Lea Despotis

A contaminated city

COVID-19 Chronicles: Lea

At What Cost

January 21, 2020, in retrospect, appears a rather insignificant day in the grand scheme of our nation’s storied history. Lives remained virtually untouched, poised with the ordinary cadence of vibrant urban bustle and the customary interaction of friendly folk and carefree greetings. But that fateful day presaged an inevitable collapse—the impending hallmark of a catalytic moment that mocked the prized tokens of humanity buried deep in our hearts. We witnessed neither warfare nor natural disasters nor anything of the sort, but arguably a more insidious perpetrator infiltrated the American border. It greedily fed on the surface of its unsuspecting host, challenging the bonds of interconnectedness stolen from our lonely grasp. Then, perhaps this day does, indeed, carry a nauseating and conspicuous gravity: the first case of COVID-19 survived its voyage to our shores. We confidently hid behind the fallacious facade that our great nation stood impenetrable; the promise that our superior advancements and lessons from the past inoculated us to total devastation. Yet the sobering reality of our frailty landed with a thundering jolt as the virus pummeled nations—dominos toppling, far and wide. So here we are today, sequestered in our homes, fearful of an unseen enemy, and hijacked by our ignorance and arrogance that catastrophes like this only happen to other people in other lands. But amongst the shambles, we are now tasked to define our nation by a collective response: Did we truly stand united, or is it divided we fall? 

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