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Coronavirus | Voices of resilience emerge as pandemic enters second year

In India, Brazil, South Africa and other places around the globe, people are helping others and reinventing themselves. Their voices and images can inspire, even though the future is as uncertain for them as it is for everyone else.

March 11, 2021 / 03:24 PM IST
One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has seen death, economic hardship and anxiety on an unprecedented scale. But it has also witnessed self-sacrifice, courage and perseverance. In India, Brazil, South Africa and other places around the globe, people are helping others and reinventing themselves. Their voices and images can inspire, even though the future is as uncertain for them as it is for everyone else. (Image: AP)
One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has seen death, economic hardship and anxiety on an unprecedented scale. But it has also witnessed self-sacrifice, courage and perseverance. In India, Brazil, South Africa and other places around the globe, people are helping others and reinventing themselves. Their voices and images can inspire, even though the future is as uncertain for them as it is for everyone else. (Image: AP)
THE VIOLINIST | Mauricio Vivet’s talent as a violinist had earned him a route out of a slum in Rio de Janeiro. After graduation, Vivet earned a living by playing at events and giving lessons. He moved out of the neighborhood and planned to open a music studio. COVID-19 put a stop to all that. Concerts, weddings and other events were canceled. Vivet, 27, now struggles just to pay for food. On a recent day, he carefully wrapped his violin in a red cloth, placed it inside a battered black suitcase and made his way to Ipanema Beach. There, he sat on a stone bench and played his violin, the sweet notes amplified by a speaker. Passersby stopped to listen. Some dropped money into the red cloth. “It is the only stage that I have, the only thing that they have not prohibited,” Vivet said. “It’s the only way I can make money.” (Image: AP)
THE VIOLINIST | Mauricio Vivet’s talent as a violinist had earned him a route out of a slum in Rio de Janeiro. After graduation, Vivet earned a living by playing at events and giving lessons. He moved out of the neighborhood and planned to open a music studio. COVID-19 put a stop to all that. Concerts, weddings and other events were canceled. Vivet, 27, now struggles just to pay for food. On a recent day, he carefully wrapped his violin in a red cloth, placed it inside a battered black suitcase and made his way to Ipanema Beach. There, he sat on a stone bench and played his violin, the sweet notes amplified by a speaker. Passersby stopped to listen. Some dropped money into the red cloth. “It is the only stage that I have, the only thing that they have not prohibited,” Vivet said. “It’s the only way I can make money.” (Image: AP)
THE BOXER | On a recent day, Melody “Mel” Popravak was in a boxing gym in New York City, her arms tattooed, her hands wrapped in yellow tape. Three years ago, she started boxing and was a finalist in two national tournaments. After the shutdown, she trained in a friend’s garage. “I’m determined not to give up and to continue to move on to be a professional boxer,” the 35-year-old said. She has also started an online personal training company where she gives tips on staying in shape. (Image: AP)
THE BOXER | On a recent day, Melody “Mel” Popravak was in a boxing gym in New York City, her arms tattooed, her hands wrapped in yellow tape. Three years ago, she started boxing and was a finalist in two national tournaments. After the shutdown, she trained in a friend’s garage. “I’m determined not to give up and to continue to move on to be a professional boxer,” the 35-year-old said. She has also started an online personal training company where she gives tips on staying in shape. (Image: AP)
THE BURIAL WORKER | Yehuda Erlich, a worker with Israel’s official Jewish burial society, remembers the first signs that coronavirus had arrived: empty streets and deathly silence. Then a surge of deaths overwhelmed his morgue, with bodies placed in the corridor. “I really hope we are nearing the end,” Erlich said of the pandemic. (Image: AP)
THE BURIAL WORKER | Yehuda Erlich, a worker with Israel’s official Jewish burial society, remembers the first signs that coronavirus had arrived: empty streets and deathly silence. Then a surge of deaths overwhelmed his morgue, with bodies placed in the corridor. “I really hope we are nearing the end,” Erlich said of the pandemic. (Image: AP)
THE STRICKEN DOCTOR | Near the beginning of the pandemic, Gabriella Formenti, a doctor from the village of Tavernola Bergamasca in northern Italy, started feeling exhausted and had a high fever. Hit by the virus, she wound up intubated in an intensive care unit. Eventually she woke up but could move only her head, having lost muscle mass. Today, Formenti undergoes rehabilitation and is often out of breath and weak. Forced by her condition to retire, she greatly misses her patients. (Image: AP)
THE STRICKEN DOCTOR | Near the beginning of the pandemic, Gabriella Formenti, a doctor from the village of Tavernola Bergamasca in northern Italy, started feeling exhausted and had a high fever. Hit by the virus, she wound up intubated in an intensive care unit. Eventually she woke up but could move only her head, having lost muscle mass. Today, Formenti undergoes rehabilitation and is often out of breath and weak. Forced by her condition to retire, she greatly misses her patients. (Image: AP)
THE ACTRESS | Shikha Malhotra is a Bollywood actress whose Instagram feed highlights her film and TV projects. During the pandemic, they have also featured her as a nurse. It is a real-life role that Malhotra, who has a nursing degree, has taken on while volunteering at a crowded Mumbai hospital. After working in a COVID-19 ward for months, she became infected, spent a month alone in the hospital recovering, then suffered a stroke that paralyzed the right side of her body. (Image: AP)
THE ACTRESS | Shikha Malhotra is a Bollywood actress whose Instagram feed highlights her film and TV projects. During the pandemic, they have also featured her as a nurse. It is a real-life role that Malhotra, who has a nursing degree, has taken on while volunteering at a crowded Mumbai hospital. After working in a COVID-19 ward for months, she became infected, spent a month alone in the hospital recovering, then suffered a stroke that paralyzed the right side of her body. (Image: AP)
THE CENTENARIAN | At 101, Boris Novikov is one of the oldest survivors of COVID-19 in Russia. A decorated World War II veteran, Novikov was hospitalized with oxygen support. Now recovered, he celebrated his birthday last week at a senior care center near Moscow, where he lives with his wife, Yelena, 93. Novikov told a visitor he feels “excellent.” (Image: AP)
THE CENTENARIAN | At 101, Boris Novikov is one of the oldest survivors of COVID-19 in Russia. A decorated World War II veteran, Novikov was hospitalised with oxygen support. Now recovered, he celebrated his birthday last week at a senior care center near Moscow, where he lives with his wife, Yelena, 93. Novikov told a visitor he feels “excellent.” (Image: AP)
THE VACCINATOR | Dr. Anil Mehta has been going with his small team of physicians and nurses to homeless centers in London to offer free COVID-19 vaccinations. The team has vaccinated hundreds of people. “It makes sense to focus energy on groups that are underrepresented and those most reluctant to go to their doctors,” he said. Mehta is driven by a desire to help everyone get back to normal as quickly as possible. (Image: AP)
THE VACCINATOR | Dr Anil Mehta has been going with his small team of physicians and nurses to homeless centers in London to offer free COVID-19 vaccinations. The team has vaccinated hundreds of people. “It makes sense to focus energy on groups that are underrepresented and those most reluctant to go to their doctors,” he said. Mehta is driven by a desire to help everyone get back to normal as quickly as possible. (Image: AP)
THE TOUR GUIDE | Shi Jinjie, a tour guide in Beijing, saw a 90 percent drop in business last year because of the pandemic. But he is confident domestic tourism will make a comeback very soon. Already, a few customers are trickling in. He showed them around a park featuring centuries-old pavilions. “Is Jingshan beautiful?” he asked them. As he took their photo, they responded: “Beautiful!” (Image: AP)
THE TOUR GUIDE | Shi Jinjie, a tour guide in Beijing, saw a 90 percent drop in business last year because of the pandemic. But he is confident domestic tourism will make a comeback very soon. Already, a few customers are trickling in. He showed them around a park featuring centuries-old pavilions. “Is Jingshan beautiful?” he asked them. As he took their photo, they responded: “Beautiful!” (Image: AP)
THE RESEARCHER | Sandile Cele was pursuing a doctorate at the University of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa when the pandemic hit, creating an obvious research topic. He made a splash when he figured out how to grow the South African variant of the coronavirus in the laboratory. That enabled the lab to test it and discover that people previously infected with COVID-19 don’t produce antibodies against the mutant version, which has spread to numerous countries. (Image: AP)
THE RESEARCHER | Sandile Cele was pursuing a doctorate at the University of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa when the pandemic hit, creating an obvious research topic. He made a splash when he figured out how to grow the South African variant of the coronavirus in the laboratory. That enabled the lab to test it and discover that people previously infected with COVID-19 don’t produce antibodies against the mutant version, which has spread to numerous countries. (Image: AP)
THE BLAST VICTIM | On August 4, Angelique Sabounjian was at a coffee shop in Beirut when a thunderous explosion at a warehouse containing a chemical commonly used as fertilizer rocked the city, blowing out windows and cutting Sabounjian's face. She bled profusely. On that day, she also became infected with the coronavirus. “Catching corona and being in that isolation really helped me realize I was crying all day, every day, and I think I needed that,” she said. “I needed to have that release in some way.” (Image: AP)
THE BLAST VICTIM | On August 4, Angelique Sabounjian was at a coffee shop in Beirut when a thunderous explosion at a warehouse containing a chemical commonly used as fertilizer rocked the city, blowing out windows and cutting Sabounjian's face. She bled profusely. On that day, she also became infected with the coronavirus. “Catching corona and being in that isolation really helped me realize I was crying all day, every day, and I think I needed that,” she said. “I needed to have that release in some way.” (Image: AP)
THE SURVIVOR | Cynthia Archambault, of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, lost her brother Daniel Remillard and her father, Ronald Remillard, to COVID-19 within an hour of each other. “It’s left a really big gaping hole in all of our hearts,” she said. (Image: AP)
THE SURVIVOR | Cynthia Archambault, of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, lost her brother Daniel Remillard and her father, Ronald Remillard, to COVID-19 within an hour of each other. “It’s left a really big gaping hole in all of our hearts,” she said. (Image: AP)
THE SOLDIER | In a front-line trench, the soldier in eastern Ukraine faces two enemies: the Russian-backed separatist rebels and the coronavirus that threatens to infiltrate the ranks. “We are used to living with dangers,” said the soldier, who asked to be identified only by his call sign, Kram. “The pandemic has become another stress for me.” (Image: AP)
THE SOLDIER | In a front-line trench, the soldier in eastern Ukraine faces two enemies: the Russian-backed separatist rebels and the coronavirus that threatens to infiltrate the ranks. “We are used to living with dangers,” said the soldier, who asked to be identified only by his call sign, Kram. “The pandemic has become another stress for me.” (Image: AP)
Associated Press
first published: Mar 11, 2021 03:24 pm

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