Why I DO Care About Self-Quarantining

by Emma Bartholomay '20

My parents, unlike most parents, are a bit older. Their age is something I’ve been aware of since I was little. Knowing that my friends’ parents would realistically be around longer than mine. This thought usually stays in the back of my mind, but since the spreading of the Covid-19 Virus my anxiety about having older parents has worsened. 

My stepfather John is 78, and my father Bill is 67. My father decided to have children later in life than most of his friends. Because of this, I have always been the youngest in the family with one of the oldest parents. My step-father John also came into my life when he was older. Before meeting my mom he had already been married and raised three children. It wasn’t until John was about 70 that he came into my life. I used to think my position of having older parents was unique but I’ve realized that many of my peers also have older parents. 

It has become common knowledge that people over 60 are more susceptible to catching the virus which makes me worry for my dad and John. A CNN article states, “It's possible to contract the virus at a younger age — it's just more dangerous in older adults because the immune system weakens with age, said Dr. Samir Sinha, director of Geriatrics for the Sinai Health System and the University Health Network in Toronto.” I am not scared of contracting the disease because I trust that my immune system would be strong enough to fight it, but I fear that I might carry the virus without any knowledge of doing so and in the process endanger the ones I care about. I am fearful that I could unknowingly hurt someone I love simply because I am younger and they are older. 

I am scared for all the adults I care about in my life whether they are over or under the age the CDC says are more susceptible. My grandmother is another vulnerable person to this virus. My grandmother is in a retirement home in California. The distance between me and my grandmother right now is frightening, because I know that even if I needed to get to her I wouldn’t be able to. Retirement homes are a very dangerous place to be right now with a virus. It is a home filled with old people with weak immune systems. If the virus entered the facility it would have devastating effects, and already has in Washington state.

I know I’m not alone when I say that the lack of control I feel over my own life and health right now is consuming. I, like many others, feel helpless.