How being slightly sick has changed because of the pandemic

You now need to think twice before sneezing in public.

By Aliya Zuberi

KARACHI: There was once a time that the most daring thing you could do would be to scream something that sounded remotely Arabic on a plane but now things have changed. As of late, the most daring thing you can do is sneeze or let out an innocent cough in public and then just watch as the world around you dissolves into chaos. As we’re entering into the second year of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re slowly coming to terms with the fact that life as we knew it has changed and being sick is no longer the same.

In learning to adapt to the new normal, we’ve forgotten a lot of basic things like the fact that people can get sick without having Covid-19. Here’s a comparison of what being sick was like pre-pandemic and what it is like now.

Remember the jokes we used to make about WebMD?

There was a time when it was a running joke that Googling our symptoms would convince us that we have less than 24 hours to live. But it used to be just that: a joke. But now with new variants of  coronavirus popping up, everything seems like a symptom. The smallest cough or sneeze has us Googling our symptoms and leads us to convince ourselves we have the virus and it’s the end for us.

No more desi totkas!

Getting sick in a desi household was torture. The smallest hint that you aren’t feeling well and your mom will come zooming in with a disgusting concoction of desi totkas that she will force you to drink. The more disgusting the concoction, the more healing powers it had. And while we did go through a phase of desi totka remedies for coronavirus like Sana Makhi that did very little other than serve as a laxative, as it should, now we can hide out in our rooms isolating ourselves from the desi totkas that haunt our dreams. We can elude our well meaning mothers by telling them to stay away from us for their own good.

Sick days actually exist

Remember the time your boss wouldn’t accept your excuse of being sick to skip work? You could be feeling and looking like a train ran you over but would still be expected to make it to work. But now, all you have to do is mention you aren’t feeling well and your boss will send you back home sooner than you can complete your sentence. Not that we’re complaining.


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Jokes aside, coronavirus is still a major threat and with cases rising rapidly it is better you don’t take being sick lightly at all. Remember to wear your masks, maintain social distancing and, if you don’t feel well, try to isolate yourself until you get tested.

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