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As someone from a small Kansas town of 600 people who now lives in one of the biggest cities in the world, and the current hotbed of the pandemic, I woke up thinking about the past few weeks and my experience in both worlds.
Since President Trump has been elected, I have stayed out of the political posting game because it just feels like an echo chamber of our own beliefs. But I feel that our political future and the health of our nation are at stake.
I live in a quiet neighborhood in Queens that reminds me of the small town I grew up in. In the past few days, I’ve heard the quiet streets usually filled with groups of older men bantering in Greek and my downstairs neighbor’s kids playing kickball, instead filled with ambulances all day and night.
I’ve been so terrified of getting sick, that for weeks before the city was on lockdown, I was the loon buying gloves and beans as everyone else was enjoying their Saturdays.
I wish I had been wrong. I wish it could have been a funny anecdote for when friends came over, and I could show them our collection of ramen noodles that I bought during the “crisis.”
Now we are rationing how many gloves we have and doing laundry on a drying rack as if we live in the 1800s because going to the laundromat has too many variables.
Even after walking to other side of the street as others pass and Lysoling anything that entered our apartment, I woke up the other morning with a scratchy throat. Then it turned into a dry cough. Luckily, so far, that has been the extent of it. But I also worry that I've somehow passed it to someone else.
I will probably never know if I have it because getting a test is more dangerous and causes more strain on the overwhelmed health care system than knowing would be worth.
I’ve stopped watching the news because I don’t think it is healthy for my well-being, but I did catch wind of Trump wanting governors to be “appreciative” and beg for federal aid, expecting them to grovel as if he were a king.
The truth is that New York and many other states are desperate for the aid he is dangerously and maliciously withholding from them. Elmhurst Hospital, just up the street from me, is running out of ventilators. I’ve seen health care workers walk past me with mask marks on their face from tirelessly working to protect the most vulnerable.
So my plea to every person who lives in a place that feels far away from this pandemic — stay inside. This will come to you. Maybe not as strong god willing, and maybe not for some time, but it will.
Realize that Trump has shown his card so many times over these past years but now is playing political games with every American life. And this disaster could have been curved with consistent science-based directives and strong compassionate leadership that could have come from either side of the aisle.
Please do your part to flatten the curve and take this seriously. Not only for yourselves, but for all the people of Kansas, a state I’m proud to be from.
Molly Sailors grew up in Perry and now lives in Queens.