“This is going to blow over in a month, I thought, just like the flu comes around every winter.”
To the present,
There is no doubt this is an unfamiliar and terrible time. It is so easy to be negative about the deaths occurring every second, the sick who cannot be visited by loved ones, and the fact that the world is in a recession. Due to this urgent situation, we must all work together to put an end to this horrific phenomenon. Although staying away from each other is the best way to stop the virus we still must spread hope and positivity, even if it has to be six feet apart, during this hard time. This situation is more serious than I ever could have imagined just a couple of weeks ago, and I am sure many of you feel the same way. Living in a suburb of New York City, a major COVID-19 hotspot, multiple crucial precautions and rules have been set in place to prevent the spread of this pandemic. Through my life drastically changing in just days, I have learned how urgent this situation is becoming. Even though the virus may not be a major concern in your town, at the rate that COVID-19 is spreading, the disease will reach you soon. For instance, my dad works in Russia and just a couple of weeks ago he went to a soccer game in a stadium with around sixty-eight thousand people. My dad was cautious during this game, acknowledging the risks of his situation, yet his friends thought he was a fixated germaphobe since at the time there were very few cases in Russia. However now the entire country is on complete lockdown and anyone who goes out of their house who is not going to the grocery store or pharmacy gets arrested. This shows how quickly the situation can escalate, although it is slightly different in Russia since Putin can make extreme decisions more easily and quickly. The fact that the virus is extremely serious is paralleled in the US.
When I first learned about COVID-19, I did not think it was going to be a big deal. I heard that schools might be closed for about two weeks and was super excited to get to spend that time with my friends. When some of my family members, particularly my uncle, started to buy extra toilet paper and food in early February, I thought he was crazy. This is going to blow over in a month, I thought, just like the flu comes around every winter. But boy was I wrong. I never could have imagined going to online school every day and being deprived of my last trimester in middle school, let alone the seniors who will most likely not get the experience of graduating that, in some cases, they have waited fourteen years to do. Being in quarantine is unlike anything I have ever experienced. We have to stay inside all day except for the occasional outing during which masks are required. All of the public places like parks and school grounds are closed, except for necessary facilities like grocery stores and pharmacies. Even there, everyone is expected to wear masks and gloves; the aisles are one way so that no one passes by each other and the lines at the registers are marked with tape so that everyone stands away from each other. It truly feels like an altered reality that even our parents have not experienced. This is new ground for everyone and requires adaptation to this temporary new way of life until a vaccine is created, which scientists predict will not be for another eighteen months. Doctors, scientists, and first responders have been true heroes. They have risked their health for ours and are saving many lives without much recognition for it. However, they are very overworked and hospital resources are decreasing. Doctors have to make the heartbreaking decisions, like if a dwindling 80-year-old with lung conditions or a previously healthy 60-year-old with younger kids and grandkids should get the hospital’s last ventilator. Overall, life, as we knew and as you know, is completely altered, completely unfamiliar, and completely unpredictable.