The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

COVID-19, the nightmare we can’t wake up from


The impacts of the coronavirus

Sometimes I have nightmares where I’m running from someone or something is chasing me. Lately, those nightmares have been more amplified and include elements that I haven’t seen in the previous ones.

I’ve known these nightmares have been dreams, but something about them feels so real to me. In a recent nightmare, I was running from a figure I could not distinguish. I couldn’t fall back asleep, so I searched up my dream to find interpretations. I found that when we dream, our subconscious is reflecting what is in our reality. That running for my life in my dreams stems from feelings of anxiety and fear that I feel in my reality. 

The coronavirus has been the nightmare that we all can’t seem to wake up from and one of many realities I wish I could run from. I’ve watched on the news the impact and fatality that it has had on various parts of the world, causing thousands of people to lose their lives so suddenly and painfully. 

Never did I imagine I would live to see this devastation come so close to me. And, for the first time in my life, I do not recognize my home, New York City, a usually vibrant and bustling city.

In the past month, it has become a battleground, in which many healthcare professionals have put their lives on the line and risked exposure to this disease to try to save thousands of people, despite limited resources, space and lack of a cure. It has become a mass burial ground as bodies of people who have lost their lives pile up in refrigerated trucks outside of the hospitals from the growing death toll.

Truthfully, I have never before felt the degree of fear or anxiety that I have experienced since this pandemic. My chest feels tight every day and I’m so scared. 

While many people are bummed by the limitations that social restrictions have placed on going outside, I am also afraid of what can happen to us on the inside. For a place like NYC, in urban communities––like where I come from–– where there are high density populations and economic disparity, social distancing isn’t necessarily a safety measure. It’s a risk. 

The spaces that people live in here are confined, and the amount of people we live with is enough to make everyone inside of our homes sick. Those risks are increased in addition to age, as underlying conditions such diabetes, hypertension and sickle cell are prevalent in black and brown communities.

In addition, there is an immense burden that school closures have put on families and students. For many children and students, school is a safe haven from their homes, a place of resources, a getaway of focus, internet and a plate of food. For many parents, the schools are their babysitters, so they can go to work and provide for their families. Despite educational institutions transitioning to virtual forms of learning, it is a huge adjustment for many families, and many of us are struggling. 

My home wasn’t a conducive space for me to continue my learning, between trying to care for my younger siblings, tending to my studies and managing my anxiety and depression during this time. I had to make the difficult decision to return back to the St. Joe’s area in hopes of being able to focus and feel some level of normalcy that I lacked in New York. 

Truthfully, it’s hard. The campus area is empty. In my apartment, I am alone, still trying to hold it together. Scared to get sick while being here as I am asmatic and prone to respiratory infections and other underlying health issues. Scared that if I do contract the virus, I don’t know if I trust that my body would be able to fight it, despite being young. Scared that every time I get a phone call from home, the worst has happened.

I’m trying to be normal in abnormal times. I’m trying to sleep at normal hours to wake up to attempt to do school, to apply to jobs and to graduate. I’m trying to step outside to remember what the sun and wind feel like when they touch my skin, to not eat everything at every second, to remain optimistic when the future and our way out of this virus feels like a faint and far exit. I’m trying to remain prayerful and filled with gratitude that each day God grants is a blessing even in times like this. 

This has been a trying time for all of us. God willing, when I return back home I don’t know what version of NYC I’ll be going back to or how many of the people I left there are still going to be there. I don’t know. 

What I do know is our communities and governments must address the many systemic issues that this virus has revealed about the state of this country. The fact that a place like New York City, the financial mecca of the world, only had a couple thousand ventilators for its over eight million inhabitants. That a country like America, which prides itself on being resourceful, did not take this virus seriously until it was forced to and used it as opportunity for political ammunition to be xenophobic towards China. 

For those of us who make it to say we lived past this pandemic, the trauma that will need to be addressed (especially for health professionals), the reacclimation back into society, financial burdens and residual fear, are transitions I can’t even begin to fathom. 


Leave a Comment
Donate to The Hawk News

Your donation will support the student journalists of St. Joseph's University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Hawk News

Comments (0)

All The Hawk News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *