by Aleah A….

COVID-19 has taken a lot from everyone globally. It has taken jobs, graduations, proms, vacations, but mostly lives. For a lot of people, we just think about how it has affected us, how it has ruined our personal plans. People want to go out and see their family and friends, get a haircut, go back to their gym. They think “Hey, the number of deaths a day are going down, we did our part. Time to get back to our lives”.

Yes, social distancing measures are working, but there is no cure for this virus or a vaccine. It still spreads very easily and is in almost every U.S. community. Expanding the amount of people you’re in contact with is just putting you and all the people you’re in contact in at high risk. It is not about you, it is not about me, it is about WE.

What if you’re a mother with a child with a compromised immune system, but you still had to work because you’re an essential worker, but your coworkers are not social distancing because they think this virus is “bullshit”, so you are inevitably exposed to the hundreds of people they have been seeing while not at work. You are worried about how you going to keep your daughter healthy, while still providing for your family.

That mother is mine and that daughter is me.

Living with an autoimmune disease during everyday life is stress inducing for me and I’m assuming my parents. But, during a pandemic? Yeah, that’s terrifying.

Living with it for the last 10 years, I’ve learned to cope. Knowing if someone in my family gets a cold, I am probably going to get that same cold but worse and for longer. I’ve already always carried hand sanitizer on me and kept my distance from people. For the last two years I’ve been getting an infusion treatment that is an immunosuppressant, similar to chemotherapy. My immune system is naturally attacking itself on its own, and this treatment makes my already weak immune system, weaker.

Seeing the news recently and how people are protesting for their states to open up makes me angry. It also makes me sad that some people haven’t been social distancing since the beginning. Do the immunocompromised lives matter less than yours? You wouldn’t know I am sick if you looked at me, and the same goes for a lot of people with illnesses. Do they care about the elderly population who helped make this country what we are today? Why does your life matter more? It could be your daughter or you grandma you are trying to protect.

Yes, the economy is failing. Yes, people are losing jobs. Yes, businesses are failing. We can rebuild the economy and we can create more jobs. We can rebuild and we will. We can’t bring back the dead. This pandemic will make us stronger. We are all in this together. Remember its not about you, or me, its about WE!!!

Aleah A. is a graduating senior majoring in Public Health at SUNY Albany.

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