WHEN nurse Elena Cañizares took to Twitter to tell her coronavirus story, she hadn’t planned on becoming a national sensation.
But overnight, the young health professional spawned thousands of memes and was soon booked on a digital press tour of national news programmes and chat shows.
Her original and since deleted tweet told the story of how her housemates tried to kick her out of their shared apartment after she tested positive for coronavirus.
It immediately went viral and garnered hundreds of thousands of likes, mostly from young Spaniards offering their support.
Elena published screenshots from the group Whatsapp conversation with her flatmates ‘Rocio Piso’ (Rocio flat) and ‘Angela Compañera’ (Angela flatmate), who both seemed to show a staggering lack of empathy for the young nurse’s news and became infuriated when she refused to break the law and go home to her parents – who are both elderly and with pre-existing conditions, making them at even more risk to coronavirus.
“You are being selfish,” one told her, “You have a car, so you can take your things and go to your parents’ house, so you don’t spread anything.”
The women also did not want Elena to use the kitchen or one of the two bathrooms, despite her vow to wear two masks and to disinfect afterwards.
The young nurse said all she would need is for one of them to heat up her food and leave it outside her bedroom door.
“We have our own lives, we don’t want to live in these conditions,” they said, “Your parents have a duty to take care of you, we don’t… we don’t have to endure this situation.
“You want to stay here at the cost of three other people… we have a university and a gym and you don’t think about that, just that you’re going to stay here because you don’t want to go home.”
Elena pointed out in her tweet that it would actually be illegal for her to go home as it would go against the Government’s coronavirus guidelines, which state that you must self-isolate at your current place of residence if you test positive for COVID-19.
Elena left the Whatsapp group and blocked her flatmates, before posting the ordeal on Twitter.
Within hours, hundreds of thousands of people showed their support as it became the most talked about story in Spain.
Elena, who has made almost a dozen media appearances since – unpaid – said she had to delete the tweets as her roommates and people with their names have been receiving threats online.
She has pleaded for people to ‘leave them in peace’ after they started being harassed on the street.
Companies such as sweet makers Fini Golosinas have begun sending care packages to the young nurse while others have offered to send her food. Elena has been re-sending some of her gifts to local food banks.