I am a student living in Connecticut. Although the Coronavirus hasn’t existed in the United States as long as it has in other places, my family felt a surge of panic very, very early on because we have a lot of family in mainland China.
From January, we were beginning to get the news from our family; how they were struggling to get masks, how their hometowns were going on lockdown, and how they were only able to leave the house for an hour a day. Every time my grandparents needed to leave their apartment they had to have their temperature taken and sign out with a government official. At the time, such an environment seemed so alien and foreign. Everything in Connecticut was normal, I would go to school, see my friends, and be able to drive and hangout wherever I wanted. But my parents sensed the tension and panic from their relatives in China and even in January and February they started practicing social distancing. We stopped going to church every Friday night and my parents even voiced their concerns about me attending large school events. Now that Coronavirus has really hit Connecticut, their level of panic and cautiousness has only increased.
For example, when my family receives packages or mail, my dad will leave them outside for least forty eight hours and even after that, he’ll spray them all down with lysol and disinfectant. I know it’s for cautionary purposes, but it really has affected my life. I had to order a book for my English class on very short notice and it came last Saturday, but because of my parent’s anxiousness regarding Coronavirus, they didn't let me open the package or bring it into the house until four days later. So things like that affect my learning and education. We also order all of our groceries online so we don’t have to come into contact with anybody but we’ve had to outsource a lot. Before, we would buy food from maybe one or two main supermarkets, but now we have to reach out to five or six just to see what stock they have or if they even deliver. This is a hardship that we had never experienced before, I’ve only just realized that because we don’t live in a big city, there aren’t supermarkets located at almost every block. My town is very suburban and so we really only have a couple main spots to get food and they are also very far away from each other. That’s something we’ve had to adjust and deal with.
I’ve also seen how the panic that arises from Coronavirus can seep into family dynamics and affect interpersonal relationships within the household. I would say that my dad is probably the most paranoid about taking extreme measures. There will be times when my mom wants to go outside and buy things and my dad will disagree and they’ll get into an argument. Another time, I accidentally touched the mailbox and my dad went ballistic on me, so it’s little things like that which make me realize the amount of stress that can stem from these situations.
However, we are learning to acclimate. Although this is not an ideal situation, we understand that safety and health comes first. Everyone is affected by this disease in some way and it’s important that we take the necessary measures to keep ourselves and others out of harm. A little goes a long way, so I am happy that my family is treating this seriously and not endangering other people by taking the situation lightly.
Written by: Debi Chakrabortti