I wish I were a junior.
That way, if we do miss school after break is over, there’s not the danger of missing prom, graduation, and oh, I don’t know, your last few weeks of high school ever? Because I am that one sentimental person in the senior class who feels sad about leaving high school. If that was/is you, too, let’s be friends.
As everybody knows, the coronavirus has spread to St. Louis. A girl returning from Italy tested positive, and then her younger sister attended school and went to a dance as well.
When I initially heard about the story, all I can recall feeling at first was anger, and then resentment. Sure, none of them knew about the diagnoses at first, but it is common sense to self-quarantine yourself and your family if you know you’ve just come back from a region so hard hit from the virus. It is highly contagious, after all. The fact that the younger sister of this woman attended a dance just adds a cherry on top. I understand that with the level of contagiousness of this virus, St. Louis likely would’ve gotten infected sooner or later, but I think this family took one of the biggest wrong turns possible.
St. Louis has declared a state of emergency. So far that hasn’t included the closing of schools, and I suppose Spring Break helps the case a little by not containing all of us in a single building, but I fear schools in the region will begin to shut down soon, especially after people start coming back from Spring Break. Are some of you still going on vacation? And to where? I have a friend who has a scheduled cruise in Mexico, and the last time I checked she wasn’t planning on cancelling. Trump already imposed that 30-day travel ban to Europe (minus the UK, somehow, even though they have over 700 cases), right? Does that mean nobody from the US can fly there anymore, at all? If not… I honestly don’t know why you’d go to Europe for a vacation at a time like this, but if you do, I wish you the best and hopefully you don’t get quarantined coming back~!
All around the nation college students are having to leave their dorms. It sounds crazy. Just over a month ago I remember reading on the news that the coronavirus isn’t a threat to the people of the United States at this time, so there’s no need to panic. Now, one just needs to visit Google to find out how their state and others are faring. (Probably not well.)
The last day of school, March 12th, felt like a blur. It felt unreal, like it was the tipping point before the entire world erupted into chaos. Being in school with all my peers felt… normal, and comfortable, despite some bumps. It was a regular school day. And then I went home, Spring Break started, and my happiness faded away.
At lunch two days ago I spotted a lovely classmate of mine wearing a full-body white hazmat suit. Yes, it covered every inch of his body, including his face. I instantly didn’t like what I saw. Was he trying to make a joke? Was he being serious? Was he a germaphobe? WHO KNOWS (though I’m willing to bet on the first option). Needless to say, I wasn’t amused. People like that are simply spreading the panic faster. Reminding people that their lives are now dominated by this virus when in reality, it shouldn’t be.
Another… darling classmate I saw in the hall was wearing a face mask. Once again, I didn’t feel good. Wearing face masks are useless unless you’re sick.
Neither of the students mentioned above were Asian. When I do see an Asian wearing a face mask, here, in St. Louis, I feel like it’s my duty to tell them off. Give them a scolding and say that they shouldn’t be spreading the stigma around Asians and making people think that we all have the virus.
Everybody is spreading something around these days…
When people are freaked out, they are willing to believe just any information they come across. People in Romania have recently been sharing a message from a doctor from a nonexistent school in China saying that lemons kill the virus. THIS IS NOT TRUE, and neither are many other claims made by people online. Please do thorough research and do not believe just anything you come across.
My mindset about this coronavirus has gradually shifted over these last two months. At first, I didn’t think I would be affected by the racism it would inevitably encourage, and I treated it almost as a joke. I thought it was amusing to walk into a store and have people look at me like I was dangerous- like a “I’m Asian, I have the coronavirus! I’m so scary!” kind of thing. Now, slowly I realize it’s catching up to me. I no longer find it funny, whatever I found funny before. I went out alone for a bike ride along the road yesterday, and the entire time I had half a mind to think somebody would yell out their open window a racist remark. Now I’m on guard and constantly feel defensive, like I have to protect myself from any possible discrimination I might face. Friends of mine have been complaining of insults and hurtful remarks thrown their way, but the thing is, they don’t do anything back. They don’t defend themselves, and instead just say, “I’m sorry.” I haven’t experienced any discrimination lately, but I almost wish I did, so I could teach some people a lesson. It’s like I’m itching for a confrontation just so I can say things my friends are too scared to say. People should understand that Asians didn’t all automatically get a software upgrade the second the virus erupted in China… and yet reports of acts of violence and prejudice against Asians have sprang up around the US and overseas, and it’s scary. It’s scary to think that I could get yelled at, or beaten up for looking the way I am. If a virus sprang up in the United States, would everybody go around punching others? People would probably gang up on those from the state the virus emerged from, I suppose… but it’s not likely. There would be no hard blame, “Damn those people of California for starting this sickness! They’re all so dirty, don’t go near anyone from that state!” It would be so hard to blame anybody if a sickness started up in the US, because we all look different. With this coronavirus, an Asian is an Asian, and spotting one on the road is enough reason to heckle them, I guess.
As of right now, Italy is the second most infected country after China. Are people now going to discriminate against Italians, too? I don’t think so. And before people defend themselves saying, “Well, the country of origin…” it doesn’t matter the country of origin anymore. Countless countries are now infected, and while China undoubtedly played a major role in the spreading of the sickness, blaming every single Asian person in the world makes no sense. Blaming everybody in China makes no sense, either. If people want so desperately to point fingers at somebody, blame the Chinese government, not the Chinese people. They quashed claims of the emerging virus back in December and thus didn’t spread enough awareness fast enough. Now nobody really trusts their word. Recently China has claimed that the worst of the virus is over. But I don’t trust that completely. Nobody does.
I try not to think about the consequences this virus might have for China. By now everybody should know that the country messed up, and we messed up… really bad. I’ve always been more protective of China than I have of the US. I will jump quicker to defend my mother country than my birth country, and I will more likely refer to China and I as “us”. With this new incident, my loyalties are divided. I don’t know how I should feel towards China anymore, or how I feel about people from the US harboring newfound hate toward China. Will other nations even want to support us, anymore? Either the world will rally to combat this virus together, or they will blame China for the deaths of their citizens.
The coronavirus is probably going to be talked about decades from now, “remember that pandemic back in 2020…” It’ll go down in history books! But, like those who went through other historic catastrophes, it’s no fun for the people actually living through it. Heads high, everyone! We can do it.