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.

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February 22, 2021 5:37 am

Dear Edwin,
I personally believe it’s terrifying and awful because it’s hard enough that people have lost their work, but your writing makes it clear that it may be even worse that people of all ages are dying. I read that your friend Juan has got the lockdown virus and thank you for sharing this with us in quarantine.
Rosa Zavala

February 11, 2021 2:36 am

Edwin you post is interesting I think is sad to lose your job and I know that is hard to stay in home but is more healthy for you and for your family I see that your mom is a nurse some people is getting the vaccine and some are scare in mexico the vaccine is not there the people who is getting infected is losing the smell or the taste.

February 10, 2021 6:21 pm

Edwin you post is interesting I think this is frightening and horrible because it’s bad enough that people have lost their jobs, but your writing makes clear that it could be much worse because of people of all ages dying. I read that you friend Juan got the virus he lockdown and quarantine thank you for share this to us.

February 9, 2021 7:48 pm

Edwin, this article is really interesting and informative. The main take I got was how different it is for some people in different countries. I think showing the experiences of others, especially in other countries is really important to show how some lucky some of us are.

Paul
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February 5, 2021 3:01 pm

Dear Edwin:

Your post, “COVID-19 Around the World: El Salvador,” makes me a bit anxious because you talk about everything from death to losing a job to not being able to reach your goals here in the United States, then you show us how much harder it might be in another country like El Salvador.

One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “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.” I think this is frightening and horrible because it’s bad enough that people have lost their jobs, but your writing makes clear that it could be much worse because of people of all ages dying. Right! So we worry about how difficult it is to have restaurants and schools closed, but what about the people who have lost family members to this pandemic?

Another sentence that surprised me was: “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..” This stood out for me because I didn’t understand until I read this that your friend Juan actually got the virus! His lockdown and quarantine was more personally serious than I thought at first. Thank you for sharing this with us!

I did a quick check of the Covid numbers in El Salvador on this World-O-Meter https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/el-salvador/, and it looks like worst was this summer. Although the number of cases continues to climb right now. Have you seen this I thought you might be interested in this because you might be interested in the bigger picture in El Salvador and the kinds of risks your friend faces.

Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next because you really make me think about my situation, your experiences, and you gave me a glimpse of what it looks like globally. I think it’s important to be aware of all of these different levels when it comes to Covid-19.

Youth Voices is an open publishing platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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