New Rockford Transcript - Official Newspaper of Eddy County since 1883

From Las Vegas to North Dakota amidst COVID-19

Transcript Publishing's summer intern shares his experience traveling during a pandemic


May 25, 2020

Four years ago I decided to attend college in the great state of North Dakota. Initially, I didn't know what to expect, as I was from a big city – Las Vegas – which is said to be the entertainment capital of the world and has a population of over 500,000 people. Plus tourists come and leave constantly. Being so acclimated to this type of environment, I didn't know what a small town would be like. Four years later, and I honestly feel like this place is a second home. Everyone is so committed to their community and hardworking, but also very helpful.

In the last couple of months, there has been a pandemic that has greatly affected our nation- COVID-19. I had just come back from San Diego for spring break when the President declared a National State of Emergency. Almost immediately, my return flight to Bismarck was canceled. The realization of it was very shocking and confusing, to say the least. Soon I received an email stating that my school was canceling classes and would eventually be moving toward online classes.

I didn't plan on an extended vacation. What originally was supposed to be a one week break turned into two months of nothing but staying inside and watching the world panic around me.

Gradually the city of Las Vegas began to shut down, which is very unusual as the city is usually filled with people and seems so alive. Soon the strip was completely closed down along with casinos and businesses. For the first time, the city that never sleeps was quiet.

In the city it was different. Everyone was still continuing their daily lives but everyone on the streets had gloves and masks. The grocery stores were overrun. People had nowhere else to go other than the stores to stock up on supplies. People started to lose their jobs, as many residents of Las Vegas held jobs in the entertainment industry. Personally, everyone in my family was fired and had to collect unemployment. Although their employers have stated that they intend to hire everyone back once everything returns to normal, it isn't certain that everyone will get their job back and many will have to seek new employment. This weighs heavily amongst the city as a whole. Not many people have a secure enough job to feel at ease.

It was really astonishing to see the city that I was raised in becoming something completely different from what I was accustomed. I used to be able to roam the city with my friends, stop by local businesses when I needed food, entertainment, apparel, or anything with ease. I found myself having to resort to calls, messages or video calls. Eventually, I decided that I needed to come back to North Dakota. Everything in Las Vegas was extremely overwhelming. I couldn't take a flight like I usually do because the airlines canceled my flight, a total of 12 times in a row. So I took the hint and decided to drive 22 hours from Las Vegas to Jamestown. I hadn't been outside of Nevada since the pandemic had started so I didn't know if everywhere else was going to be the same as Las Vegas.

In the time that I've been here, I have noticed that it isn't nearly as chaotic. However, it is very similar in the way that everyone is taking health and safety precautions. I don't know how long it will take for it to return to how it once was, but if we have a good attitude about the situation we are currently in and take the appropriate precautions then eventually we will overcome this obstacle united together as a nation. Everyone globally is experiencing the effects of COVID-19. How we move forward is dependent on the actions we make now.


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