For those who don’t know me, my name Jyo Kavil. I’m a 20 year old junior in college studying forensic psychology at The College of Saint Rose in Albany NY. I first remember hearing about Covid-19 at the end of February, and assumed everyone was overreacting. In today’s world you can’t trust a single news outlet, at least most people of my generation don’t trust the media. Typically, I have to scroll through multiple media platforms and then decide for myself what is real or exaggerated in order to generate a big enough reaction for the company to yield profits. This is a skill I learned when I first got to high school when trying to find credible sources.
To Travel or Not To Travel
I planned to go to London at the beginning of March to study one of the most infamous serial killers of all time : Jack the Ripper. When the severity of coronavirus became clear and widespread, my fellow students and I were flooded with emails from the college educating us on the issue as it was known expressing support to navigate the issue. As our departure drew near, we were offered the option to opt out of the trip because of the possibility of being quarantined upon entering to the U.S. due to the “Level Three” designation for Italy. Even though I had to sign a waiver, I still wasn’t afraid of contracting the virus. I’ve always lived with the mindset that if you live in fear you can’t possibly live your life to the fullest. Everywhere you go there will be a mix of good and bad.
I would have never given it a second thought before, but I have to admit I was worried.
On February 28th, we took off for London. I remember as I was boarding the plane, I saw a lady whose face was red in the nose and mouth region with a very severe cough. She couldn’t stand up straight and was asking if her husband could sit in my assigned seat. I switched to a different seat closer to my group, but my first thought was Covid-19. I would have never given it a second thought before, but I have to admit I was worried. My worry was quickly subsided because none of the flight attendants seemed at all concerned. I was more relieved, and honestly shocked, when the customs process was nonexistent. I’ve never been on an international flight where there wasn’t a customs procedure after disembarking. My thinking: “ If there isn’t a custom on this now, the media must be blowing this virus out of proportion”, but as flights continued to be cancelled and Italy moved to a “Level Four” status, I started to understand how serious this was going to get.
I was too scared to sneeze and cough in public.
On our first day in London I came down with a cold. Everyone was immediately concerned, and I was too scared to sneeze and cough in public. A cough or sneeze was almost like putting a target on my back. It was a new social relative that was truly global. I got sicker throughout the trip and for the next two weeks after we got back. The trip took place during spring break and we were only on campus for a week before the college decided to shut down. On March 10 the announcement came that there were no more classes and that we had to evacuate our dorms with all our belongings by March 14. Other colleges in the area were given a week’s notice and the option to evacuate since we weren’t all from New York or even the United States. As everyone started evacuating, I got sicker and had to go to the emergency room.
Getting Tested for COVID-19
At the beginning of the pandemic we were told that those who should be concerned are those over the age of 50 and small babies.
As I walked towards the hospital entrance, security guards screamed at me and directed tons of cars through traffic. Someone asked about my symptoms but the interview was cut short as soon as I mentioned my London trip. They redirected me to a parking lot where there was a series of white tents behind the emergency rooms and a very long line of people waiting outside. I remember thinking it was odd that patients had to wait outside in the cold. Afterall, they were testing us for a respiratory condition and the symptoms that gave us each a place in line had to do with our difficulty breathing. The line moved relatively quickly but once we got inside it was almost like a scene in a movie.
Doctors and nurses wore big hazmat suits , some also wearing masks with their face having a clear cover and their head being covered in the same material as their body suit. They had everyone go through a station to have their vitals taken then wait in these blocked off sections to be tested.
Since test results were seriously backed up I didn’t receive my results till three weeks after.
The test consisted of one large cotton swab that had to touch the back of your throat. The second one was a smaller version of the first cotton swab that went in each nostril and touched the back of the nose where the nasal cavities and the throat meet. Once that was done, I was asked to stay home until I got a call back with my results. Since test results were seriously backed up I didn’t receive my results till three weeks after.
Many have asked why I didn’t go back to California once the school was shut down. Being sick and having traveled I felt it was a risk to fly back and introduce my sickness to my parents. My mom has cerebral palsy and my father has diabetes which makes them at high risk for contracting Covid-19, along with their age. To receive my negative test results was a big relief for me and my parents. It was nice to give my parents relief being that we are a country apart.GenZ has gotten the stigma that as young people we are being reckless and ignoring the safety measures that offices have put in place…and there is some truth in that Click To Tweet
GenZ has gotten the stigma that as young people we are being reckless and ignoring the safety measures that officials have put in place for the country. That as a generation we feel invincible and our carelessness is putting the country in danger, and there is some truth in that. In order to accurately assess my generation’s behavior we have to start from the beginning. At the beginning of the pandemic we were told that those who should be concerned are those over the age of 50 and small babies. That those of our age group who had contracted the disease had high recovery rates. This information combined with the fact that many had put money towards their spring break plans had given people of our age demographic the confidence to move forward with how they live their lives. After all, this isn’t the first time we have been told about a life threatening event that was spread throughout the media. Those events had subsided within months and were never heard of again. Therefore the early release of information led to the false narrative that is used to govern those decisions. However with the increase of information and the severity of protective measures taken in each state have made the weight of the situation more prominent in everyone’s lives. My generation is at fault for not following the news and understanding that what we do as individuals now will determine the seriousness of the consequences later. The world will never be the same after this and we must prepare for the changes in society that will bring once we are no longer in a pandemic. It is easy to distance yourself from the situation because the fear makes it uncomfortable to think about, but actively endangering others is a guilt I don’t think many are ready to live with.
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