Students share stories of coronavirus

We have heard about the news of a deadly virus sweeping across China and other Asian countries. We know that the number of victims is increasing alarmingly. We see it in daily news and have heard about a few cases in Illinois. Nevertheless, our lives haven’t changed drastically. As stated in the Superintendent’s letter to community members, “IDPH does not recommend: the use of masks or gloves, cancelling mass gatherings, or canceling classes.” Most students continue throughout their day unaffected by this distant epidemic, while others monitor the situation. Not many are aware that there are VHHS students who have relatives—grandmothers, aunts, and cousins — whose lives have been turned upside down because of coronavirus. These students share a common feeling of worry and anxiety due to not being able to help their close ones across the ocean and a fear of losing them. A VHHS teacher has shared the stories of these students who have personal connections in Asian countries. TSP has chosen not to publish the names of the students or the teacher in order to protect their anonymity.

Isolated in their homes 

A VHHS student with family in Wuhan, a highly affected area in China, said that their family has not left their home for more than a month in an effort to avoid getting sick. They live across the street from a university where several people have died from coronavirus. The student feels very anxious due to the close proximity of the family to victims. The student reports that food and other basic necessities are being delivered to the home.

Being a Coronavirus victim

Another student has relatives who have caught the virus. According to a VHHS teacher, “their entire family was together for the Chinese New Year, and the entire family, with the exception of a toddler, was sick and hospitalized.” This is a very concerning event to the student and their parents. Before transportation was heavily restricted in China, the students’ parents wanted to go back and take care of the toddler, but the fear of not being admitted back into the U.S. kept them from doing so. As of now, the toddler is being taken care of by a neighbor.

Daily Coronavirus

A student shared that a friend had to clean a plane on which there was a passenger affected by coronavirus. The student’s teacher reported that, “They had to put on a hazmat suit and go in and clean the airplane.”

Coronavirus in Taiwan 

Taiwan is very closely connected to China through travel. A Taiwaneese student from VHHS reported that all schools in Taiwan have been closed until March in an effort to suppress the spread of disease though public environments. People are trying to avoid large public gatherings due to the high chance of catching the illness

Low mobility 

Overall, people in these countries are experiencing extremely low mobility. The travel ban in China heavily restricts people from taking trains, buses, or airplanes as stated by a VHHS teacher. In comparison, the teacher said, “Imagine what it would be like if the Federal government told the people of Chicago that they cannot leave.” According to the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air, CO2 emissions in China are 25% lower than they were the same time last year due to the decrease in transportation. Furthermore, imagine having no people, cars, or any form of movement on the streets. Pure emptiness. This would greatly interfere with education, work, and life in general.