Camden and the COVID-19 Craziness

Imagine driving through the city, sun beaming, flowers blooming. Children dressed in their Sunday’s best as they run through fields attempting to procure the most easter eggs. The smell of barbecue permeating throughout the city as people jump from house to house to see what the move is, one would think that this depicts a typical Easter Sunday; however, quite the contrary. In fact this was the scene in Camden, NJ during a nationwide quarantine which was put in place as a result of a worldwide pandemic. A pandemic that as of April 16 has claimed over 137,000 Lives internationally and 54/306 in the city of Camden alone. 

 This pandemic was caused by a respiratory illness known as COVID-19 or “Coronavirus.” It was once dismissed by the masses as a “Chinese Problem” with some even alluding that “black people can’t contract it.” Yet this virus has since become a world-wide pandemic which, whether people wish to accept it or not, is in fact “that deep” and even more so for communities like Camden and the Black community at large. According to a Reuters report African Americans are more likely to die of COVID-19 than any other group in the U.S. A CDC and Prevention analysis of nearly 1,500 hospitalizations across 14 states found that black people made up a third of the hospitalizations, while only accounting for 18 percent of the population in the areas studied. An Associated Press analysis of available death data found that black people constituted 42 percent of the victims, doubling their share of the populations of the states the analysis included. In New York, African Americans comprise 9 percent of the state population and 17 percent of the deaths. (Kendi, 2020) While this data can be attributed to countless factors including limited access to adequate healthcare and inequitable social economic conditions, the fact remains that African Americans are dying at a rate higher than any other group while we make up less of the population. Still, the behavior that many people in our communities exhibit does not reflect any concern or true regard for this fact.   Now imagine being confined to a hospital room connected to countless tubes and wires, being poked and prodded like a science experiment. Imagine yourself completely isolated from your family surrounded by medical professionals covered in gowns and masks to protect themselves from you. Your chest burning as a deep vicious cough forces itself from deep inside your lungs as you gasp for air with the feeling of uncertainty plaguing you, unaware of whether you’ll live to see the next hour or so. Or even worse imagine your child having to endure this all alone without you being able to sit by their side. Imagine this and ask yourself, was it worth it?    What can we do to protect ourselves? Other than consistently washing our hands and following the CDC’s outline precautions (listed below) FOLLOW GOVERNMENT DIRECTIVES. Whether it’s the 8:00 curfew or mandatory social distancing, these directives were given for a reason. They were created to stall the spread of the virus and ultimately keep it from infecting more and more people. This virus is killing people and the reckless, “untouchable” mindset is not one to maintain during times like this. You CAN get this virus and it DOES have the potential to be deadly, even if you pose more of a threat to your loved ones than you do yourself. These are some tumultuous times. Things are happening today that have never happened so it’s easy to become overwhelmed and scared under this pressure. Therefore, remember to use the resources available to you in your community, reach out to your village and most important take some time to practice self-care.  (You will find a list of resources below that are available for those in our community who may be in need.) The Center for Disease Control lists the following precautions to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus. · Clean your hands often · Avoid close contact · Cover coughs and sneezes · Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others · Clean and disinfect Iran Mercado Editor In Chief ​WCMD Street Journal

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