By Annette Quijada
HBO MAX’s new documentary, “Covid Diaries NYC,” brings to life the hardships that many middle to lower class families faced when the COVID-19 pandemic first started. Covid-19 impacted people all over the world in 2020.
While many took the time to glorify being able to easily stay at home, catch up on television, have small parties, etc.
Others were suffering and questioning their ability to stay afloat every day.
The 40-minute film follows five young filmmakers and their families in New York 3 months into the pandemic. They each document the personal impact COVID-19 had on them mentally and economically.
“The Only Way to Live in Manhattan” short film, follows Marcial Pilataxi who lives and works with his grandmother at an apartment complex where she is a superintendent.
During the short film Pilataxi expresses how much he just wants to be able to be outside of the apartment, but constantly fears getting his grandmother sick.
“My Covid Breakdown” shows 18 year-old Aracelie Colón who suffers from mental illness and tries to cope with the depression that came with being home 24/7, as well as her dad being an essential worker.
“When My Dad Got Covid” by Camille Dianand captures the worry that came when her father, an essential subway mechanic, contracted the virus.
Shane Fleming’s heartbreaking, “No Escape From New York,” shows how entire families were in pain when both of his parents lost their jobs and incomes.
While, Arlet Guallapa films how selfish people can be in her father’s line of work as they hop on the crowded buses with no masks.
Her mom works two back-to-back jobs to keep money on the table in her short film “Frontline Family.”
One of the biggest takeaways from the film, and something many will be able to empathize with, is how many people were willing to risk their lives to be an essential worker in order to keep a roof over their families’ heads.
“In the Frontline Family” short film, Arlet asks her father, “How do you feel about working during the pandemic?” He responds, “If I don’t pay my rent we (will be) in the streets, I don’t care that my life is in danger at least I have a job.”
The most moving part of this documentary is that viewers will be able to connect widely to the struggles that are displayed.
In many ways these young people are exposing how cruel society is to the middle to lower classes when it comes to receiving help.
“Covid Diaries NYC” is not only an emotional film, but also a film that teaches those with privilege to not be tone deaf, wear a mask and maybe take their own trash out because there’s others constantly risking their lives to do it for them.