James, 17

As residents of New York City, the hardest hit city in the United States, my family and I have endured a lot. The city as a whole has been crushed, with many of its biggest industries decimated by the  stay-at-home orders and social distancing policies. For example, the restaurant industry has fallen into particularly dire circumstances, as many businesses were forced to close entirely or offer solely takeout/delivery.

Admittedly, my family has it better than most; my father is able to work from home during such a dangerous time, and we have both a supermarket and pharmacy within two blocks of our home. However, in another sense, the current circumstances have had an exaggerated impact on my family. My brother is considered medically high-risk: he is illness prone and requires medical procedures daily. As such, my family has taken extra precautions and has recently wrestled with what could potentially happen come September and the school year. 

Over the past few months, I have barely left my home. My parents have been extra careful and have only permitted me, with few exceptions, to go outside to walk the dog or take an occasional walk. One time, during the height of the pandemic, my mom had me wait to walk the dog. At about two in the morning, I suited up to complete a trivial, everyday task.

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