It’s no secret that COVID-19 has hit some states harder than others, making several places in the U.S. hotspots. From New York to Washington state and down to Louisiana, life in the States has changed greatly, especially in these ravaged areas.
Students come from all over the world to attend Harding in Arkansas, including the places most directly affected by the coronavirus currently.
“Grocery stores are the only thing really open,” junior Rachel Creely of Berkshire, New York, said. “I’m trying to apply to them, but it’s so hard because so many people are looking for jobs, so they’re just going left and right.”
Even job websites are crashing due to the number of people who have been looking for jobs since such a great number have gotten laid off, Creely said.
There are also long lines everywhere, including outside of Walmart, to limit the number of customers inside at the same time, according to Creely. Per U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, people are supposed to stay at least six feet away from others and avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.
Creely also said New York has gotten stricter on traveling in and out of the state.
“[The state government] kind of shut down the state lines and aren’t really letting anyone cross,” Creely said.
Her parents were able to help her move out of the dorm at Harding before the school limited access and the state restricted borders, but since then, regulations have gotten tighter.
Sophomore Stewart Farley from Lake Tapps, Washington, can relate to a few things Creely is experiencing, including grocery store regulations.
“You have to be six feet apart from one another, and everyone is wearing a mask,” Farley said. “They also put a glass divider separating you and the cashier.”
Several states are still allowing people to explore the great outdoors, but in the state of Washington, even hiking trails have been closed, Farley said.
“Hunting and fishing is closed as well, so even activities that are usually done alone or with a small group of people are closed,” Farley said. “I haven’t been able to hang out with any of my friends since I’ve been back.”
Farley said a couple of his close friends have been able to leave the state and quarantine themselves in a rental house in Arizona, but he isn’t sure if people who leave can get back in.
According to a study conducted at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Louisiana is experiencing the highest initial growth rate of COVID-19 in the world.
“I think [Louisiana is] slowly getting better,” senior Kayla Stites of Monroe, Louisiana, said. “The whole reason why it was bad in the first place was because of Mardi Gras.”
While Mardi Gras may have not been the only cause of Louisiana’s outbreaks, the large influx of visitors and regular large gatherings definitely added to the now devastating condition.
“As soon as the governor let schools out in Louisiana, a lot of people just went to party and celebrate instead of actually listening and taking precaution,” Stites said.
Grocery stores are trying to enforce a rule that families can only go once a week and are limited to one pack of water and one pack of toilet paper — if those items are even available, Stites said. There is also a set schedule of when different age groups are allowed to go with intentions of limiting as much human contact as possible — especially contact with senior citizens who are more susceptible. There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the country from coast to coast. According to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, there were 629,264 confirmed cases in the U.S. as of Thursday, April 16. The same center reported 21,951 confirmed cases in Louisiana; 207,512 confirmed cases in New York; and 10,942 confirmed cases in Washington state as of the same date.