When the COVID-19 outbreak began In the Philippines, 41-year-old anesthesiologist Manuel Sotelo III knew he risked catching the virus, but he kept working anyway.
To safeguard his wife and his two-year-old daughter, he had to live apart from them. He called them as often as he could.
As he feared, he got infected. Although he didn't show any of the dreadful symptoms, death was constantly on his mind and he struggled with isolation in an apartment. At one point while on quarantine, Sotelo recorded a farewell video for his daughter and wife.
"My greatest fear was not seeing nor being able to hold my daughter again," he said.
After learning that he was finally free of the virus, Sotelo waited for days, then met his daughter in a tearful reunion. He donated plasma to help save a COVID-19 patient as an act of thanksgiving.
After the life-threatening experience, Sotelo had no qualms about courting danger again amid a lack of Philippine health personnel fighting infections. He donned layers of protective suits and a face mask and is back at work helping patients.