The Reality That No One Can Grasp

Jeremiah Sudarmanto

More stories from Jeremiah Sudarmanto

Lifting the Cloud
September 23, 2021

She didn’t think it was possible.

How did she manage to get it?

In the United States, the number of daily COVID-19 cases has risen by 30 percent (+50,000 cases) in the past week. As people begin to feel comfortable with bigger gatherings, the amount of exposures has risen. Addie (whose last name will be kept private) is a freshman in Arkansas who recently tested positive for the virus.

“When you get it or know someone who gets it, everything changes,” Addie said. “I didn’t wear my mask at school, I know it sucks. But when half of my algebra class got it, I started to wear it.”

Addie’s school shut down minutes after receiving word that she had tested positive due to the overall number of cases at school.

“I was around my friends without a mask, and now they’re all positive too,” Addie said. “Their parents are positive, their parent’s coworkers, their siblings and their sibling’s classmates. It’s a literal domino effect.”

Although she can’t taste and has a sore throat, Addie is currently feeling fine. Her family has also tested negative and is not showing any symptoms.

“I know people think ‘who cares if I get it, I’m not gonna die,’ but you don’t know if you’ll be put into an ICU or if you’ll be fine,” Addie said. “You could give it to someone and they could die from it.”

According to healthcare worker Dakota Jacquemin, sometimes doing the most you can to stay safe still isn’t enough, Jacquemin tested positive for the virus earlier this month. She works in long-term-care at a nursing facility.

“One of my residents who I take care of tested positive for the virus, and that’s how I contracted it,” Jacquemin said. “I had all of my safety equipment on at all times and I still ended up catching it.” 

With more than 231,000 deaths caused by the virus, Jacquemin knew it had to be taken seriously. But overall, she has kept a fairly neutral mindset throughout the pandemic.

“As the months went on, I kinda stopped paying attention,” Jacquemin said. “I dismissed it a little. But now that I’m having trouble breathing, it’s scary.”

Jacquemin is currently facing all of the symptoms listed by the CDC like fatigue, loss of taste, nausea, and a sore throat, which she says has raised her anxiety. 

“Until I got COVID-19 I thought ‘Oh, it’s just the flu,’ but it comes at you a lot harder,” Jacquemin said. “Some won’t think wearing a mask and washing your hands is important until they test positive and you feel miserable.”

Although those two were far from the area, Rouse is also not shy of the virus. Freshman Kely Roblero is a cheerleader who has had a troubling experience during the pandemic

“COVID affected how we practice by having us six feet away from each other,” Roblero said. “And we aren’t allowed to be in the locker rooms together for more than 15 minutes, which has made things stressful, but it’s worth it for everyone’s safety.”

Unfortunately, Roblero was one of the first students on campus to have tested positive for the coronavirus, which she believes she contracted at 24 Hour Fitness outside of the school.

“It felt like all the fluids in my body were drained,” Roblero said. “I had no energy, and my bones were aching to the point where I couldn’t move.”

Physical effects weren’t the only thing that hit hard during Roblero’s quarantine. She faced mental troubles as well.

“It was terrible being in my room and only my room for three weeks,” Roblero said. “My mom would drop food off at my door and I wasn’t allowed out of my room unless it was to go to the bathroom. I was frustrated.”

As the school year moves forward, so do the safety protocols and guidelines for preventing the virus from spreading. It’s important that students don’t undermine the importance of them so that they can one day disappear.

“It’s really rude and selfish of people to take it as a joke and be irresponsible about it,” Roblero said. “If you don’t want to follow the rules of safety then simply don’t go out.”