πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Life in the Epicenter

New York City, New York, USA:

I live in New York City, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. From one day to the next, everything changed. In a city where streets are lively during a blizzard, stores closed, schools shut down, buses and trains now run intermittently, and the streets became barren. The city that never sleeps, is in a slumber. Honestly, it’s terrifying. My generation has never experienced anything like this.

The first few days no one took it seriously. When the initial case of coronavirus was confirmed, NYC went on as if nothing happened. The trains were still packed, people were still going out and nobody was fazed. Slowly, I saw more and more people wearing masks and gradually trains became emptier and so did the streets. All of a sudden, there was a panic. Hand sanitizer became a luxury and people were quarreling over toilet paper. The lines for Whole Foods extended around the block and pasta was limited to two boxes per customer.

On March 15th, 2020, Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced the closing of all NYC schools. Highschoolers like me are currently remote learning using Zoom. As someone who has been homeschooled for months, not much has changed. Most of my schooling already consists of online classes, however, the few classes I have in person have all been discontinued until further notice. My SAT exams that I’ve been studying for for months were also cancelled. The virus has put my life on indefinite hold.

For the past few weeks, I’ve had almost no contact with people outside of my family. The contagious nature of the virus makes it virtually impossible to leave the house without posing a threat to my health. With that said, I spent my 16th birthday in quarantine. While it was maddening, I enjoyed spending quality time with my family. New York City apartments are small and there isn’t much space. It’s hard to spend every single day in an apartment without going insane. However, being quarantined enabled me to do things I would have never had time for otherwise. Over the past few weeks, I’ve managed to read several books, commence a new math course, and begin learning a new language.

Life turned upside down in a matter of days. What I believed was merely another instance of hysteria affected the people I love. Thousands of people are dying and ever more are actively sick. Coronavirus will change the world forever.

Amalia D.

10 April 2020

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