Adriana Midori Takara was just 38 when she died from COVID-19 this week. She was only a year older than I am and had no underlying health conditions. Her first COVID test was negative and then a few days later, when she was tested again, it was positive. Ten days later, she was dead.
Last Saturday, protesters were walking past Royal Prince Alfred Hospital – where Adriana was dying – chanting “freedom”. Little did they know that as they were punching police horses and shouting from the rooftops, NSW would lose yet another young person to the deadly Delta variant only hours later.
On the other side of Sydney, in the early hours of Saturday evening, I was also at a hospital. It was just after 2am. Dressed in my PJs and anxious as hell, there I was walking into the emergency department of my local hospital with my three-year-old son in my arms. His temperature was 40 degrees and he had what looked like hives all over his body.
Fast-forward 12 hours in hospital, multiple tests, IV drip and a sleepless night, they cleared him of COVID but were still not 100 per cent certain about his condition. Doctors suspected a nasty viral infection may have been the cause.
My seven-year-old daughter and I are self-isolating at home having done yet another drive-through COVID test.
Adriana was the eighth person in NSW to die after contracting COVID-19 during the latest outbreak. Her family was forced to say their goodbyes via Zoom. Her loved ones couldn’t visit her as she was dying but thousands of protesters were walking outside her room only hours earlier. I just can’t fathom the absurdity of it all.
Do people not realise that the Delta variant of COVID-19 is not only far more transmissible than its predecessors but it appears to be more lethal to people of all ages?
I am sick of hearing arguments defending the rights of the protesters to protest at a time like this. Freedom is a double-edged sword. It’s not absolute.
Your right to swing your arm in the air stops where that arm has the potential to strike my face. You have a right to walk wherever you like but that right does not extend to walking over me. Your right to willingly put yourself at risk of COVID-19 doesn’t trump my right to remain protected from it.
The best way we can achieve freedom at this time is to stay home, seek medical advice and get vaccinated. Rest in peace, Adriana Midori Takara.
Mariam Veiszadeh is a lawyer and diversity practitioner.