By Monica Valdez Ramos
COVID-19, a virus that changed my life rapidly. Hearing “coronavirus” on repeat whenever I open social media, when I wake up hearing my mom tell me the new cases that are in my state, from news alerts and hearing my neighbors talk about it as well. This is the new normal. “Wash your hands for 20 seconds!”, “Don’t touch your face!”, “Keep six feet distance with other people!!” and “Stay home!!” The amount of times I’ve heard these phrases is unbearable.
When the first few cases of coronavirus started, I was not concerned at all. I thought that it was going to stay in China and not even touch North America. When it did reach the U.S and more information came out about who exactly the virus was deadly to (people who are of ages 60 and over, people with compromised immune systems, and people with other underlying health conditions) then I thought, “It’s not even going affect me, I can still go about my life” More cases started emerging all around the country rapidly and when Goucher canceled in-person classes for the rest of the semester, that’s when I finally woke up.
The confusion concerning the virus and including the panic that the media is inducing and brings up anxiety for me. And I’m not the only one. “It’s really draining seeing nothing else on the news and I know it’s important to gain information on this virus but at the same time it’s incredibly anxiety-inducing.”, my good friend Habab Ibrahim said this to me when I was asking her how she feels about coronavirus. On top of her feelings of anxiety, she also lives with high-risk parents, “I’m more concerned for their safety,” she notes.
In my house, I live with two people who are high-risk and since my siblings and I are low-risk, we’re the ones going out to get groceries. When any of us go out to do so and come back into the house we have to leave our shoes outside, not hug anyone when we come inside, wipe our phones with disinfectant wipes, put our masks in bags and wash our hands for 20 seconds. When we order something and it’s dropped off at our house, we have to wipe it down, wash our hands again and whatever the package came in we have to leave it outside.
I decided to have a group phone call with a few more of my friends, to see how they feel about everything happening. One of my friends, Kenya Alvarado, said this to me when I asked her, “It’s been hell, cause I’m one of the people at high risk with my health and it’s making me paranoid.” She suffers from Diabetes and also lives in a house where her loved ones could be severely affected. My other friend answered this when asked the same question, “…it still doesn’t feel real, [however] I’ve felt more productive.” While this quarantine has benefitted her in the sense of getting things done, she does face challenges in living with people whose health is high-risk. “I’m just nervous for how bad this all could potentially get.”
On March 31st, Governor Larry Hogan issued a stay at home order in hopes of reducing the spread of the virus. To sum this order up, you can only leave your house for essential errands (like doctor appointments, getting groceries, or going to work for example) and you can leave the house to take a walk, walk your pet(s), or exercise. My sister expressed how she had plans to spend her birthday in Miami, Florida in June but now she can’t anymore because of this lockdown potentially going through June, “I’m just upset, I’ve been looking forward to celebrating my 21st somewhere other than my house.” Recently I’ve just celebrated my brother’s birthday, we bought him a cake and had a lowkey celebration. He also told me he had other birthday plans to go to a concert with friends but was devastated when he realized he couldn’t, “I just miss my friends so much.”
Currently, there are about 27,117 cases in Maryland and 3,430 of those are in my county. In a Baltimore Sun article written by journalist Lillian Reed, scientists from the University of Washington have estimated that the total number of deaths in Maryland could increase to over 2,000 by August 4th. Maryland health officials have stated that our state is currently “reaching the peak.”