A confirmed COVID-19 patient dies alone in a trash pile…” When will the sorrowful chaos of leaving the world in utter loneliness come to an end?

The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the world for over two years, and the virus shows no signs of slowing down. Taiwan is no exception, and in the early stages of the pandemic, Taiwan adopted a “COVID-zero” policy. However, this strategy is no longer effective, and Taiwan is now moving towards coexisting with the virus, with most infected individuals staying at home for quarantine and care.


Unfortunately, this approach has also given rise to many “sad” situations, including cases of “lonely deaths,” which have been witnessed by a New Taipei City firefighter.

Liu Chia-Chuan stated that as the Omicron variant is currently prevalent in Taiwan with high transmissibility but relatively low fatality rate, the policy is for patients with mild symptoms to isolate and receive treatment at home to reduce the burden on the ambulance service. He revealed that during the most severe phase of the pandemic, their team would respond to up to 26 emergency calls in a day, and each call would take at least two hours to handle. Currently, the number of calls has reduced to around 18 per day, allowing first responders to take a breather.

During their ambulance service duties, Liu shared some of the situations they have encountered, including cases where people with positive rapid tests but no visible symptoms called for an ambulance, while those with severe symptoms and respiratory distress were afraid to go to the hospital. In such cases, paramedics had to persuade patients to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

“Seeing many patients with mild symptoms filling up hospitals, while some patients with severe symptoms, stroke, heart attack urgently needing medical treatment, are being excluded from medical resources.”

The most impressive and sad case for Liu Jiaquan was when a confirmed case who was isolating at home couldn’t be contacted for several days. After the village chief and neighbors reported a strange odor, the police were notified and broke into the house, only to find that the patient had already passed away. “This unfortunate person died alone in a smelly environment filled with garbage, and although the garbage was properly wrapped and disposed of according to regulations, it could only be piled up in the house for several days. The maggots had already crawled out of the garbage bags, and the house was filled with a putrid smell. The police couldn’t find any relevant contacts when trying to contact the patient’s family for arrangements,” Liu said with regret. “Thinking about this patient spending the last moments of their life alone in a smelly environment full of garbage, it’s truly a lonely death.” This sad experience deeply touched Liu.

During this epidemic, the number of confirmed cases in the country remains high, and policies are changing on a rolling basis. In addition to taking preventive measures, people should also think about how to coexist with the virus and learn to live with themselves in this special era. The period of home isolation allows people to spend the most time with themselves. Well-known writer Jiang Xun also shared his thoughts on the epidemic, “Hundreds of millions of people infected, more than six million deaths, is this a disaster or a lesson?”

Jiang Xun said, “Dying of the virus, leaving in complete loneliness, no matter how much luxury, art museums, concerts, or any kind of hustle and bustle, cannot change the fact of complete loneliness.” He also has many friends who were isolated due to being confirmed cases or contact tracing. He lamented, “Finally, you have to let go of everything and face the loneliness of being alone. Face yourself, and spend some quiet time together with yourself.”

The virus is around us, and we must take care of both our physical and mental health. “Slowly learn the happiness of being alone, the happiness of being with yourself, and the happiness of being lonely,” Jiang Xun said.

The original article is from Business Today (written by Weng Shen-Lin / photo source: Dazhi).

A confirmed COVID-19 patient dies alone in a trash pile…” When will the sorrowful chaos of leaving the world in utter loneliness come to an end?
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