COVID-19 sweeps nation: California edition

This is something new for all of us: a deadly virus as closed down our schools, our sports, and most nonessential businesses. Even my small four-year private Christian college as been reached by the pandemic that is quickly covering our nation and our world.

COVID-19 seemed to turn into an overnight nation-wide panic right before spring break. As a sports photographer, that’s where I saw the effects first. Sports began to stop playing, sometimes going so far as to cancel the remainder of their seasons.

I think one of the first major sports to halt that I heard of was the NBA. After that, everyone else followed suit. It was a tragic domino effect before I truly understood just how serious the situation was.

One day I was working the baseball game. The next, Sterling College had canceled all spring sports and would extend their spring break an extra week, and eventually, make the call to continue classes online and urge students to stay home.

Freshman Sam Araiza said, “Honestly, I was not [prepared to be home for so long]. I just packed a bunch of stuff because I had no idea when I was coming back. When my roommate left first, I gave her a hug and said I’ll see you in two weeks and wasn’t expecting to not see her for a while. I don’t think anyone was prepared to be home indefinitely.”

As myself and students left for break, I don’t think any of us were truly prepared for what we would see when we got home.

Shelves were bare in every store you went to, in California. Sanitary items, toilet paper, and other paper goods are almost never found anymore, almost as if they were a myth. And everything from fresh meat to long shelf-life food like pasta, rice, and soup was nearly impossible to stock up on.

Stater Brothers in Southern California

In my house, we had the misfortune of our toilet paper supply running out just as this all began. We thankfully were able to find some at Stater Brothers one afternoon and caught the crew in the middle of restocking. They were limiting it to one package per customer due to its high demand.

Hannah Abbate and her mom after grocery shopping

“COVID-19 has affected California definitely on the roads,” said freshman Sam Araiza. “If I am going to get groceries for my grandparents it usually takes me a while to get there but without traffic it’s been easy.”

In addition, California was among the first states in enact the stay-at-home order. This highly encourages California residents state wide to remain at home and not leave the house in hopes of slowing the progression of the virus.

As of the beginning of April, over 40 states have enacted this order, on top of asking everyone to practice social distancing.

“People in California, and I bet a lot of other places, are just freaking out and being cautious,” said Araiza, “but it’s strange because we can’t leave the house unless you are working or going to get groceries.”

Stay-at-Home Order

“I hope this only last to the beginning of summer,” said senior Teanne Edens. “If people don’t start taking this serious and don’t start following what’s being put in place, it’s just going to keep going on.”

I am blessed I was able to go home last minute. I cannot imagine being way from my family during this time. I know that together, we can survive anything.

Praying for everyone everywhere that you stay safe and heathy.

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