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Editor’s note: In this interview, our contributor Alex Medina speaks with his father, a truck driver, about how his life has changed since the COVID-19 emergency was declared. This English-language version is an edited translation. You can listen to the whole interview in Spanish here:
MARIO MEDINA: My name is Mario Luis Medina, I’m 60 years old, I work as a truck driver, I’ve been driving about 15 years.
BOYLE HEIGHTS BEAT: Can you speak a little bit about your job before the pandemic and how it’s changed as a result?
MM: Before the pandemic… I usually go a lot to the city of San Diego, to Otay Mesa to make deliveries, I would go three or four times a week. Always, whenever I arrived, I would greet the people who received me by shaking their hands, se spoke closely to each other, and now, since the coronavirus pandemic began, I don’t greet them and I always wear my face mask and try to stay six feet away from people. Right now I don’t have a lot of trips to the city of San Diego because the border is closed and they’re not ordering anything right now. Now, where I do go, but not a lot, is to the city of Oxnard. Because we take boxes to a company that makes kitchenware.
Well, it this disease is a little worrisome, beause it’s a tiny little virus and we don’t know exactly… We know it is transmitting by being close, or when a person has a cough or sneezes. But I try to keep my distance and wear my face mask.
BHB: What scares you the mot about working during these times?
MM: Well, what worries me the most is people who do not protect themselves, who are overtly confident, who think it’s a game… and I always try to keep my six-feet distance from people and to bring my face mask.
BHB: How do you feel about other people being able to work from home, but that you a truck driver cannot?
MM: Well I feel very safe at home, right now that I am not working [as much], and I am very pleased that there are a lot of people who can work from home, because that means the virus will not spread as much and less people will get sick.
It is worrisome to lose your job… And, yes, it does worry me to think that once this quarantine is over, [we’ll have to see] that all jobs restart… that we still have work. If not, well, I’d have to go out and look for work.
BHB: What worries you most about having to work right now? Are you afraid of losing your job and, if this were to happen now, how would it affect your family?
MM: Well, it is worrisome to lose your job… but the company that I work for doesn’t have a lot of work right now. We mostly move a lot of merchandise for clothes manufacturers, and almost all of them are closed. And, yes, it does worry me to think that once this quarantine is over, [we’ll have to see] that all jobs restart… that we still have work. If not, well, I’d have to go out and look for work at another place.
BHB: Is there something that gives you hope during these times?
MM: Well, yes, it does give me a lot of hope that doctors all over the world are trying to find a vaccine that protects us all from this virus. And so, when I hear news about some medicine that is helping those who are sick, it pleases me a lot. And it also pleases me that right now they are doing research on people who’ve had the virus and that can give blood to give transfusions to people who are on the last stages of coronavirus.
BHB: Do you have any condition that would make it a risk for you to get the coronavirus?
MM: Yes, I am a person who’s older than 60 and I have prediabetes. And people with prediabetes or diabetes , their defenses are a little lower than people who do not have this disease.
PBH: Have you seen anything in your community that has given you hope about this pandemic?
MM: Yes, it’s given me much joy to see that people are understanding that we should not have meetings, that people go out only to go to the market to get food or water and stay at home. It also gives me joy to see that there are a lot of people who have been cured of the coronavirus. And also our government leaders, our mayor, who every day gives us information about how many people are infected and where there are testing sites for people to get tested for coronavirus. And the governor, who I think is the number one in the United States, who from the very start took measures to protect us.