Coping with COVID-19: The Haves and the Have Nots

The following is a short story that shows two different perspectives on dealing with the outbreak of COVID-19. Through this story, I wanted to highlight the variety of experiences with the pandemic, mainly based on economic situations, in a positive and digestible way. Hopefully, this short story can provide some perspective on the way recent events are affecting people differently, and how you can help others during this difficult time.

8:00 AM – AMELIA

I am so mentally exhausted. 

Last week, I got fired from my job as a waitress because of COVID-19. Paying my bills and buying groceries has been near impossible. Luckily, my roommates and landlord have been understanding about my situation. Still, I have been incredibly stressed about how I am going to survive however long this quarantine lasts. 

10:00 AM – NOVAH

Driiinnnnn! Driiiiiinnnnn!

 “Uuugghhhh,” I groan. Unfortunately, I can’t hit snooze any longer. I was supposed to get up at 8 am, but I’m so mentally drained from this quarantine. I don’t even understand why young people have to participate in it. I mean, I’m only 22, there’s no way I’m going to die from the virus. 

Anyway, I have to post on Instagram for my seven hundred thousand followers. I think I’ll just use the first image that comes up when I search “Inspirational Quote” on Pinterest. Just to seem relatable and motivational, I’ll put #covid-19 #staypositive as the caption. 

I’ve also been working to gain a following on Twitter. Right now I have about one hundred thousand followers. It’s harder for me to gain an audience there since tweets have to be relatable or relevant to get attention. Today, I’ll tweet “Social distancing is soooo hard! Why are young people even doing this??!” Hopefully, people will relate. I am just so tired of isolating myself!

Technically I am a social media influencer, but I don’t make much money from it, so my parents financially support me. They pay rent for my three-bedroom apartment and had given me a credit card for any other expenses I may have. 

Coping with COVID-19: The Haves and the Have Nots

12:00 PM – AMELIA

For lunch, I am having my last serving of rice and beans. Later today, I am going to have to go out to get groceries. I have about twenty dollars I can spend on my personal groceries, and if that wasn’t difficult enough, the grocery stores are out of almost everything. My roommates have taken care of toilet paper and cleaning supplies, but I can’t put the burden of groceries entirely on them. 

2:00 PM – NOVAH

Where is my food? I ordered it half an hour ago. 

Knock knock knock.

Finally! I’m not supposed to go to the door and greet the deliverer, because of social distancing, so I’ll just wait till they leave. Though I don’t think social distancing is necessary, I don’t need anyone getting mad at me for going out needlessly.  

Coping with COVID-19: The Haves and the Have Nots

2:30 PM – NOVAH 

“What have I done?!” I panic aloud. 

My tweet has gone viral, but for all the wrong reasons. All the comments are scrutinizing my claim and calling me insensitive.

“Don’t you know there are people actually struggling during this time?”

“You’re lucky you have the option to social distance from the comfort of your home.”

These two responses really stuck out to me. 

It can be so easy for me to get caught up in my own personal woes, that I forget to take a step back and see how things are affecting other people. While I am sitting, rent-free in my apartment, there are people being laid off and struggling to pay their bills. Hearing these responses to my tweet, and contemplating the subpar situations others are in right now, makes me wonder how I can help others in this time of need. 

3:00 PM – AMELIA

“Can I buy your groceries for you?” asks the lady behind me in the checkout line.

This startles me, but I gratefully reply, “Of course! Thank you so much!”

“It’s no problem, I just want to help someone out during this crazy time,” answers the kind stranger.

 She proceeds to buy my groceries for me, which is immensely helpful. This month has been difficult, and not having to worry about how I am going to pay for my groceries this week is relieving. Hopefully, I can use the money I don’t spend on groceries this week to help my roommates pay rent and our utility bills. 

Coping with COVID-19: The Haves and the Have Nots

3:30 PM – NOVAH

Paying for that lady’s groceries was the least I could do today. I have been so fortunate throughout this month to not have to worry about where my next paycheck will come from or how I am going to pay for groceries. I have been financially supported throughout my entire life, and I am in a position where I can give back to my community. This experience was eye-opening for me and has helped me realize how privileged I truly am. 


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