'Not a death sentence': COVID-19 brings family closer after 2 infected with virus


Posted at Apr 15 2020 03:19 PM

Jannah Basman, 27, donates her blood for COVID-19 patients. Photo by Dr. Jasper Aquino and Dr. Pedrito Tagayuna of the Philippine General Hospital

MANILA - Two COVID-19 patients in a family in Metro Manila made the household's bond stronger after overcoming the respiratory illness plaguing millions worldwide.

On March 13, Ann Basman, 57, told her daughter Talia that she had a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius for only an hour, her other child Anna recounted in a Facebook post. Talia's husband, a doctor, insisted that she immediately get tested for the virus. 

Ann, despite having no travel history and contact with a COVID-19 patient, tested positive for the virus on March 16 and was identified as patient (PH) 150.

"A positive result for COVID-19 is not automatically a death sentence. In our case, it has only brought our family even closer as we set out to fight the virus together," Anna said.

After Ann got the virus, the entire household was tested, with her daughter Jannah, 27, later turning out to be PH484.

The mother was admitted to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) for 10 days as she fought the illness, while Jannah was placed under self-quarantine as she was asymptompatic, Anna said.

"Because we had two 'patients' at home, we had to devise our own system. Their food were brought to their rooms and the utensils they used were exclusively theirs. No one from our house came out even to purchase necessities," she said.

Anna said her brother Tani would bring groceries and that the household regularly disinfected common areas even if the patients were not allowed out of their rooms.

"To keep our spirits up, we also had nightly video chats to check on everybody, including our brothers and sisters who lived in separate homes," she said.

"We are aware of and are always thankful for the privilege of having the space and resources to institute these measures that helped us through the ordeal."


On Tuesday, a month after their COVID-19 journey began, Anna said Jannah donated her blood plasma as a possible cure for those suffering from the disease.

"She is donor number 8 in PGH (Philippine General Hospital). Alhamdulillah, she is not bothered by needles and injections. She can only donate every 14 days but says she is willing to donate as often as possible," she said.

"There is nothing to be ashamed about being a COVID-19 positive. In fact, people who’ve beaten the disease now have the antibodies to protect themselves and help those who badly need it."

She added that their family's journey has not ended after her sister and mother tested negative for the virus for the second time on April 2 and March 23, respectively.

"As with the majority of the populace, most of us in the family have not been exposed to the virus and are therefore still susceptible. But with reasonable precautions and lots and lots of prayers, in shaa Allah, we’ll get through this and come out stronger as a unit," she said.