Your Voice on COVID-19 - The irresponsible response to COVID-19


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We've been asking our Sumter Item community to share their stories surrounding COVID-19 and the pandemic's impact on you, your family and friends, work, etc. We want to tell the stories of the people in our community, putting names and people to statistics and trend articles.

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*Editor's note: While we read through and edit these reader submissions for profanity, personal attacks and what we know to be factual errors, we cannot fact-check all of these personal experiences. The Sumter Item does not endorse opinions that may appear in Your Voice.


Brandy Del Rio lives in Clarendon County and is looking for a job, which she said is dismal right now for a recent graduate. She is immunocompromised, which means she has a higher risk of suffering severe symptoms if she contracts the virus, so she has been self-isolating since graduating college and taking her final semester online. Here is what she wrote.

I have left my home twice in the past three weeks, both times to return to my temporary home in Charleston. It seems to be the case that nobody cares about anything aside from themselves. I've had multiple experiences where I was just a spectator watching people as they congregated outside of stores. They were never armed with face masks, gloves or anything to bring to mind. There was no care or regard for health. Despite stay-at-home orders, people go about their business as if nothing is wrong. There aren't people dying in this global pandemic. There was never a foreign meat market that handled a diseased bat and then contracted the virus. People seem to be screaming at the top of their lungs about nothing in particular. Nothing that is relevant to anybody else's life. I hear people talking about coupons that may expire the next day and how they need to return to the stores where they can exchange those vouchers for nothing of relevance to health or livelihood.

I've had three former flames reach out to see if I am willing to break quarantine just to have some physical contact. The selfishness in their actions just proves to me that people really aren't concerned with anyone outside of themselves. I'm not even sure that they are concerned for their own health, and that is sad.

I cannot tune into newscasts because elected officials, appointed officials, seem to be more concerned with their reputations and the value of a near to extinct economy.

I hear so many irresponsible remarks being thrown around, tossed callously into the air as if there will never be damage when they do eventually fall. Those bruises are only momentary in their minds.

I attend classes where people don't seem to care about anything outside of the realm of academia. Students want to prove that they have something worth saying at every video conference. Even more on message boards, they leave comments in regard to how things that they don't understand, like a pardon that was passed in the '80s to immigrants in the United States, can possibly be anything worth mentioning in a poem. I hear people speaking in reference to critical jargon about various academic subjects. Maybe that is better than the stuff people spew because they pick up bits and pieces here and there from various sources that are ill-informed about medical facts. Or, worse, they choose to believe what people in power are feeding them.

I keep thinking we're all in this together as if Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens are singing that song one more time on my Disney television screen. It is not relevant that that was over 15 years ago. The cheerleaders in the basketball team are still swinging their arms around their heads and two-stepping as if there is still something to be joyous about.

I do think that we do have a lot to be thankful for: the people who are courageous and selfless enough to put others before themselves. They outnumber those who go to stores without masks or gloves just because they can. Or even worse. They are bored.

I keep having this thought. Boredom is a privilege. We are so lucky because that is what it is, luck, to live in a country where we can actually voice our thoughts and vent about inconsequential nothings. I'm no one to judge, but I know that there will be an end to it one day. I don't see that day being tomorrow or even in the next two weeks. But, it will happen. Some of us will be lucky enough to see that day. Others of us will perish never having known the light that was after this virus. Maybe we will have changed for the better. It's something that I dream of.

*Submitted May 15