Not everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 dies.
But the people who survive sometimes fail to make the headlines.
Since April, we have checked in with two COVID-19 survivors.
Rep. David Bowen, 33, of the Rufus King neighborhood; and Rebecca Quesada, a 65-year-old ESL support teacher from the Jackson Park neighborhood, continue to share their journeys since testing positive.
What have you been up to since we last checked in?
‘I’ve been marching despite the virus’
David Bowen: “I’ve been marching as part of the movement for racial equity after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others. I’ve been marching despite the virus, and I took that decision because people were already concerned about the health of their communities before COVID-19.
“If you already feel like your life is at risk from a system that isn’t giving justice to Black people that are going through these situations with law enforcement, you already feel like you’re living in a pandemic. It’s important for folks to keep that perspective in mind.”
‘I have continued to volunteer’
Rebecca Quesada: “A lot of people have called me to ask if I was OK after the story came out. Apparently, they didn’t know I had it!”
“Other than that, I have continued to volunteer with Generations Against Bullying, or GAB, which is a worldwide anti-bullying information group. I have been putting together an anti-bullying informational packet for the Girls Scouts to create an anti-bullying course. The Scouts will get a badge for going through the course from GAB.”
What are your thoughts on the push to reopen the city and state?
‘We could’ve obliterated the virus’
Bowen: “I hate to say, ‘I told you so,’ but if we were smart, we would’ve shut down the entire country early. Not only that, but we would’ve provided adequate stimulus and support for people to stay in their homes, especially people in service sector jobs or other jobs that carry a high risk of getting the virus. We could’ve obliterated the virus if we supported people like this, and we wouldn’t be in the situation we are now. To me that’s just common sense.”
‘I wouldn’t wish it on anyone’
Quesada: “I see both sides of the coin. I know as well as anyone how dangerous this virus can be, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But I also feel for the business owners because this is putting them out of business. Even ones who have been here for 30 to 40 years.”
“What I don’t understand is people running around without masks or without social distancing. I don’t think they understand that they can be a carrier even if they don’t feel sick.”
What message do you want everyone to hear about the virus?
‘People are just seeing how bad it is now’
Bowen: “COVID-19 and the recent marches are similar in that it took George Floyd’s death from a cop suffocating him with his knee to see how bad police brutality is, and it took COVID-19 for people to see that not enough is done for the health of Black families. The severity was already there, people are just seeing how bad it is now.”
‘This virus is going to make us or break us’
Quesada: “This virus had total control of my body and who I was as a person when I had it, and I think the restrictions the virus has put on this great nation are similar. I think that this virus is going to make us or break us as a nation. Let’s take this seriously for what it is.”
In case you missed it: What’s it like to test positive for the coronavirus? We talk to three residents to find out.