It’s been a year since we began social distancing caused by the well known COVID-19 virus, which has caused many losses for all people. It has caused loss of jobs, but perhaps what is harder to believe is the many deaths of people of all ages that it has taken away. School, restaurants, churches and everything that relates to getting a bunch of people in a place together have been closed. This to stop the spreading of the virus. People started to use hand sanitizer, face masks and gloves to fight against it as well. Even with all these safety measures, the advance of the pandemic didn’t stop at all. For many of us still one year later it has been hard to believe that this is not a dream, because who would imagine such a thing would happen.
I decided to interview Juan Hernandez because he is my friend and the situation in his country of residence is different from the USA. He is currently studying at the University in San Miguel, El Salvador. But due to the pandemic now he is taking online classes in San Simon, a small village in the countryside. He is twenty-two years old, in his free time he likes to hang out with friends. Since people have been put in isolation, he has managed the situation by taking precautions, following the health protocols imposed by his mom due to the fact that she is a nurse as well.
“I used to hang out with my friends or family, but now the farthest I can go is to the yard of my house.” – Juan H., age 22, El Salvador
“The hardest part of being in quarantine for me was when I wasn’t able to go outside because for me it wasn’t natural to be all day at home. I used to hang out with my friends or family, but now the farthest I can go is to the yard of my house. The only thing I enjoyed during the lock-down was to sleep a lot and spend time with family,” he said in a video chat interview. He personally experienced what it is to have the virus. He describes it as a normal flu with the only difference of the loss of smell and taste.
Juan is an example of the differences between the USA and El Salvador. When the quarantine started in El Salvador, the president Bukele declared no one would have to pay rent and bills, meanwhile Trump gave one relief check . In the US my current country of residence, it is easier to get a COVID-19 test, while in El Salvador it is harder to get one. In order to get a test you have to travel at least 15-20 minutes by car, because the clinics are not really advanced enough to be able to test people. Most people decide to go to the hospitals, some others that have enough money prefer to pay a personal doctor. Similarly to the United States, “everyone’s mind has changed” realizing how dangerous it is to be outside without protection, Juan said about the people in El Salvador. In El Salvador no one is able to get the vaccine because the vaccine hasn’t arrived in the country yet. Meanwhile, in the US there is more accessibility to the vaccine for those who want to take it. People in the United States have already started to use it, but in El Salvador not even the most powerful people are able to get one.
After conducting this research, I learned that if a powerful country like the US was deeply affected by the virus, other countries are probably suffering more. I cannot even imagine how bad the situation was in a country like El Salvador where they have fewer resources. When I think about what my life was like one year ago, I feel really upset because I had a lot of plans for the year. Some of those plans I did complete, but the big majority I couldn’t accomplish. One of those plans was to work more and save money. Thanks to the quarantine, my place of work closed, so I couldn’t work as I wished, not was I able to save money. The only hope I have for this situation is that it will end as soon as possible because it feels bad to live with the fear of being infected by the virus, and the fear doesn’t allow people to be free of doing things that are normally done without fear of being infected. Now you get outside of your house and you feel scared of being contaminated, but hopefully this won’t last for much longer.