GMA News pillar and veteran journalist Howie Severino shares his personal experience as a COVID-19 survivor in a special documentary of I-Witness airing this Saturday (April 18) after Tadhana.
As someone who is physically active and in good health, Howie, who also serves as GMA Network’s Safety Officer, thought he would be the last person to contract the coronavirus. He was wrong.
After a fever of seven days, Howie discovered he had pneumonia. Days later, he would test positive for COVID-19 and became Patient 2828.
In the hospital, Howie met a nurse who was interested in documentaries. Howie urged him to document his life as a frontliner. Being a patient, Howie also became a subject of this documentation.
“I taught him how to shoot and he began to document his life as a frontliner, which eventually became a documentation of his patient,” shares Howie in an article he penned after he was discharged from the hospital. “This apprenticeship was a great diversion, kept my mind active while giving me a blessed sense that even lying there in isolation I was getting something done.”
“Ako si Patient 2828” is the product of this collaboration, the inside story of the pandemic’s front lines inside isolation in a COVID hospital. The documentary shows the tests done on Patient 2828, describes the agony of the unknown, and then the joy of finally being able to go home.
Meanwhile, Howie talks to another COVID survivor, actress Iza Calzado. The two of them now belong to an exclusive club of survivors who must decide how best to help other patients and educate the public about this terrifying disease.
Howie is now waiting for doctor’s clearance so that he can donate his blood and help those who are still battling the virus to recover like he did.
“It will be impossible to pay back all the frontliners who helped save our lives, but this is a way to pay it forward. It is a small price for all survivors to pay to see the sun again. As a journalist of three decades, I have never been in a position to directly save lives. As a victim of this virus, I can save lives by simply lying down while doctors and nurses extract my blood,” he said in another written article on GMA News Online.
Video by Gabriel Lazaro and Howie Severino, “Ako si Patient 2828” airs on GMA-7 this Saturday, 4:05 pm after Tadhana on GMA 7. Viewers abroad may also catch it via GMA Pinoy TV. For the program guide, visit www.gmapinoytv.com.