Dear COVID-19: I Hate You

Apr 9, 2020
9:37 AM

In this Saturday, March 21, 2020 file photo, health workers react as people applaud from their houses in support of the medical staff that are working on the COVID-19 virus outbreak at the Jimenez Diaz Foundation University hospital in Madrid, Spain. (AP Photo/Manu Fernández, File)

Dear COVID-19,

I hate you.

But above all, I am angry at how vulnerable populations are at a higher risk of infection and death. Those in power are putting their health, mental and financial well-being ahead of an inclusive and progressive relief agenda.

I am angry. Actually, I am infuriated because our policymakers prefer fixing the disruption they caused in the stock market than helping those like me who do not have the fame nor money to get rid of them. And yes, I will take this situation personally because you are yet another disaster to displace marginalized folks that my government will not care for as it should. There is no talk about relief checks for undocumented families or how one check is not enough to survive this pandemic, but sure, let’s just imagine that only citizens live here and one check or two will be enough for families to survive this global pandemic.

I am angry. I have no one to directly blame for how you were created. I am angry at how governments did not listen to Dr. Li Wenliang’s alarming concerns warning us about you. I am angry that people have labeled you as the “Chinese Virus” and use your origin to perpetuate xenophobia and anti-Asian American sentiment. I am angry that those with social and cultural capital have multiple mansions to pick for quarantine in addition to having an abundance of necessary supplies simply because their money can buy whatever they deem essential to safely practice social distancing. Why don’t they open up their homes for people who are homeless? Why don’t they buy from selfish price gougers and redistribute essential items to those less fortunate than them? I am angry.

I am angry. I am angry that policymakers and corporate pigs are worried about how you crushed the market and lowered their stocks in their multi-million or multi-billion dollar portfolios. I am angry that they are quantifying and qualifying the chaos associated to you with how much money they have lost. I am angry that they are not holding themselves accountable for ignoring how dangerous you are, especially to the millions of working-class and uninsured folks living in the richest country in the world.

I am angry. I am angry that some colleges, like mine, placed value in picking what was best for the institution, not what is right for them to do. For a while I was angry at you for displacing students like me who use college as a refuge, but now I am angry at how presidents, deans, and boards of trustees sought to find a solution that considered the needs of healthy middle-class students, staff, and faculty. What about people like Doña Lupe, who cleans my resident hall’s bathrooms? What about homeless, queer, low-income, and sick students who depend on colleges’ resources? What about the part-time and/or non-unionized dining hall workers and housekeepers? I am angry that we were left as a post consideration. I am angry that classes, projects, workshops, presentations, gatherings, to name a few, are canceled because my government did not act fast enough to contain you or warn us about you And amid all of the disruption you have caused, money and power is still a requirement to survive this global crisis.

I am angry. I am angry that my mom and dad still have to go out and work. I am angry that now my mom is considered an “essential employee” at an exploitive plastic bag factory even though the state won’t raise the scanty hourly wage for her 12-hour graveyard shifts or give her any paid sick time. I am angry that if my pre-diabetic parents, who suffer from heart problems, get sick, we do not have the money or power to seek treatment or even get a test. I am angry that they don’t have health insurance because we cannot afford it given the classist operation of our healthcare system. But sure, let’s worry about how celebrities, members of Congress, and the rich are doing in this time of crisis.

Maybe we’ll learn from our mistakes. Maybe we’ll consider giving people human rights. Maybe laws will be passed to prevent this panic again. Maybe once we find a vaccine or cure for you, it will be free and available to everyone. Just maybe we’ll focus on expanding assistance. Or maybe, I’ll just stay angry.

With much fury,