The true story: Living with coronavirus, a tale from a Zimbabwean family in the UK


COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus. It is called corona because it is shaped like a crown. The bacteria causing the virus can not be seen by our naked eyes  This virus is not a joke. The world has been confused. The big super powers with all their inflated ego have failed to understand the virus. For the first time in our life time the world has been attacked by a very minute unseen virus. This virus knows no boundaries it does not respect any one. It attacks from the pope to the thief in prison from a president to the minister of health in England.

Mr Gadzikwa [not real name] is a resident of Corby in the Midlands of England. Corby is a beautiful town between Leicester and Northampton a very small but vibrant town. Mr Gadzikwa is a male nurse and has four children and a beautiful wife. One Sunday morning Mr Gadzikwa woke up with a high temperature he was feeling hot to touch on his chest or back. He did not need to measure his temperature to realise that he was having a very high temperature.

He struggles to sit up on his bed. He then started having a new, continuous cough he was coughing a lot for more than an hour. He had never felt such a cough before. His chest was burning from the cough he was having. If there is a person who is afraid of a sickness on earth is any one in a medical field.  Mr Gadzikwa reaches for some cough mixture and gulped some without even measuring the quantity.  He started feeling dizzy and felt his nose blocking. Initially he dismissed it as a cold.

He decided to pay his doctor a visit. He gathered himself and got in his car as he started the ignition he felt a heavy pressing force on his chest. He started struggling for a breath. He could not breath. He just put his head on the hooter and a loud continuous hooting pushed his wife off the bed. She rushed to the drive way only to see the husband slummed on the steering. She straight away called for help from her neighbours. The two neighbours from both sides rushed to the house and without any questions they helped each other to carry Mr Gadzikwa back in the house. The wife was in tears confused and not knowing what was happening. One of the neighbours called for an ambulance and within ten minutes the ambulance had arrived.

Mr Gadzikwa was rushed in the ambulance and he was put on oxygen to help him breath.  Within few minutes the ambulance was wailing Mr Gadzikwa to hospital.

Mrs Gadzikwa followed behind in another car. She had called a friend and arrange to meet for lunch at the hospital It’s unseasonably springlike, so they choose a place with outdoor seating, which seems like it should be safer. As usual, they took all reasonable precautions: They used hand sanitizer, sat a good distance from other customers, and try to avoid touching their face, though that last part is hard. A part of her suspects that this whole thing might be overblown. She never thought her husband could have been diagnosed with Corona Virus.

What she didn’t  know was that ten days ago, her husband was at a church board meeting where he caught the novel coronavirus from the elder of the church. Three days after that, he coughed into his hand before opening the door of his apartment to welcome his son home. The saliva of COVID-19 patients can harbor half a trillion virus particles per teaspoon, and a cough aerosolizes it into a diffuse mist. As the neighbour walked through the door he took a breath and 32,456 virus particles settled onto the lining of his mouth and throat. Oblivious of all this the doctors came out with the bad news. Gadzikwa was diagnosed of the Corona virus.

Viruses have been multiplying inside his body ever since. And as he talks, the passage of his breath over the moist lining of his upper throat creates tiny droplets of virus-laden mucus that waft invisibly into the air over tables. Some settle on the as-yet-uneaten food on the plate, some drift onto fingers, others are drawn into nasal sinus or settle into throats. By the time they extend their hands to shake good-bye, their bodies was carrying 43,654 virus particles. By the time they are done shaking hands, that number is up to 312,405.
The doctors told Mrs Gadzikwa that she cannot see he husband she has to go back home and exercise self quarantine.

As she drove back home in tears she remembers all those who have been in contact with his husband a very freezing chill ran down her spine. The whole street was infected. But the doctors told her not to reveal it to any one because it will cause panic.
She was told that there was no cure for the virus. It will either kill itself or it will kill you.

It was such a heavy moment to realise that the man you left in the hospital might not come back alive. Every second which ticked away was like a year. Any call which comes in made it difficult to pick. You will never know which calls will tell you the dreaded but the expected news.

She started thinking about herself, maybe One of the droplets got drawn into her branching passages of her lungs and settles on the warm, wet surface, depositing virus particles into the mucus coating the tissue. Each particle is round and very small; if you magnified a human hair so that it was as wide as a football field, the virus particle would be four inches across. The outer membrane of the virus consists of an oily layer embedded with jagged protein molecules called spike proteins. These stick out like the protrusions on a knobby ball chew toy. In the middle of the virus particle is a coiled strand of RNA, the virus’s genetic material. The payload.

As the virus drifts through the lung’s mucus, it bumps into one of the cells that line the surface. The cell is considerably larger than the virus; on the football-field scale, it’s 26 feet across. A billion years of evolution have equipped it to resist attackers. But it also has a vulnerability — a backdoor. Protruding from its surface is a chunk of protein called angiotensin converting enzyme 2, or ACE2 receptor. Normally, this molecule plays a role in modulating hormone activity within the body. Today, it’s going to serve as an anchor for the coronavirus.

As the spike protein bumps up against the surface of the lung cell, its shape matches that of the ACE2 so closely that it sticks to it like adhesive. The membrane of the virus then fuses with the membrane of the cell, spilling the RNA contents into the interior of the lung cell. The virus is in.  The virus is deadly.

As she gets into the house waiting for the dreaded call she was captured by a news heading saying a hundred people have died in England and still counting. The infection rate is so fast and heartbreaking. It is surely frustrating.

The viral RNA gets busy. The cell has its own genetic material, DNA, that produces copied fragments of itself in RNA form. These are continuously copied and sent into the main body of the cell, where they provide instructions for how to make the proteins that carry out all the functions of the cell. It’s like Santa’s workshop, where the elves, dutifully hammering out the toys on Santa’s instructions, are complexes of RNA and protein called ribosomes.

As soon as the viral RNA encounters a ribosome, that ribosome begins reading it and building viral proteins. These proteins then help the viral RNA to copy itself, and these copies then hijack more of the cell’s ribosomes. Other viral proteins block the cell from fighting back. Soon the cell’s normal business is completely overwhelmed by the demands of the viral RNA, as its energy and machinery are occupied with building the components of countless replica viruses.

As they are churned out, these components are transferred on a kind of cellular conveyor belt toward the surface of the cell. The virus membrane and spike proteins wrap around RNA strands, and a new particle is ready. These collect in internal bubbles, called vesicles, that move to the surface, burst open, and release new virus particles into your body by the tens and hundreds of thousands. Before you know it you are overcome by the virus.

Mrs Gadzikwa switched of the television in disgust. Then her phone burst into a ring. A voice from the other hand cracked through. It split her heart in two her face became so pale. She sat down with buckets of-sweat flowing down her face. She opened her mouth but nothing came out of her mouth. Her eyes turned red tears flooded out with such pressure. She clasped her head between her hands. She threw the phone away as if it has Corona.

Mr Gadzikwa has died. Worse still there will be no funeral. There will be no body viewing. There will be no closure to a life they had started together.

Another thought came who will tell the neighbours that they might be infected too. No cure for the affliction.
Corona virus is not only a myth. It is not only for the whites as some had speculated. It is for everybody. For now it has no cure. Life is like dew it is seen in the morning but melts into the abyss.

Meanwhile, to the neighbours spike proteins that haven’t been incorporated into new viruses embed themselves directly into the host cell’s membrane so that it latches onto the surface of an adjacent cell, like a pirate ship lashing itself to a helpless merchantman. The two cells then fuse, and a whole host of viral RNA swarms over into the new host cell.

All up and down their lungs, throat, and mouth, the scene is repeated over and over as cell after cell is penetrated and hijacked. Assuming the virus behaves like its relative, SARS, each generation of infection takes about a day and can multiply the virus a millionfold. The replicated viruses spill out into the mucus, invade the bloodstream, and pour through the digestive system.
Within a day the whole living street is turned into a funeral parade.

This virus is vicious and it is real. It kills and it spreads so fast. It is a virus which needs your cooperation. It needs your understanding. Very few have come back to share their stories. Some will never have a decent burial. Corona virus is rude stubborn and indeed dangerous.

Only God in heaven can stop this. We do not know when he will stop it. But for now let’s stay safe. This virus is real
Our thoughts goes to the Gadzikwa family and thousands world wide who have lost battles against this virus. It ugly head is seething through the peaceful hearts of the people. Only God can do something as for you please take this very serious and stay away from groupings. You and me have a part to play to defeat this virus.

The biggest problem is you don’t feel any of this. In fact, you still feel totally fine. If you have any complaint at all, it’s boredom. You’ve been a dutiful citizen, staying at home to practice social distancing, and after two days of bingeing on the Fast & Furious franchise, you decide that your mental health is at risk if you don’t get outside. But hey boredom does not kill but Corona kills. Please be safe. Self isolate.
Together we will defeat this virus. God bless you all.

Vazet2000@yahoo.co.uk

Source – Dr Masimba Mavaza