With cases of COVID-19 skyrocketing in the U.S. and other countries, I’m sure the terms “social-distancing” and “self-isolation” have been heard over and over. 

But for most people, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. And by most people, I mean people who have fully functioning immune systems and have none of the risk factors for COVID-19. Since COVID-19 is a viral respiratory infection, people at risk include anyone who has underlying conditions affecting their lungs or respiratory system. Some of these could include lung or heart diseases, diabetes, or already being sick in some general way.

As it turns out, one of the lung diseases that puts people at high risk is asthma. As for me, I’ve had asthma my whole life. It is, however, pretty well-controlled and has mellowed out over the last few years. That doesn’t make it any less dangerous to have right now, though. Having asthma has been linked to several issues with the body’s immune response, also known as being immunocompromised. 

Due to all of these various health problems involving my lungs and my body’s non-existent ability to fight infection, the “self-isolating” that everyone has talked and joked about is something that’s very real for me. 

Since March 11, when things started to get serious regarding COVID-19, I haven’t left my house. I didn’t go to school for the last three days before the district closed, and I can’t risk going to work.

As of writing this, I am now on day 21 of self-isolating. I have only left my house once, and that was to vote. I had to wear a mask and couldn’t touch anything except my ballot. I brought my own pen, had someone else open the doors, and washed my hands so many times that they began to crack and blister. 

But despite everything I have to do to preserve my own life, I still see people out acting like nothing is wrong. People who are lucky enough to have no underlying medical conditions, and people lucky enough to have an immune system that will fight COVID-19 if they happen to contract it. 

I brought my own pen, had someone else open the doors, and washed my hands so many times that they began to crack and blister. 

I’m not mad about that; I can understand their perspective. If they get it, it’ll be similar to the flu, or a bad cold. So why should they care if they get it? The thing is, most people don’t seem to realize that if they have it, even if they don’t have any symptoms, they can spread it. On top of that, we aren’t completely sure how it spreads. It can spread through droplets from sneezes or coughs, but we have no idea how long the virus can live on surfaces, and if it has any other means of spreading. 

So here I am, a prisoner in my own home, because people decide not to follow guidelines surrounding the outbreak. If I did have to go somewhere, for any reason, I could contract COVID-19 much easier than other people. And once I have it, it could cause severe asthma attacks that could eventually lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Both of these can be fatal. 

So here I am, a prisoner in my own home, because people decide not to follow guidelines surrounding the outbreak.

As someone who hates being stuck at home like most people, all I can say is to listen to what the CDC and other health organizations are telling everyone to do. This includes staying at home unless absolutely necessary. It may seem like a pain and that it won’t make a difference, but when people self-isolate, the virus has nowhere to go and no means to spread. The longer people continue to ignore the shelter-in-place order, the more it’s going to expand, and more people are going to die. Unless people start taking this seriously and following what they’re supposed to do, we could be trapped like this for months. So please, stay at home unless you absolutely need to go somewhere and when you are out, take proper steps to protect yourself and others. More information on health safety and the spread can be found on the CDC website.

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