Just like you, I am a regular person trying to comprehend the chaos of this whole CoronaVirus
pandemic. It is scary.
And this is future Sarah, reacting to this entry I wrote at the start of this pandemic in the U.S. Enjoy my commentary throughout this blog.
It’s sensationally indescribable to witness “textbook history” unfold in real life. This will be time
stamped in history; to be recalled and referred to by future generations to come. I haven’t had to
endure the hardships of life during a war; abroad or on the home front, massive civil reform or
any other severe health pandemic before. I was just a child during the terrorist attacks on the
World Trade Center on September 11, and during the recession of 2008. Fortunately, many of
us haven’t experienced such paralyzing chaos before. This pandemic will permanently affect the
way we engage and interact moving forward.
While the virus was in its early stages of contamination in the U.S., I was in Jamaica for a
wedding. I watched from what felt like the outside, as the narrations intensified within the United
States. There was consistent coverage of the virus on every news and media outlet in the
country, just like in the United States.
Man, I should have stayed in Jamaica.
I was watching from Jamaica as the President declared a national state of emergency in the
U.S. I, too, was updated on the increasing number of cases in North America, Europe and even
the Caribbean. I witnessed precautionary regulations being instituted in Jamaica as I packed up
my belongings to depart home.
Girl, stay there. Look at how much fun you had.
It did feel like Jamaica, in part, was taking partial direction from the United States. Once the U.S.
standardized its preventative social distancing measures, Jamaica re-evaluated its own
circumstance and reacted accordingly. This reminded me of how powerful the United States can
be. We are considered one of the wealthiest and most powerful nations on the planet, and the
way we respond to a crisis speaks volumes to the progress we can make in the future. I wish we
had better received the warnings from Italy weeks ago.
YOU HAD NO IDEA HOW POORLY THE U.S. WOULD REACT TO THE PANDEMIC. So young, so innocent, so naive.
I then began comparing the preparation tactics of Jamaica to the United States. My boyfriend and his family live in Jamaica. What would COVID-19 look like in Jamaica? Does Jamaica have the resources to control and treat this pandemic? Would I feel safer in Jamaica than the United States? I guess there really isn’t a right answer.
When it came time to return back to Massachusetts, I meticulously sanitized my airplane seat upon boarding and limited my contact with everyone. I was randomly searched upon my touchdown to the States. I wandered through the eerily empty airport during my connection, internally questioning the health of those passengers traveling with me. I usually love airports. I love the energy, and the course of travel. For the first time as a solo traveler, I was uneasy.
We can be as preventative as possible, and trust the medical professionals to do everything they can to cure this illness. In the end, we are all only human. Yes, China made a huge blunder in undermining the severity of the virus in the first place. Italy, Iran, the U.S., and lots of other countries may not have taken action quick enough.
We have man-made social constructs that the virus does not care about. It doesn’t care about our social events, socioeconomic status, age or pre-existing health concerns. As long as this virus forces us to self quarantine, many will fall victim to economic and industry collapses. I work within the tourism industry. The tourism industry, like several others, is very sensitive to all recent advisories. While I do not dispute their legitimacy and necessity, I, of course, worry.
I worry about being laid off. I assume there are greater concerns to being laid off at a more mature age, especially with a family and heftier expenses, but it’s still stressful to consider. I worry about businesses, big and small, requesting loans and stipends from the government just to stay afloat.
Hahahahahahaha, yes, you will be laid off. Boy, will you be laid off.
I worry about those misinformed few, or inconsiderate jerks who may choose to ignore all precautions, and threaten the health and safety of their community. I worry about the rising number of cases and deaths as many states approach their peaks. It’s giving me just as much anxiety as the thought of my mother and father getting sick.
Did anyone else have to educate their immigrant parents on basic sanitary practices? No? Just me?
We cannot forget the lives the virus has already claimed. They aren’t just a number. They are innocent siblings, parents, grandparents, neighbors, colleagues and friends. I remember watching a video of an Italian man sobbing over the loss of his sister, and the failure of the Italian government to respond to his pleas. I can’t imagine experiencing such agony.
I then begin to consider the ultimate, worse case scenarios.
Go ahead and worry.
What if we all end up on lockdown like Italy? What if this lasts for a year, or longer? What assistance would the government provide us? What if we allow politics to dominate science and we loosen our social distancing protocol too soon?
Will small businesses survive the next few months? Will we approach a recession by the end of the year? Will the current unemployment find work immediately following this pandemic? What if those citizens in developing countries struggle to maintain the spread because their medical facilities are not as well equipped to deal?
I try to ease my thoughts, reminding myself that literally everyone else is in the same boat. If we proceed appropriately through the advisory of the scientific and medical community, maybe this can end in a few months. Surely, I am not the only person who browses through hours of Instagram memes and videos to boost my spirits and ease my anxiety.
I want to believe I am getting overly worked up for nothing.
Trust me, you aren’t getting worked up for nothing. We have how many cases now in the U.S.?
I want to have faith in humanity.
I want to believe that in a few months, we will reflect on these times and express gratitude for our recovery. I just hope everyone else is as appreciative of all of the work the first responders, essential personnel and medical community is, and will do for us.
I hope we do not make the same mistakes again.
Oh, we will. I believe our president only now acknowledged the importance of face masks… Okay.
For now, we must take immediate action with all requests made by the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control.
Wash your hands and sanitize common spaces. It’s recommended that you wash your hands as frequently as possible, scrubbing for 20 seconds before rinsing.
Don’t leave your safe space unless it is absolutely necessary. Social distancing will flatten the curve, combating the rising number of younger, healthier people from infecting the older population with potential pre-existing health conditions.
Wear some sort of face mask should you need to leave your house for any reason. This is a great opportunity to support smaller businesses that are supporting their community through the production of face cloths! While they are in high demand right now, you can improvise with a scarf, or bandana and two elastic bands or shoe laces.
Take your vitamins, fuel yourself with nourishing foods and stay hydrated. I personally love Liquid IV to spice up a regular glass of water, and triple my hydration in the process.
Move your body and remain active. Complete a whole workout routine in your living room or go for a light walk. Exercise is ideal for keeping you fit and relieving stress!
We must support small, local businesses where we can. When deciding to order take out, or purchase some household essentials and groceries, opt for a smaller, local retailer.
Do not cancel your trips. Postpone for later on in the year or the next. Support tourism! Most companies and vendors will happily postpone without an additional charge given the current state of things.
Physically distance yourself from others, but stay in touch with your family and friends. Motivate each other to maintain your mental health. I have been reconnecting with friends of mine who live abroad through video calls as often as possible. I also have virtual dates with my boyfriend once a week. We prepare our own food and chat while we enjoy our dinner!
However humble, find ways to better yourself. Read some more books, download apps to exercise your brain or take some free online courses. I order discounted books from ThriftBooks.com. You can enroll in hundreds of free courses from several accredited universities, such as Coursera.com. I often challenge my friends to online versions of my favorite games, such as Scrabble and Monopoly.
Treat yourself. Pamper yourself with an at-home spa night. Impact Everything has quite a few bath and body products to experiment with, as well as candles to set the mood. Prepare an elaborate brunch or dinner for yourself. You can take an aesthetically pleasing Instagram photo with some bamboo utensils and metal straws, too!
Journal your experience. Practice makes perfect, and now is the best opportunity to strengthen your writing skills. Aside from that, releasing your thoughts on paper can be extremely therapeutic. Devoting some time to yourself in this way can quiet the noise so you can work through some subconscious anxieties, or focus on the topic at hand. We are living through an interesting part of history, and your written entries may also be important time capsules for others. The best part is that no one else can read your journals if you don’t want them to! It’s up to you.
Present-day Sarah here. It feels otherworldly to reread this entry considering the chaos that has ensued the past few months. This was written with the intention of being posted around March, but it feels more appropriate to reevaluate and share now. We were all experiencing bits of anxiety at the start of this quarantine because we were so uncertain. We still are.
If any of this resonated with you, I hope this assured you that you are not alone.
I just hope this will all end soon. I wish you all the best of luck. Thank you everyone for your vigilance.
We can do this.