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  • Chelsea Hayes

To Our Stateside Friends, How Can We Be Better?

Updated: Mar 21, 2020

COVID-19 has hit the world in a way no one really saw coming. We had our plans, they got canceled. Many had jobs, they were taken away from us. Or worse, some had loved ones that were taken away from us too soon.

The world is feeling the effects of COVID-19

and it's not just "infecting" our immune systems.

Back in February, I was on my trip to Ghana. During my last 3 days of my trip, the first few confirmed cases started to pop up in Northern Italy. I started to worry because here I am a whole continent away wondering, will I be able to get back home? Will I have to reschedule my flight? Because I can't afford to do that.

I was nervous.

Nervous wondering, how did this virus get there? I thought China had it under control. But as we all started to discover, this virus takes 2-3 weeks for signs of symptoms to officially show. Think about how many places you've been or things you've touched in a 2-3 week period.

Your pen that you let someone borrow

The cart at the grocery store Your friend as you greeted them

The seat on the train or bus

The money you used to pay for your lunch

The credit card machine you used to buy that new outfit

The list goes on and on.

Many of us doubted the effects of this virus. And our doubts are what are making COVID-19 strong.

In Italy, we are asked to only leave our homes for work, medical needs or necessities such as groceries. In the U.S. we are starting to see similar restrictions. I know these restrictions are tough. I hear you, but we need to abide by these laws or COVID-19 will continue to spread.

Italy has been on lockdown for almost 3 weeks. In Italy alone, there have been 2,978 deaths, and a total of 35,713 cases in less than a month. In one day. 475 people have died. Hospitals are becoming overwhelmingly overcrowded, that it is coming down to who do they try to save first?

Use Italy as an example and please...


In the U.S. we are seeing grocery stores being cleared out. Yeah, they are able to restock, but what about the individuals who are there after you leave. They have to return another day? Or they are forced to go without a basic need such as toilet paper?

Of course, we want to be able to provide for our families. But when we are clearing out the grocery stores, how can others provide for their family? Think about the families who use WIC. Because you bought all the cereals they are given money to specifically buy, how are they supposed to provide for their kids?

Think about the elderly, who are fearful to walk into those grocery stores. Terrified that they might contract the virus because of the crowds.

We all have needs and wants, but what we should be asking ourselves is...

How can we be conscious of others?

Let me tell you what one of my friends is doing. John Güe, using his social media platforms he is going to his local town council meeting to request that the supermarkets in his area dedicate the first hour of shopping to the elderly.

Why is he doing this? To allow them to get their groceries out in a less crowded environment and get help from the staff they may need.

Another friend of mine, Kat Granke. Kat is offering to take graduation photos for fellow students who are supposed to graduate but may not get to because of this virus.

Why is she doing this? To give people something back that they are losing.

As mentioned in the beginning, COVID-19 is affecting the world. It is not just infecting our health but our livelihood. I urge you, take the restrictions seriously. Be there for one another, check on each other, and don't continue to let this pandemic grow stronger.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

Stay safe my friends.


Chelsea Abena

If you or anyone you know may be feeling alone, fearful or just needing someone to talk to please reach out to The National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255 or text "Home" to 741741 and a crisis worker will text with you. These can be hard times, but it does not mean you have to go through any of it alone.

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