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Strained Ties



I’m currently in the Bay area, near San Francisco. I was born and raised here, but I normally work as a doctor in Hong Kong. I lived through SARS in 2003, so at first I thought the Coronavirus was a little bit like that, but this whole experience has been really crazy. When people ask me, “from a scale of one to ten, how scared are you?”, I can’t even answer that question, because it’s still so surreal to me.

My mom is in her late 70s, and I go to her house half of the time that I’ve been here. To be quite honest, my mom and my step-dad don’t follow the rules of hygiene demanded by this pandemic. When they go outside to buy groceries, instead of wearing a pair of gloves, they only wear one glove, which defeats the purpose of even wearing gloves. They don’t sanitize their hands properly. They’re getting tired of listening to the news.

My parents truly don’t understand how deadly this virus is. I have to constantly monitor them to make sure they’re not going out of the house too often. I’m scared to death for them, because I really can’t live without my mom. I need her to be around. She’s been living in this country since 1957, and she knows how to run our family business. Without her, all of that falls apart.

I don’t live in the city, I live in the suburbs. When I go to Costco, people have to line up and stand six feet apart, and they only let a select number of people enter at a time. Everybody rushes to the toilet paper section! I’ve witnessed people yelling at one another if someone cuts the line, and people have just become more rude in general.

To make things worse, the people living around my area aren’t wearing masks either. To be completely honest, on average, I see more asians wearing masks than white people. I’ve found that in my experience, some white people will even think that you have the virus if you’re asian and you're also wearing a mask. Some of them will assume that you’re sick. This ignorance is dangerous.

Social distancing is taking a toll on my emotional well-being. I realize that the weight of this pandemic will strain my relationships if I let it, and finally getting a chance to talk about it is cathartic. I think that now, more than ever, we have to keep an open mind, take care of our loved ones by educating ourselves on the severity of this virus, and be willing to make sacrifices to fight against this common enemy. I believe that we can grow from this. I believe in humanity.


—Thomas



Written by: Natasha Leong

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