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Vigilance: A Message to America Regarding Covid-19

Raymond, 2020

Quarantine in America lasted around two months. Some places are locked in longer than that. The virus is everywhere and the world is still trying to find a way to recover from the chaos.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) started out as a sickness that felt thousands of miles away and could do no real damage. It won’t spread any farther, most people thought. No one is dying from it. Yet. Routing back to a seafood market in China in late 2019, the virus spread to a large group and made its way to the Diamond Princess Cruise, infecting over 800 passengers and crew members. As the ship was quarantined, the virus continued to spread through the country and rapidly reached all around the world.

This virus isn’t a normal strand of the flu; it causes advanced medical complications due to shortness of breath, fever, and coughing that could ultimately feed off of one’s body to the point of fatality. The virus attacks the bodies of people of very young or old age, or people with underlying medical conditions.

One of the main concerns is the extreme spread from people that are not concerned about contracting the virus. These people who are “young and healthy”, or not at risk” are carrying and spreading the virus without showing symptoms or illness.

As of May 22, 2020, according to Google News, over 97,000 people have died from the virus in America since the first case that was detected in February. Due to the abrupt spread, many countries have established quarantine or “stay at home” guidelines to decrease the growth of cases while scientists all over the world fight to discover a cure.

20 years old, female, no underlying health conditions

Location before quarantine: University of Winchester

Current location: Student home in Winchester, England

“At first I really didn’t blink an eyelid towards [the virus], I thought it would stay where it started and that we would be fine and still be able to attend uni and the other events surrounding it. Even when it started to move towards Europe, I was still in so much denial that it would really affect the UK. The media first portrayed it as another flu/cold so I seriously doubted just how severe it would become.

“Now, I am so much more cautious about it, I’ve never really been scared about it though, more annoyed if anything. Annoyed at the fact that a lot has been sacrificed but more so about the fact that people still tend to ignore that it is happening. But I would definitely say that I am taking it more seriously than I did back in January or February.

“Back in March, the day after my dance competition, I fell really ill within a matter of an hour. My fever was awful but the breathlessness was even worse. I couldn’t get a sentence out without having to pause in between to catch my breath... I had to get my housemate to make me food and bring me water... I had to self-isolate for 14 days.

“One of my distant elder relatives got it and unfortunately did not recover so like most other people, it hasn’t been a very pleasant time. I stayed in Winchester because I didn’t want to risk giving it to my mum or dad.”

While people are struggling to get tested due to extreme numbers of requests and limited tests, nurses and doctors are run into the ground from the large amounts of work they’re doing to help fight the virus. Many have bruises and cuts on their bodies due to the safety gear they are required to wear while taking care of patients.

Though, as everyone gathers together to recognize the workers on the front lines of the battle, the amount of support from citizens and locals has kept everyone strong.

Brenda Sanchez, 59 years old, female, no underlying medical conditions

Southern Nevada, United States

Registered Nurse at University Medical Center, Emergency Department

“Initially I feared COVID-19, wondering if the protective gear would keep me safe. During the peak of COVID-19 we experienced some severe cases... Some of my fellow staff contracted COVID-19, one resulting in death.

As of three days ago our cases have slowed down so much that we had to close our COVID-19 unit. Now looking back, I agree that COVID-19 is highly contagious... but we did not see the volume of people we anticipated. For example, UMC has a huge tent in the parking we never used. I believe that social distancing had to do with our low volume of cases. Throughout the quarantine my attitude remained the same, that this virus deserved the high level of vigilance we gave it.

“We lost my former employer, Roy Horn. My doctor of 31 years, and a close colleague. My worst fear during the chaos was the possibility of running low on staff and supplies, but that didn’t happen. Working during the pandemic is working with a high degree of uncertainty because protocols, medicines, and rules changed daily.

“Every morning we received a written report about the changes, we could not have a group report since we practiced social distancing between us. During the quarantine I received a great amount of support from my church. Calls, texts, prayer groups, bible studies became my source of strength. If anyone does not take Covid-19 seriously, just go on social media or the news and listen to personal accounts of people who have had it.”

Most university students, students studying abroad, or people on vacation nationally or internationally are being forced to go home within a short period of time, adding to the panic for people to get on planes before airlines and boarders close. Options are limited and people are fearful.

Louis, 19 years old, male, asthmatic

Location before quarantine: University of Winchester

Current location: Home in France

“Our president decided the 15 of March to start the lockdown of our country and I was supposed to go back on the 16 of March... My flight was cancelled and [thankfully] I found a last minute one and not too expensive.

“A friend of mine possibly got coronavirus but he wasn’t tested (the worst time of his life, he said) and during 3 weeks he was really bad. He’s a really good [cyclist]; he was supposed to be pro so that shows me that the virus could affect everyone and make them really bad.

“I think that quarantine is affecting everyone, and nobody has to take it [lightly] because people are dying 'cause of the virus. So I will just finish with this about America. When I see people going in the street to protest against quarantine, it’s their right but they need to understand that the virus isn’t a joke and it’s killing people.”

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