two days later, McDow assured people that she was tested for COVID-19 and the results were negative.
She also stated that a health official in the US spoke to her about the issues people are facing when trying to get tested.
“The Department of Health reached out to me yesterday to apologise for the way my case was handled and has assured me that going forward others won’t experience the same difficulties,” she wrote.
A resident of Seattle, shared how she contracted the novel coronavirus, recovered from it but had difficulties of being tested at first.
In a Facebook post, Elizabeth Schneider tried to clear misconceptions about how one can get the deadly virus. She wrote that people have been advised to wash their hands and stay away from people who have the symptoms. However, she said that is not the case as she contracted the virus “when attending a small house party at which no one was coughing, sneezing or otherwise displaying any symptoms of illness”.
Within three days of attending the party, she said, many people were sick, showing symptoms like fever.
“I had a fever that spiked the first night to 103 degrees and eventually came down to 100 and then low grade 99.5. Only a very few of us had a mild itchy cough. Very few had chest tightness or other respiratory symptoms," she wrote in her post.
Like McDow, Schneider said that the main issue was that without reporting a cough or trouble breathing many of them were refused testing at first.
In Australia, people are panic buying household supplies, especially toilet paper.
Pictures of empty supermarket shelves were shared online and people are saying that because of some people who bought large quantities, others suffered due to low supplies.
One Twitter user, CartwheelPrint, wrote: “The toilet paper crisis has shown a side of Australia that I’ve never seen before, selfish people, with no thought for others in the communities that they’ve ransacked. What are other people meant to use, rags? This is a reflection of what Australia’s become. #coronavirus #auspol”
Whereas, user @RitaPanahi shared how businesses are taking steps to manage the issue: “Supermarkets in Australia now restricting how many packs of toilet paper each person can buy thanks to coronavirus survivalists panic buying. Stop it!”
Video of Australians fighting over toilet paper have also gone viral.