How COVID-19 has affected me


Jeff Martin

Alex Martin and his grandparents having dinner at Scott’s Restaurant in Walnut Creek, Calif. Photo by Jeff Martin

The last time I saw my grandparents in person was in the summer of 2019. I had just graduated from my junior college and wanted to see them right before I headed off to Chico. Before I left, I gave both of them a hug. It would be the last one I gave them for a while.

It’s been almost a year since the first COVID-19 shutdown. While this pandemic has not been easy to deal with, I do feel grateful that nobody in my family has died from this horrible virus.

In the United States, the current COVID-19 death toll sits at over 515,000 people. Just in California, there have been over 3 million confirmed cases and over 52,000 deaths. My grandparents live in Indio, a town located about two hours east outside of Los Angeles in Riverside County.

I’m grateful my grandparents don’t go out much because Riverside County is one of the counties with higher numbers closing in on 300,000 confirmed cases with over 3,700 deaths. Due to these ever persisting numbers my grandparents don’t go out much which I’m grateful for.

I have not seen my grandparents in almost two years. As a college student, the only time I can realistically see them is during the summer. 

My grandparents both turn 84 this year and I don’t know how many more years they have left. It bothers me that I can’t visit them, because their risk is higher. I keep my distance because I might be asymptomatic.

Thanks to technology, I am able to see and chat with them whenever we want via platforms such as Zoom, Skype and FaceTime. 

My grandpa Marty is one of the funniest people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. He’s very blunt with his humor, but he always puts a smile on my face and makes me laugh.

The coronavirus vaccine is slowly but surely being distributed to the public, starting with those at the highest risk. As senior citizens, my grandparents are inherently at a greater risk, and I’m hopeful they will get the vaccine sometime soon. I can’t wait to see them again, whether it’s for a major holiday or just visiting them in general.

I always try to cherish the moments I have with them. You never know when it could be your last time visiting someone you love, or telling them that you do. I never take that for granted. I want them to know how much I love and appreciate them being in my life.

Alex Martin can be reached at [email protected] or @alexmartinjour on Twitter.