At the end of ten days in a coma, Miguel Velandia woke up, intubated, in a hospital in Bogota. He almost died to have believed, like many young people, that the new coronavirus does not kill the old.
At 31 years old, he felt invulnerable. Leading a healthy lifestyle, are not suffering from”no disease” and being “very meticulous about the cleanliness”.
It has, however, been contaminated, apparently in the market, without a mask. It remained a month between life and death, the public hospital El Tunal, in the south of the colombian capital.
This bookkeeper is in the age group (20/39 years), which has the most cases of Covid-19 in Colombia, about 45% of a total of more than 97,000, of which more than 3,300 people dead, according to official statistics.
With 30% of the cases, Bogotá is the epicenter.
In this capital city of eight million people, 14% of the 146 patients in intensive care were between 20 and 39 years. But this rate would actually be much higher because of the probable cases are three times more likely than confirmed.
And although their mortality rate is low (5%) compared with people aged 60 to 99 years (nearly 73%), more and more young people are hospitalized in the intensive care unit (ICU).
The occupancy rate of the ICU in Bogota is constantly rising and is already more than 73%. In several of them, are young people like Miguel, when they should in theory count of the patients judged most vulnerable because of their age or ailments and pre-existing.
“I haven’t been paying attention, but it is the youth who falls ill”, he says in his modest room where he remained isolated for ten days after his release from the hospital on June 15.
Since then, the analyses showed that it was free of the virus. Remain the after-effects. Crutches are leaning against his bed.
Miguel suffers from a disorder of the foot drop, which prevents him from lifting the lower-left end. The doctors did not know if “the foot has lost the memory” of the virus and whether he will be able to walk again normally.
When he was in induced coma, the psychologist did listen to this son unique messages of affection to his loved ones. It was known that after his alarm clock. And then, the doctors have diagnosed a new problem respiratory. He had to drain one lung. He still remembers the pain.
“This disease has delayed all my projects… or has ruined,” says this young man, who, prior to the pandemic, had left his job at an optician to work in independent.
John Parra, head of the ICU where Miguel had arrived, breathing with difficulty, seeing more of the “people of age productive” connected to a respirator since the containment of the population, decreed 100 days, is relaxed.
“There is nothing safe with this disease and we find that more young people get sick because they are the ones that come out the most,” emphasizes the doctor of 38 years.
His first patient died of the virus has been a colleague of 33 years, to a specialist without a “no history” medical. “It has been admitted during my guard and I told him that all would be well (…) He has been fighting twelve days.”
Doctors and experts have denounced the message conveyed to young people at the beginning of the pandemic, when the government has imposed a very strict containment of the more than 70 years, extended until the end of August. And, although the cases and deaths continue to grow, more and more activities began to take to revive the economy.
“The more adults who remained at home, took their precautions. And what did the young people? They are out, are more exposed and now we can see the effects,” says Fernanda Castañeda, 30 years old, head of the nurses of the ICU of El Tunal.
So far, the return to the containment general does not seem feasible. “The young people have decided to go out, they no longer fear catching it. It is a global phenomenon and irreversible”, tweeted the ex-minister of Health, Alejandro Gaviria.
In the noise of the machines in the ICU, the nurse fight against the anguish: “the last one who died was 38 years old. This has been very affected”. In front of the hospital, of families to send messages or videos to their loved ones in a coma.