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https://www.youthvoices.live/category/habits-of-mind/taking-responsible-risks/

COVID-19 Around the World: Buenos Aires, Argentina

The pandemic has been present in our lives since the CDC reported the first case in the United States a year ago. A lot of people were really misinformed about this virus, I heard several times people making fun of COVID-19 because they didn’t know what consequences it would bring to our normal routine in the future. When I first heard about the virus, I thought people were exaggerating it because it was unreal for me to believe in it. In addition, I also remember joking with my friends about this virus, like a lot of people did, I didn’t take it seriously at first. Then when I started watching the news and realizing that people were dying because of this, I felt scared and overwhelmed but not for me, I felt that way for my parents because I remembered that they spend the whole day working outside the home and they are constantly exposing themselves to everything. I remember thinking of me wearing the prom dress that I bought because even though I knew that this virus was something serious, I thought it would be over in a month because the government would take control of it correctly. Nowadays, I am used to wearing a mask and staying 6 feet away from others, what was weird for me a year ago is totally normal now. 

I decided to interview my friend from Argentina because he is an immigrant and it would be interesting to know an immigrant’s perspective about how the coronavirus affected their lives. He works as a delivery driver, he delivers food riding a bike and also he works a full-time job in a restaurant. Miguel the guy that I interviewed has been saving money since the pandemic began because he said that he doesn’t know if he would lose his job any time. According to Miguel since the pandemic started he has been working a lot because people are using more delivery services due to they cannot go out. In addition, he says that public transportation services have changed by the beginning of the quarantine because of the quick spreading of this virus, everyone is required to wear a mask and no more than 10 people per bus. He worries about losing his jobs because thanks to those jobs he is supporting his family in Venezuela. 

”With the money that I am making here I have to support them economically in Venezuela because most of them lost their jobs and the situation there is not helpful.” he said in a text message. 

Wearing masks is a strong example of the differences between Buenos Aires and Berkeley. At the beginning of the pandemic until nowadays in where I live wearing a mask is a requirement to get into any place. This was mandatory in Berkeley since the first case of COVID-19 showed up in California. In contrast, when the first case of Coronavirus showed up in Argentina, they ignored this serious virus and more people started to get infected. At that point, citizens started wearing masks because they realized that COVID-19 wasn’t a joke. As a consequence of the bad policy applied on masks more people died consequently and the majority of citizens got infected quickly, increasing the average of cases and deaths in the country. Even though Argentina took action over COVID-19 after the USA did, there are around 15 million people in Buenos Aires and by July 19th there were 8 thousand people infected with the virus and at the end of 2020, there were around the same number of cases. On the other hand, Berkeley has a population of approximately 120.000 people who by July 19th 8 thousand of them were infected and by the end of 2020 around 35.000 thousand people got the virus. It shows the bad management over the pandemic in the United States. 

After conducting this interview I learned how the pandemic affected and terrified people I also learned that people who were not economically or legally established in a specific place were seriously affected. When I think about how my life was like one year ago, I feel that I lived in an unreal world, those experiences that I had before Coronavirus at this moment seem fictitious. I cannot believe that I literally wasted a year of my life doing nothing, I feel disappointed and sad because life is too short, and feeling that I have been doing nothing with it really makes me reflect. I feel that I am losing my best years locked in my house. Now I can appreciate the fact of being healthy and with my family alive. I also appreciate every moment with my parents, sister, and friends because I know that those moments are not going to come back; they are going to be just memories. I hope that this pandemic makes us reflect about being doing what we want to do or be, without fear or questions, we have to be brave and select carefully what we want for our future because the time that is leaving doesn’t come back. 

August 1, 2021