J.H., a teen in Honolulu, HI

This post is in collaboration with covid9teen

Lessons from the Coronavirus in Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA:

It was early march when the Punahou teachers told us that we might be finishing the year with online courses. I knew that at some point in my life, I would possibly take one class online. Never had I thought, however, that I’d be spending half a semester going to class five feet away from where I sleep.

There were some upsides: I could wake up five minutes before class, I didn’t have to get to school at 6:15 to find a parking spot, and I could work out between classes. However, as the semester went on, it grew apparent not only that I had discounted the breadth of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the depth of it as well.

It wasn’t just school that was affected for me and so many other people. No longer was coronavirus “just like the flu.” We have now lost over a hundred thousand Americans and our society will be fundamentally different when we get out of this. The epidemic has helped film streaming services and hurt movie theaters, which has merely accelerated the demise of one of my favorite nighttime activities. I don’t know how people will feel comfortable going to malls, theaters, and sporting events in the wake of this crisis.

Had we been better prepared, we might have been able to salvage some of these elements and keep enjoying them. We might’ve even fully avoided a public health emergency. This shows, first of all, that we need more competent leadership at the top of the federal government. We can’t simply pretend a problem doesn’t exist and label critics as “alarmists” if we are going to effectively preserve society when faced with a crisis. This is important for my second observation: The coronavirus pandemic is a preview for the drastic effects global warming will have if we do not address it as soon as possible. We can no longer pretend global warming isn’t heavily caused by our activity and we can no longer sit and wait for it to happen. We must make small sacrifices in our GDP and personal comfort if we are to avoid the ultimate loss: civilization itself.

[submitted on 6/1/2020]

Learn more about the LiQ and the covid9teen collaboration here

Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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