Coronavirus has been extremely difficult for many people, the Knox community included. Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures Antonio Prado has been navigating not only his family’s safety in the United States but also in Spain.
After the declaration of a “state of alarm” on March 14, 2020, the government of Spain has been enforcing increasingly strict measures of isolation. The first emergency measure was to declare a national quarantine. People could not leave their homes except for going to work and acquiring products of first necessity, which rings true for much of the United States as well. Through an email interview, Prado shared how this pandemic has been affecting him.
“Such strict confinement has been tough for most of my family who lives in modest city apartments without much space to move,” Prado wrote. “And then, the latest of these emergency measures have been the order to stop work and production for ‘non-essential’ jobs. So, in the case of my family, they have all stopped working except for my sister and my nephew, one is a janitor and the other is an X-ray technician. I am especially worried about them.”
While none of Prado’s family has tested positive for COVID-19, his friend in Madrid contracted the virus and recovered, and another friend’s father is currently in the hospital and not doing well.
“Knowing people who are affected by the virus first-hand makes it more real,” Pardo said.
One of the main difficulties for Prado is navigating technology and social media, something that he previously wasn’t necessarily involved in.
“I never thought one day I would be so thankful for these technologies. Perhaps I was still in my 20th-century cavern, but I have not participated in them until now and had no desire to do so. However, I am now in the Whatsapp group of my family in Spain, and it is a great relief to constantly receive random comments, bad jokes, silly memes and all that that would have annoyed me before,” Prado said.
The balance between academics and family life is a challenge for all of Knox’s community and is an obstacle that can be even more burdensome for people with families overseas. Prado hopes that people begin to take the pandemic seriously.
“As the pandemic is now increasingly hitting the US, we are becoming more and more aware of its seriousness. Take all the precautions and the guidelines provided by public health experts. China, Italy, Spain, New York… should be wake up calls to us,” Prado said.
As for the community as a whole, Prado advises students and faculty to stay connected, even if this may be your first diving into the beast that is social media.
“Connect and communicate. If you already have a healthy habit of close contact by phone or social media, keep it that way. If you don’t, start by establishing one,” Prado said. “Do your best in overcoming the absence of physical proximity with your loved ones by checking one another.”