Faces of COVID

Anika A – Registered Nurse

This is Anika. She is a registered nurse in Toronto.

“I still remember the day we heard about the first COVID case in Canada. They announced the news at work and I immediately started making plans to move out to protect my family. It was terrifying. I started carrying around spray bottles filled with sanitizer everywhere and subconsciously held my breath as I passed by unfamiliar faces. This past year has been challenging in every way possible and I’ll never forget all the people that we’ve lost.

A lot has changed since this all started. I started a new position in the emergency department and went from seeing a handful of COVID patients to seeing them all the time. Some of those old fears have come up again with the variants of concern, but we still have a better understanding of COVID and know what we’re dealing with compared to last year.

But the fear is always there. One of my family members was recently exposed to someone who tested positive.

It was like every fear I ever had has been realized to a greater extent than I ever wanted to experience.

As we continue to navigate the pandemic, the importance of some principles have really been magnified. Things like relying on each other and building a community of support are key, especially now that we’ve been in this for more than a year. We now know how meaningful it is to check in on others or say hi to people that you run into because it might be their only normal interaction that day. I hope that we always remember how necessary that kindness is, even when we are no longer in a pandemic.”

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Rishi Bansal


Rishi Bansal is a medical student at McMaster University, co-founder of the storytelling initiative Faces of COVID, and a deputy editor at Healthy Debate. He is interested in health systems leadership, advocacy, and innovation.

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