The Corona Journals - Week 1, March 30, 2020 - April 4, 2020
Here are our first round of journal entries for the week. If you'd like to play a part in history as it unfolds before us, please send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Laurie Collins (age 62, North Sea)
I see many families outside walking and biking together. Too much togetherness indoors. Annoying habits that were once slightly annoying have now become very annoying. I’ve realized that I don’t function well without a routine. I also feel very insecure if there is no ice cream in the freezer or oatmeal in the cabinet. I was a Girl Scout. I have tried to “Be Prepared” my whole life. How do you prepare for COVID 19 ?
Mary Cummings (Southampton Village)
Every New Year I resolve to improve my technological competence and every year I fail to do so. 2020, as we are engulfed in this terrible pandemic, may be the year I succeed. With the closing of the Southampton History Museum, where I am the archives manager, I’m working at home, meeting via Zoom with my colleagues, and helping to keep the content flowing on our museum website. This means I spend the day writing (which I am always happy to do) and learning not to ask “Why?” when my computer turns malevolent and interrupts my progress for no reason at all. Forced on my own (with admittedly some help from my son) I have learned that the solution in most cases is to pull every plug, hit every key, and try every strategy until something works. There is no reasoning with a computer; the instruction manuals of my youth are extinct; Optimum Help, overwhelmed, has a new, very lame message promising that someone will get back to me “in more than 45 minutes.” Much more.
Liana Mizzi (age 27, Hampton Bays)
Things have been pretty weird lately. It feels like the whole world has stopped in a sense. The days are all blending together and I haven’t left my house in over 2 weeks. I honestly don’t mind staying home, I’m definitely a home-body, but it is frustrating to see people who are making the effort by doing their part to stay home and then on the other hand watching people still go out to bars and restaurants or going on trips because airfare is so cheap. I don’t think it’s really set in for a lot of people that this virus is serious, that people are dying from it and healthcare workers are risking their lives everyday to help those who are affected by it. It’s all fun and games until it’s your friend who’s sick, or your parents. The reality of the matter has not fully set in and unfortunately by the time they learn, it most likely will be too late.
The thought of people I love dying from this has kept me up at night and have given me countless panic attacks. It’s really taking a toll on my mental health because I just feel so helpless in all this. I have to keep reminding myself that at least I’m healthy and the members of my household are healthy. I still have my job, working from home but my pay has decreased so that’s always stressful, but thankful to be able to keep my job nonetheless.
I recently found out that one of my best friends may be positive for COVID-19 which is a scary thought. She said she has a dry cough and has had mild fevers on and off, luckily her case doesn’t sound as bad as some of the worst case scenarios out there but it’s still worrisome. She promised she would be super on top of her health and that if anything got worse she would seek medical attention. It just all really sinks in when someone in your life that means so much to you is affected by something like this. All in all, we must carry on and do our parts to stay home, not just for ourselves but for everyone’s well being.
Rebecca (age 27)
I am a teacher for the New York City Department of Education. The last time I saw my students was on Friday March 13th, probably the last day people went out and socialized, before our world was turned upside down. Before schools closed, there was a big hand washing/hand sanitizing push, and students greeted each other with elbow taps instead of high fives and handshakes. On Sunday March 15th, Governor Cuomo announced that NYC schools would be closed until April 20th, or until possibly the end of the school year. With this move, 1.1 million students would be learning remotely from home. This was a huge step in keeping people home and out of public areas.
Teachers were asked to come in the next week Tuesday-Thursday to plan for how we were going to teach remotely from home. It had to be done quickly and efficiently. We practiced social distancing at meetings, making sure no one was sitting close together. We had to contact families to see who had access to computers or tablets. Some teachers were cleaning their rooms like it was June in case we were never coming back. Driving to and from work there was no traffic and the signs read “Stay home. Stop the spread” or “Flatten the curve”.
On Thursday morning, the last in-person planning day, I woke up to a text message saying that someone in our building tested positive. I laid in bed and didn’t know what to do. A lot of teachers I spoke to didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know this person, or work closely with her, but the idea that we entered through the same door was enough to scare me. I was crying thinking how I could’ve brought this sickness to my healthy family. I did not go back to work that day, and I left the majority of my belongings behind. I would not be returning until this was all over.
Some say on March 23rd NYC Schools made history teaching 1.1 million students remotely. It’s an honor to be a part of it, but I think we were just playing a small part in a very big picture. It’s important that students still have a sense of normalcy in their lives and that we don’t let this pandemic have them falling behind. Parents and teachers became one team in their children's education nation-wide. Sharing struggles and funny tweets and memes only brought people closer together emphasizing that we are all in this together.
As I was still nervous I was exposed to the virus in one way or another, I was counting down the days until it had been fourteen days since I had been in my school building. I felt that if I hadn’t shown symptoms after fourteen days I was probably fine. I did not go to any public places. My husband was the one to go shopping for groceries. From the beginning we made the most of being stuck at home. Watching movies, playing games, cooking, cleaning, going on walks, doing things people always say they don’t have time to do. Instagram challenges and family group chats were being made. People were getting creative and making the most out of this time.
Slowly but surely, you started hearing of more people getting sick. I worried for aunts and uncles, and was grateful my grandparents got out of New York as they are in their 80’s. On Monday March 30th, I learned about the passing of one of my school security guards. I didn’t know her well, but it brought tears to my eyes thinking how a familiar face was taken away by this virus. Then on Monday night, day 12 since I had been at work, I started to experience symptoms.
Monday night I started to have a dry cough and started to feel hot like I had a fever, and that’s when I began to self-quarantine. I spent most of Tuesday in bed and when I wasn’t working, I was crying. I can’t pinpoint exactly what was upsetting me. Maybe it was that I could have spread this to my loved ones? Or maybe I was scared to end up in the hospital because of it? Or maybe I was just upset with the entire situation as a whole. Either way, I reached out to friends, family, and my doctor for what to do.
I consider myself lucky for having a cough as really my only symptom. I was very sore from coughing but I didn’t feel horrible. I rested and drank a lot of fluids. The next big question was, do I get tested? I went back and forth on this for over two days hearing opinions and weighing my options. It was stressful just trying to decide! If I got tested and I didn’t have COVID-19 that’s great! But then did I just put myself in a place where I’m vulnerable to get the virus? If I do have it then I keep taking the precautions I’m taking with no medicine or cure? Could I show up at the testing site and be denied because I wasn’t sick enough? So at this point in time, I’m not going to get tested. I’m still taking precautions and I’m starting to feel better! I guess we will see what tomorrow brings.
Zachary Taylor (age 29, Farmingdale)
I don't think there's been a time in recent years where I had an opportunity to clean my basement as much as I have done in the last few days. Ordinarily most of my weekdays consists of commuting back and forth to work out east. But now that I'm working remotely from home, it leaves me with enough time and energy to finally reorganize stuff I haven't seen in years.
I somehow was able to recycle so much old unnecessary paperwork that I threw out 3 massive cardboard boxes worth of paper this past Sunday. I rediscovered old undergrad/grad school assignments spanning over the last decade, many of which being about art history which I felt were worth keeping. Whole photo albums finally got dug out that I haven't seen since the new millennium. Ideas for personal art projects and illustrations unearthed alongside all of these.
In the midst of all this, I finally found my scanner that I put away years ago. It still worked, and I came up with the perfect use for it during this time: digitally scanning and archiving all of this stuff to my hard-drive. This'll easily take days to finish and categorize adequately, but I'll definitely be stuck at home long enough to finish this task with time to spare.