Being sick is not our fault, but stopping that spread can be our responsibility

Rosa Sierra | Central Falls, RI

My name is Rosa, and I'm from Rhode Island. My work at Progreso Latino ensures that COVID-19 is always at the forefront of my mind. The projects we work on focus on helping people through the pandemic, both in preventing illness and rising back up from its impact - be it job loss, long-term economic and financial effects, or the death of a loved one. 

 

When I first tested positive for COVID-19, I was shocked. I didn't feel sick at first, but as the quarantine period went on, I experienced more symptoms. My grandma's home remedies helped me a lot - lime, garlic, ginger, hot saltwater gargles... Luckily, I made it through without passing on the illness and felt ready to get back to my everyday life. To my surprise, I tested positive again, just two months after the first diagnosis. At that point, we all believed the immunity period lasted up to 3 months, but when I lost my sense of taste and smell, I knew I had COVID-19 again, and this time would be much worse. My roommate fell sick shortly after, and we both quarantined again, lazy to cook tasteless food, overwhelmed with fatigue, and feeling more isolated than before. 

 

After experiencing that, I couldn't wait to be vaccinated. I didn't want to get sick again, but I also didn't want to have to worry so much about getting those around me sick. It was nerve-wracking to wait as my friends and family got their results back while I endured my second quarantine - which had happened just after the holidays. I know that this experience is all too common for my Latino community and has often been much worse - fear of job loss, hospitalizations, and deaths. I was privileged enough to stay afloat and take time off worry-free, with my health and that of my loved ones still intact. Not all are so lucky. 

 

One message I hope the community takes away is that we have the greatest opportunity to prevent the vaccine than ever before. Being sick is not our fault, but stopping that spread can be our responsibility. COVID-19 loss and grief are not inevitable. We all deserve to keep our jobs, our good health, and our lives.