This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Salinas Valley.
How I feel and felt during COVID pandemic COVID-19 virus.
How I felt while inside during this pandemic? I have been in this prison for 23 years and I’ve had my fair share of runnings with situations, and had always pretty much shaken a lot of situations off. Shrugged it off and simply kept on with life, if you can call it that. Once the pandemic hit, things got real.
Seriousness, a total of seven people had died already and I thought about what to do. I had no mask and pretty much my life was almost like a death row inmate’s. I would dread any contact. I felt like I know what the men felt while on death row. I was a dead man walking on borrowed time.
People in hundreds were literally not just getting sick, but the situation was starting to get very serious. This one old guy had tested positive. So they placed him and his celly in quarantine in a building isolated from the rest of the people.
Well, from what we heard, that this old man had breathing complications as a result of COVID-19. He couldn’t speak English so he had asked an English speaker for help to communicate with the nurses because he had coronavirus. His doctor pretty much felt he was a useless dude.
I mean he talked alright, but during the diagnosis of him having COVID-19 he complained he was having trouble breathing. A lot of people, inmates, had to band together and argue on the behalf of the non-English speaking infected inmate, and then and only then, the nurse felt pressure to act. They got this inmate one cough drop.
So I felt terrified to attain the COVID-19 virus because I knew the level of care I would be getting zero. So it made me feel like I was on death row because we were on lockdown for over one year and just inside the cell. For seven days a week, I made myself a mask and I slept with a mask on me.
I have asthma, and I’m terrified to get infected. Because the public never really understood the level of care here, medically, is fairly adequate by most standards, but sometimes the medical personnel person doesn’t actually know anything.
And so it’s very scary just to know the medical department is fairly adequate, but we know many inmates get sick or worse by the personnel medical department, because their decisions are very poor in isolated time. Unless you’re the inmate with asthma whose anxiety is so high, he is close to actually having a heart attack.
So I feel I was not guaranteed my next breath because dozens and dozens were sent to quarantine. So in short, I actually felt like I was on death row. I understood what they feel when they go about their daily life. Condemned and just waiting for their turn to die.