Combatting COVID-19 firsthand

GBHS students recount their families’ experiences with the infamous coronavirus disease.


Mehar Rangi

The moment Mehar Rangi discovered that her father, and soon her entire family, had COVID-19 was very unexpected.

The words coronavirus and COVID-19 have consumed the globe’s vocabulary, no longer carrying the exotic, distant characteristics they once had.  Despite the familiarity that the world has developed towards the disease, contracting it first-hand is still a shocking experience to say the least.

Mehar Rangi, a senior at Granite Bay High School,  is among the 3,577—and increasingvictims of coronavirus in Placer County.

With both parents serving on the frontlines as doctors, they were expecting to encounter the virus sooner or later.  Rangi, however, was still surprised and held a rather humorous outlook upon hearing of her diagnosis.

“I started laughing,” Rangi said, “because all our lives changed, our entire world changed, we have to stay home from school, we have to be careful at grocery stores, we have to wear masks at all times, all because of this one virus that we do everything in our ability not to get, and then one day, your mom says ‘don’t come to the kitchen; your dad got diagnosed with corona.’

I had this reality check, and it was just funny because I felt like I was facing a fairytale, but (the virus) was in fact real.”

Because her parents are doctors, Rangi and her family felt fortunate as they were better equipped to deal with the disease as a result of their collective experience and knowledge.

Still, however, they inevitably struggled with the symptoms that come with corona for an extended period of time.

Jasbir Rangi, Rangi’s father who works as a doctor at Sutter Roseville Medical Center, had the most strenuous experience, likely carrying a higher viral load than the rest of his family.

“It was exhausting,” Rangi’s father said, “but I was expecting much worse.  I would sleep all day, wake up, eat a little bit, and go right back to sleep.  I had no breathing problems, just exhaustion.”

Rangi and her mother experienced flu-like symptoms such as body aches and coughing, but not as severe as the father’s.

Experiences with COVID vary according to different people, clearly.

A student at GBHS who wishes to remain anonymous had similar circumstances.  As her father works as a nurse, her family also suspects that they were exposed to the virus from the hospital.

“Personally, all I experienced was loss of taste,” she said, “which was an odd experience but I’m glad that it was my only symptom.”

For her other family members, they were not as fortunate.

“My other family members had stomach issues, colds, fevers, coughing, in addition to a loss of taste,” she said.  “Someone in my family had to go to the hospital due to respiratory issues that had worsened.  We all felt pretty drained, and we ended up losing some weight due to loss of appetite.”

Someone in my family had to go to the hospital due to respiratory issues that had worsened.  We all felt pretty drained, and we ended up losing some weight due to loss of appetite.

— Anonymous Student

The debilitating effects of the virus ultimately allowed her family to further recognize the importance of abiding by social distancing guidelines and adapting a proactive attitude towards coronavirus prevention.

“As for my family, even before we contracted it we were social distancing pretty well…but we are definitely more precautious (now),” she said.  “…My friends are as well.  To them, after hearing about how someone close to them contracted it, they have all been more socially distant and careful when they go outside.”

Towards people who willingly choose to ignore these safety precautions, Rangi has developed a quite passionate sense of disapproval.

“It’s when people say that it is our freedom, our body, and therefore our choice (to not wear masks), that I get pissed off,” Rangi said.  “People think that this is an isolated situation, but that’s just not the case. You could be asymptomatic and pass it on to other people without even knowing.  

I can’t understand how after everything we have been through there are still people who say that (coronavirus prevention guidelines) are somehow infringing on their rights.  That’s the dumbest thing I have ever heard.”

Jaiwant Rangi, Rangi’s mother, agreed, also observing the lack of attention people, more specifically teens, are paying towards staying safe.

“People need to just hunker down and follow the rules if they want this to pass,” Rangi’s mother said.  “The longer we’re throwing parties, ignoring the rules, arguing about masks, we are not going to get anywhere.”