During this time as we all are experiencing the outbreak of COVID-19, it is imperative that we come together as a community to mitigate the further spread of this virus. This pandemic has had a drastic effect on my community. People rushed out to get household items, stores ran out of stock, events got cancelled, schools closed, people were still called into work, and businesses closed early just to name a few.
Overall, we felt let down by our government, overwhelmed, and unprepared. Reports show that the coronavirus arrived December 31st, 2019. The government didn’t act in urgency until cases tripled in numbers and people were dying. This worldwide news trickled down to the public and put us all in a panicked state. I believe the actions that are being put into place now should have been implemented when the information was given, and many lives could have been saved.
COVID-19 is an airborne disease that transmits from person to person and can live on surfaces for about 3 hours. The virus can spread through droplets of an infected cough, sneeze, droplets of saliva, and runny nose. There are people demonstrating the symptoms but not getting tested because of a shortage of tests and treatments all together. People with respiratory issues are more susceptible to getting the virus as well as older adults and children. There are currently almost 6,000 COVID-19 cases in Illinois.
I would like to give a special recognition to the people who are at the forefront of this pandemic: the health care providers, postal workers, janitors, transporters, truck drivers, fire fighters, officers, grocery store clerks, and everyone who gets up every day to make our lives as normal as possible. You are the strength that holds us together — thank you!
Many employees can’t afford to call off work or have to physically be at their workplace in order to get paid. I believe everyone who is out working during this time deserves hazard pay. Not only are they risking their health to help others, they are emotionally dealing with this tragedy as well.
To gain control of the virus, all citizens are ordered to quarantine until April 7th, 2020 because the virus is spreading rapidly. We are wearing personal protective equipment, not gathering in groups larger than 10, and understanding that this is not to be taken lightly. I hope this all comes to an end and we continue to live our daily lives as we know it.
I advise other young adults to protect themselves and others and take precaution. During this time of “being still,” we can practice mindfulness, learn something about ourselves, pick up a hobby, exercise, read, play games, help out a loved one, enjoy family, and never take life for granted. How we handle this shows our trajectory as a nation. Please take this quarantine time seriously.
Marissa Epps is a member of Young Invincibles’ Young Advocates Program.