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Quarantine lifestyles of college-age students in Palm Beach County


Angel Soto and Eduardo Artega during a Discord video meeting with Beacon reporter Benjamin Wainer.

America continues to endure the highest number of cases of any nation during the COVID-19 pandemic.


In late March, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ordered a state “shelter in place” order as the case numbers continued to rise. Florida has over 13,000 confirmed cases of the virus. Palm Beach County alone has over 1,000 cases and the most deaths of any county with 51.


Staying inside is more important than ever and aside from restlessness, economic and resource considerations are the driving concerns for the average American. For college-aged individuals, whether they have graduated or not, staying economically afloat is a dire concern.


Angel Soto, a college graduate, and Eduardo Artega, who’s enrolled in trade school, live together with three other roommates and a little black cat in a West Palm Beach apartment. Three weeks ago, Artega went to the hospital due to an allergic reaction from a vitamin C deficiency from a diet regimen. During his hospital visit, he showed symptoms of COVID-19 but didn’t test positive. Artega ended up testing positive for the virus one week later.


Artega had a fever and other symptoms for the next two days, but by the third week, he was feeling much better, with only a slight cough remaining. He’s still self-isolating in his room and wearing a face mask at all times.


Artega, when relating his story with COVID-19, stated he wasn’t concerned with death because of his faith in God.


“If it’s my time to go then, damn, it sucks,” Artega said. “But it’s my time to go.”


Soto’s job with Amazon allows him to work from home and thus keeps his financial situation stable amidst the quarantine.


I’m in the video industry,” Soto said. “That industry is booming right now, especially with how much people are needing to get access to cameras to set up streams for promotional content. I’m at the prime of my career if anything.”


Soto’s younger brother, Jonathan, cooks for the five roommates and in return is paid for his services, which also includes grocery shopping for the group.


“He enjoys culinary work, so it really works out for us,” Soto said.


In terms of entertainment, all five in the apartment regularly play video games to “keep their sanity going.” They encourage those with access and the newfound time to game now more than ever “as a way to escape, kill time and keep yourself cognitively busy.”


They play games such as “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,” “Call of Duty: Warzone” and “League of Legends.”


Soto says the trick to dealing with the fear of becoming sick is to have a positive mindset.


“You do want to take this seriously as possible; you don’t want to neglect your responsibilities, especially if you’re a confirmed case like Eduardo, to help protect others around you,” Soto said.


He also discourages a mindset of thinking you’re invulnerable and arrogant, which in turn can endanger yourself and your loved ones.


Artega, Soto and their three roommates will all get tested for the coronavirus soon.


By Benjamin Wainer


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