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Jan 14, 2021

Living with COVID-19; the Psychological Effects

The psychological effects of the novel coronavirus are not limited to a victim, but can be experienced by an entire household and the population on a whole. Whether it has affected your income or your ability to socialize, COVID-19 indirectly and, for many, directly can affect with your mental health. News Five’s Duane Moody looks at the mental side effects of COVID-19.


Duane Moody, Reporting

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the world as even well-developed countries have had to introduce restrictive measures to citizens, and tourists alike, to manage its spread.  The stresses brought about by the novel coronavirus – including the economic inactivity, the inability to earn an income and not being able to provide for family as well as physical distancing from loved ones – weaken your mental health.


Alexander Tescum

Alexander Tescum, Former Employee, Tropic Air [File: May 21st, 2020]

“I was a cargo agent for twenty-seven years and I get wahn sudden letter yesterday.  Mein, it was devastating.  When ah tell yoh, yoh feel like yoh get stab eena yoh chest and ih mekyoh feel depressed mein.”


Selvyn Avila

Selvyn Avila, Floor Supervisor, Ocean Ferry [File: May 21st, 2020]

“This COVID-19 has come and really had an impact on all of our lives, on the economy, our families.”


…these are among the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic; it is non-discriminatory and affects children and adults.

As of January 13, The Belize has recording eleven thousand four hundred and nineteen confirmed cases so far and has a fatality rate of two point four-three, which translates to two hundred and seventy-eight deaths – the third highest in the Caribbean. A number of doctors have lost their battle with the virus and many more have been infected, which supports the clamour that frontline workers, who are arguably a most vulnerable group, are not impervious to the deadly disease.

Director of Health Services Doctor Marvin Manzanero is a survivor, after spending a week inside a COVID Intensive Care Unit at a private hospital. The once face of the national response to the virus speaks of his bout with COVID.


Marvin Manzanero

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Recovered COVID-19 Victim

“I have been for more than fourteen years a public servant and not once in those fourteen years have I called in sick. And even though this is my second bout in an ICU, because I had one in 2012, this time around it was different. And so now I am going into five weeks that I was diagnosed.  I have what I call yoyo days and within a day, you have yoyo moments and just like half an hour ago, just like all the energy is just sapped away from you – out of the blue; it’s not even doing physical activity. How you go from leading a response in terms of Ministry of Health, do policy development, keep on top of science and then you get COVID-19 is a difficult situation. And you know when I came home after being one week in a hospital, I think that is one of the reasons why I had this – and it comes at times as well – this immense guilt.”


Doctor Manzanero says that it is now about living with COVID-19 because in his experience, there is a physical, emotional, spiritual and mental toll that comes with it.  He speaks to a survival mode, which is known all too well by Ingrid Vega, who after almost two weeks on mechanical ventilation, is now at home recovering from the virus – but not without a constant supply of oxygen. Vega lost her husband to COVID, one day before she was intubated.


Ingrid Vega

Ingrid Vega, Recovered COVID-19 Victim [File: January11th, 2021]

“It was a big hit; I wasn’t even present at my husband’s funeral. My daughter would be the one telling me what happened at the funeral. I don’t even go on Facebook right now because I am not ready to see the funeral, to see the post of him because I am still dedicated on recovering. I know that grieving would delay my recovery.  It is going to be a while. It is a day-to-day, slowly, we are getting there.”


Since the advent of COVID-19, there has been an increase in persons, including men, accessing mental health services. Mental Health professional, Aimee Jex says there has been an effort to keep people engaged even during these stressful times.


Aimee Jex

Aimee Jex, President, Mental Health Association

“There have been a lot more people accessing services and you would be surprised that it is not just people who typically would access services with COVID, a lot more people are more open to recognizing their emotional needs. There is a lot of grief associated with COVID; it is not just anxiety – it is grieving who you are.  Mental needs are not just academic. Develop psychosocial needs definitely developmental needs. We do need that socialization, we do need that togetherness.”


The call is for all to be socially responsible. So while vaccines are now being administered in some countries, washing your hands, wearing face masks and practicing social distancing are among the routines that must be maintained as a norm. Reporting for News Five, I am Duane Moody.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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