Melissa Ugas, 23

Venezuela is one of the most vulnerable countries for the novel coronavirus. The country’s healthcare system is in shambles and without a free press it is hard to know how the government is reacting to the pandemic or the truth of the reported numbers. According to President Nicolas Maduro, the country has 167 reported cases of COVID-19 and nine deaths.

Melissa Ugas, 23, didn’t take the outbreak seriously at first because of the lack of information. She has been able to keep herself calm, but she does feel anxious in going back to her routine.

“I feel like my community feels the same way as I do, but people are growing more empathic between themselves,” said the Caracas resident.

Not being able to go to work has also affected Ugas and her family’s accounting firm economically. The bills keep showing up. In addition, it’s difficult to to work from home because the internet provider in Venezuela, CANTV, is inefficient and unreliable.

Regardless, Ugas has taken the opportunity to share more time with her family and connect with people she hasn’t talked to in a while.

“I’ve dedicated myself to personal projects and rest,” she said. “But there are moments when I’m worried about when the situation is going to end.”

Edda León is a born and raised Venezuelan writer. She believes journalists are the gatekeepers of democracy and information is the most powerful tool you can give to people.