Brodi Te Hira Ika of Ngāpuhi and her husband Maikolo Ika had their world turned upside down when Maikolo contracted Covid-19 in May this year.
The couple, who live in Sandy, Utah, with six of their nine children, found out Maikolo contracted the coronavirus from his relatives who had made contact with someone that had the virus.
“It was horrible, I could barely talk,” he says.
“It got to the point where I couldn't even speak to my wife anymore because she couldn't understand what I was saying - my vocal cords were tied in a knot.”
Brodi encouraged her husband to post a video on social media about his contracting of the virus.
Maikolo posted a video on social media of his experience with the virus. His target audience was primarily his fellow Polynesians, after reading an article about a young Tongan man who felt shameful because he contracted Covid-19.
I don't know why it would be shameful."
I think it would be ignorant of us to not get the help we need .... and get ourselves educated about this disease," he says.
Maikolo Ika shared this video on social media sometime after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Source / Facebook
Maikolo was diagnosed on May 15 and spent a total of 10 days isolated within his own home. Brodi explains: “Once we knew that Mike had contracted it, we had to sit down with all the kids and figure out what our best strategy was to make sure we don't transmit from within the home.
“We placed him on one side of the house to isolate him from everybody else. The only way we communicated was through Skype even though we were in the same house.
“We would feed him. I would use gloves and a mask to pass food through and use disposable goods so we didn’t have to transmit too much."
Ika whānau. Source / Supplied
As mandated by the state, Maikolo was allowed to leave his part of the house and reunite with his family while they all spent a further 14 days in self-isolation.
Maikolo says he feels a great responsibility to share as much information about Covid-19 as he can, especially amongst the vast Polynesian population within his community.
“Anyone can catch this disease, it doesn't matter who you are or where you're from. It has no boundaries, so let's be smart about it and let's share it, so people know. Stay home, wear a mask and keep your family safe.”