VALENCIA, SPAIN (WECT) - Tess Orr fell in love with Spain on a study abroad, and after meeting her husband there, moved to the country after growing up in the Topsail area.
Now, that love is being translated into complying with the country’s strict isolation orders, and making protective masks for family and friends as they deal with the novel coronavirus.
Orr’s two daughters are about to embark on careers in the medical field, though their residencies are on hold, and her son lives in Madrid — one of the hardest-hit areas in the country.
Spain, which surpassed Italy in deaths from COVID-19, instituted a mandatory lockdown for the entire nation, with people required to stay in their homes unless emerging to shop, visit the bank, seek healthcare, or work if they are part of an essential business.
“It’s a bit like living in a police state,” Orr said via Skype Wednesday.
However, in her mind, the sacrifice of staying home is a small price to pay for stopping the spread of the virus.
“Our independence and our freedoms have been taken away, but I think it’s the only way to beat this disease and I think that if anybody tells you differently they are being very irresponsible,” she said.
Orr has been reaching out to friends and family in the states using social media, trying to urge them to comply with suggested social distancing practices, and explaining why mandatory isolation is beneficial.
“What I would like them to take away is that this is coming whether you like it or not. It is severe whether you like it or not. There are not the resources to fight this if everybody doesn’t do their part to isolate themselves,” she said.
She said her community has adjusted dramatically, shopping only once a week as opposed to every day, and heeding orders to stay off the streets.
As far as what her counterparts in the U.S. could be doing better, she said she has been taken aback by the refusal to comply with social distancing, and the lack of understanding about the importance of “flattening the curve.”
Likening the pandemic to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, she said the country needs to unite against a common enemy — the virus ― and band together.
“There needs to be a showing of solidarity and by solidarity," she said. "Within this instance that could mean I’m going to do my best not to infect you because I don’t know if I’m infected so I want to do my best not to infect you.”