This transmission electron microscope image shows the coronavirus virus that causes COVID-19. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Chadwick High School

Column: An open letter to COVID-19

To the coronavirus:

I’ll be completely honest, when I first heard of your existence, I refused to take you seriously. It was in a news update email from Axios. I skimmed the email and threw it in the trash, not thinking about it for the rest of the day. That was until you couldn’t get out of my news feed, then I started to notice you.

However, I never thought you would reach me in California. You were just some disease on the other side of the globe. It was like hearing about a distant war you had no part in. Naive, I know. Now, it has been more than three months since I’ve gone to school, and my days are now spent in front of a screen. You must be having the time of your life.

Despite your massacre, I try to stay positive, but I’m starting to wonder if my coping mechanisms are doing any good at all. I haven’t kept up with the news that well for several weeks, in order to close my eyes to the rising death counts and idiotic anti-quarantine protestors. I have been obsessively checking my phone, worrying that no response on a text symbolizes the end of a friendship.

I also have less motivation to do my schoolwork, turning instead to mind-numbing applications on my electronic devices that tend to keep me up at night. I have become a stationary creature skipping from one distraction to another in order to avoid the truth: you exist, and you can kill me. Yes, I am aware that I am privileged compared to others during this pandemic.

I am not immunocompromised, I am young, and I am not an essential worker, nor have family members that are ones. However, there is still a possibility, if I venture outside without being careful, that I could get sick, which could possibly lead to my death.

I’m not going to pretend: I am scared of death, and I always have been. But recently this fear has been enforced by your global takeover, according to Worldometers. The death count for the virus in the United States is currently 86,912 and is likely to increase. The federal government was extremely unprepared for a crisis like this, and politicians make promises about ending stay-at-home orders that are impossible to uphold, as well as spreading misinformation.

“I feel like there should have been more medical personnel making communications from the government, as opposed to non-medical. What has resulted from communications from non-scientists is that people are getting bad information that puts them at risk,” said Dr. Mike Pangan.

He is a doctor on the front lines of the pandemic, who gave me a new perspective on how the healthcare system is currently suffering. As Dr. Pangan said, false information from the government has brought unintentional harm to those trying to avoid getting sick. I’ve lacked a solid faith in the United States government for a while now, but this only increases my concern. How can I feel safe when the government is hurting people?

So, COVID-19, I’m sure you must be proud of yourself. You’ve accomplished what every virus wants, to spread as far as possible, sickening as many hosts as possible. However, you’ve done more than infect people, you’ve infected the politics, daily lives, and the mindsets of everyone on the face of the earth. I don’t expect any remorse from you, after all, you’re just a sickness.

Maybe your arrival was simply destiny, caused by poor hygiene and an ineffective medical infrastructure. Maybe you were created as a form of divine justice for the countless crimes humans have committed to the earth and our fellow species. I guess it doesn’t matter, as long as you sicken and kill people. I still have enough faith in modern medicine, that I believe a vaccine will be created. Soon this global nightmare will be over. So I’ll let you enjoy your reign of terror before you inevitably fall. I hope you have fun while it lasts.

 

Sincerely,

Sofia Lake