A glamorous model has posted pictures of how her life changed from being a popular young socialite at VIP locations through to being branded a “contagious creature” and ostracised after being packed into a small ward surrounded by people in hazmat suits.
Ekaterina Mika said that when she first started to hear about the coronavirus, she had not treated it seriously. She said: “When the mass hysteria started because of the virus, I certainly wasn’t worried. In fact I even felt a bit annoyed that people were sensationalising everything.”
She said she was too busy with her work to pay much attention anyway and only started taking it more seriously when she had to mix with foreign visitors, and then came to the realisation that because she was living alone, if she became really sick, it would be difficult for her to take care of herself.
But she said despite wearing a mask she had started feeling ill on 16th March.
On the same day, all the staff at her firm started to work from home. She had a temperature, and when it worsened, her doctor called an ambulance that took almost six hours to arrive.
She was treated and sent home, and three days later she felt recovered and had a normal temperature, or so she thought.
Instead. she got the call to say that she was infected with the coronavirus.
She was taken by ambulance to the Sklifosovsky Research Institute the same day and at the time remembered feeling annoyed that she had not travelled anywhere recently, had taken precautions and had the bad luck of catching the disease.
Because the Kommunarka infectious diseases hospital, that had been dealing with other coronavirus patients, was full, she was taken to Sklifosovsky.
She said she had heard it was full of celebrity VIP patients and was reported to be packed with ‘elite’ patients suffering from coronavirus or its symptoms.
One patient in Kommunarka was the hospital’s head Dr Denis Protsenko, who caused a health scare after meeting and shaking hands with President Vladimir Putin and subsequently being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Ekaterina, whose age was not given, said: “By the time I got to the hospital I realised that I had lost my sense of smell” and also experienced for the first time the prejudice against people who are infected when she heard someone describe her as a “contagious creature”.
She learned that her office had called in a decontamination squad to sterilise everything. She said she felt as if she had the plague. Colleagues contacted her to check on symptoms, wanting to apply the same checks to themselves to see if they were infected.
In hospital people were packed with her in a tiny ward, she said, and it was far too hot in the room, but they were not allowed into the corridor or even to open the window. Food was a salt-free diet, and one girl with an enormously high temperature got medicine but nobody else did apart from extra oxygen.
She said: “The doctors seemed to think that our immune systems would work on their own. Thank God we were lucky.”
She was fortunate in quickly getting negative tests, and was allowed to go home under strict quarantine conditions after signing a waiver agreeing to penalties should she break quarantine.
Back home she faced hostility from neighbours, one even called the police to complain about her and she had to show her certificate of discharge to show that she was officially clear of the virus.
She said she had never felt so alone, saying: “I don’t have relatives in Moscow, my colleagues work remotely — I don’t communicate with anyone. I only spoke to the concierges in my building. They were glad to see me back, but they told me what a fuss that was after I was hospitalised.
“Honestly, I was very disappointed in people.”
She said she had lost friends, but at the same time new friends had appeared. And she added: “As for the doctors and medical staff, I admire their stamina during this difficult time.”
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