EMILY CAPOUYA WRITES – Everyday, I hear the same thing: “ Coronavirus is getting worse,” or “Are you practicing social distancing?” From the White House to local government, people have been mandated to stay home and self quarantine.
Every day I ask myself if it is worth it. I am healthy and young. I am in a low- risk group. Would I rather just carry on and risk getting the flu or the coronavirus to avoid disrupting my routine?
Every day, I feel scared and guilty. Early communications regarding the virus led me to believe that quarantining was about protecting just oneself. I had already invited people to my home who had traveled to New York City. So I had not been taking the quarantine seriously.
Every day, I reflect on how I was not worried and not careful with whom I was in close contact. I was still hanging out with my regular group of friends. Because we are all low risk, we had nothing to worry about-that’s what was in my head. Then I began to realize that I might have even played a role in the spread of this virus. I immediately changed the way I was staying close to my social circle.
Moving forward, I understand that staying inside is a health precaution for the sake of the less healthy and uninsured. According to the Center for Disease Control, “We should prepare, not because we may feel personally at risk, but so that we can help lessen the risk for everyone. We should prepare not because we are facing a doomsday scenario out of our control, but because we can alter every aspect of this risk we face as a society.” And so, everyday, for the past few weeks, I have seen just my roommates.
Yes, I understand now that I underestimated the severity of this pandemic and the importance of my role in slowing it down. I am lucky enough to be healthy, to have a healthy family and to be able to practice social distancing with my best friends. But there are tens of thousands of people not only in the US but around the world who do not have those luxuries, and for them I know I must continue to do my part to lower the curve for all.