Teens and Coronavirus:"My life was deeply affected months before the closure of my high school."

We asked teens to share how Coronavirus has affected their daily lives. Michelle Qiao, a student at Leland High School in San Jose, CA, shares her experience.

An electric anticipation snapped between desks - every ounce of attention was focused on the words marching through the loudspeaker. The classroom was on the edge of its seat. Our principal announced: school would close over COVID-19.

Even as lacrosse games and speech tournaments were slashed from my calendar, my life was deeply affected months before the closure of my high school.

The epicenter of COVID-19 was Wuhan. My grandparents live two hours from Wuhan, and because of their age, were both at risk. Under lockdown, they were running out of food. There was no way for me to help my them, or even hug them.

I began dreading their calls. We heard news of a friend with who had a heart attack. When he arrived at the hospital, he was turned away. Told to go home, as they didn’t have room. He passed away. One of my grandmother’s students showed immense courage by volunteering to deliver groceries to people in need. He was infected on one of his trips.

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He passed away. Although I’ve never met him, I want to thank him for his kindness and sacrifice.

This emotional hysteria would continue for three excruciating months. While my friends made inappropriate comments or toilet paper jokes, I felt sick.

Many use racially charged phrases. Hate crimes targeting Asian Americans burn through the country. I speak for my family, friends, and fellow Americans that we are adamantly bent on stopping the virus and trade of exotic animals.

COVID-19 is serious, and the only way to effectively address it is to work together as a global community without pointing fingers. Brave doctors, delivery people, volunteers, and many others fight the virus at their own risk. We need to do our part. When you make a joke, think of the impact your words have. When you consider taking a trip, think of the lives at stake.

I hope with all my heart that we will be able to stay safe and fight the virus together.

With a perspective, I’m Michelle Qiao.

Michelle Qiao is a freshman at Leland High School in San Jose, CA.