Who Survives COVID-19 and Who Doesn’t?

By Rosa Martinez

Guantanamo street scene. Photo: Reynaldo La O.

HAVANA TIMES – The global crisis unleashed by COVID-19 has forced me to do something that I can’t stand and have criticized some young people in my neighborhood for doing: spending too much time on my phone and regularly connecting to the Internet.

I realize how useful the Internet can be in situations like the one the world is currently in, as it serves as a bridge so that people can remain connected and support one another via instant messaging. It can also be used to do different activities at home, such as all kinds of exercise, or research a subject, as well as pass time playing games online.

Like everyone else who has the means, I find myself forced to connect to the Internet quite a few times a day; my data package is flying away, but it’s worth it this time. I not only have to keep up-to-date with what’s going on, but I need to hear from the people I love who are in the middle of the crossfire: Amelia in Italy, Lis in Spain, Ale and Diana in the US, not to mention all of my former colleagues and friends, especially in Miami, this city that is linked to Cuba because of the many, many residents of Cuban origin.

Today, I spent a few minutes of my expensive Internet, between quarantine and studying, with an old neighbor who emigrated to Belgium nearly a decade ago, who I am regularly in touch with, as she lost her husband a year ago, and solitude has been hard for her. Ever since then, I have tried to support her with our sporadic conversations, filling her in about the neighborhood, the neighbors and some mutual friends of ours.

After remembering some stories and laughing a little on Messenger, we got back to the subject of the hour: COVID-19.

I begged her to stay at home, it doesn’t matter how bored or very lonely she is. I explained, once again, that this disease can’t be seen, that is to say, it can be on a stair rail, on a supermarket door handle, on a glass window, and that the person who least suspects it, might actually be infected and spreading the deadly virus all around, without even knowing.

When leaving, I insisted once again for her to take care, as there are already 16,000 cases in her country of residence and over 1,100 people dead.

Her response to my excessive concern got me to thinking: “Rosi, I’m a very good person, God won’t do that to me.”

What? I couldn’t believe her words. Well… I quickly said, we’ll speak a little later, OK?

Was everyone who died because of COVID-19 a bad person? I asked myself terrified. Do only bad people catch it? Is this God’s way of freeing us of the world’s greatest sinners?

No, no, of course not, I told myself and I carried on reading things in this vast ocean of knowledge that is the Internet, but this time about anything else other than a virus.


Rosa Martínez

Rosa Martinez: I am another Havana Times contributing writer, university professor and mother of two beautiful and spoiled girls, who are my greatest joy. My favorite passions are reading and to write and thanks to HT I’ve been able to satisfy the second. I hope my posts contribute towards a more inclusive and more just Cuba. I hope that someday I can show my face along with each of my posts, without the fear that they will call me a traitor, because I’m not one.

3 thoughts on “Who Survives COVID-19 and Who Doesn’t?

  • Ay, de las estupideces de Trump, yo mejor no digo nada, porque sinceramente lo q da es náusea q un ser humano de esa índole esté al frente de país alguno, mucho menos del supuesto gran imperio del planeta.

  • Leaving religious beliefs aside, though those beliefs certainly provide sustenance and comfort to some, the answer to your article title: “Who Survives COVID-19 and Who Doesn’t?” lies in the availability of medical equipment so desperately needed throughout the world.

    Medical supplies such as ventilators, masks, sanitizers all are in very short supply and without them, unfortunately and extremely heart wrenching, doctors in hospitals must make life and death decisions which they normally would not have to do at such a grand scale.

    Italy is an example. Doctors in overwhelmed hospitals inundated with COVID-19 cases with a very limited of life sustaining ventilators have had to decide who gets one – and lives – and who doesn’t – death decided.

    These doctors, and one can extrapolate worldwide doctors, in many other countries must choose to give a ventilator to a virus infected thirty year old mother with two children at home or to the eighty year old grandmother from a nursing home. Morally and ethically an excruciating decision but a decision that has to be made numerous times.

    Recently (April 03/’20), Donald Trump with his slogan about putting America first has directed, with American legislation, for all American companies, such as 3M which makes a multitude of necessary masks, to only supply them to Americans. Canadian and German politicians expecting a shipment are extremely incensed. The 3M company for moral and ethical reasons refuses to do Trump’s bidding but the company is governed by the now introduced American law.

    So, from a macro global perspective the answer to your question may be – Americans. According to Trump’s pathological, irresponsible thinking closing the borders and decreeing nationalism in this time of world pandemic crisis when we should all be helping each other, as Cuba has demonstrated, is quite frankly inhumane.

  • I’m so sorry you and your country is going through this terrible situation with Covid-19. Por favor cuidate.

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