Over the past weeks we have been inviting readers from across the globe to share their COVID-19 stories. We began with views on the pandemic from Thailand, Mexico, Spain and Australia.
Last week we gratefully received contributions from Chile, England, Finland and Portugal.
Although thousands of miles often separate the writers, one consistent theme rings true. COVID-19 is life altering and we as humanity battle a common foe.
This week we welcome contributions from across the United States. Our heartfelt thanks to the authors of these pieces. For those that have provided links to their own blogs or social media we encourage you to visit.
Please know you do not have to have a blog or consider yourself a writer to contribute. You can be anonymous and do not need to provide your full name. Either email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or let us know in the comments below.
Here you will find a safe place to share, find support, compassion, kindness and acceptance.
Table of Contents
COVID 19 – Perspectives from the United States
Anthem, Arizona – Nancy
As I sit here in my Arizona home… I am so thankful we have an outdoor backyard and garden where we can sit and take in the fresh air, view our gardens and “just breath” with out worries. We also have the glorious sun that shines almost daily. Without that sun … the gloom and doom of the COVID -19 virus would worsen my anxiety. The anxiety is real and is an underlying force…as no one wants to get this evil illness.
I have a son who is in healthcare, I have a friend who is in charge of a COVID ICU, and I have older friends. So this hits home with me and it makes me anxious… I worry for them. I have friends who just started businesses… then this craziness happened.
All I can do is pray for all of them… and do my best to sterilize our home and ourselves to keep this evil virus away.
Being part of this series and having read the last two posts from Sue and Dave gave me the realization that Our World is in this together. Hearing from the others around the world somehow eases my thoughts of dread. Because here, on this wonderful blog, I am reading that others are “surviving this pandemic” in so many different ways. It gives me and others… hope! Healing hope!
Together We are Strong! Keep staying home and doing the social distance dance. Together We Can Do This… We are ALL in this together. Better Days are coming!
And I end this with a few Words from the wonderful Folk Group of the 60’s…
“Someday, one day
Time’s not so far away
We can share the dreams we’ve had (my addition… “We Have!”)
Oh, someday, ooh-ooh-ooh!”
I’m Nancy from Two Trails One Road Blog. Sweet Man and I live in Anthem, AZ. Together we are Two Trails that Became One Road! We enjoy adventure, nature and travel. We live in two Paradises. Arizona is home during the winter and Lake Life calls us to Pennsylvania during the summer! I also like to share recipes and home decor on the Blog. You can also find me on Instagram @nance_endless_summer
Brevard, North Carolina – Beth Ann Chiles
The world seemed to shift a little bit when COVID 19 became a pandemic and here in Western North Carolina we have watched as other states in the United States have gone from no cases to having the hospitals overrun with cases. It has been surreal at times. No one can ever predict what the next day will bring but I can honestly say I never thought I would live in the time of a pandemic.
On March 30th Governor Cooper issued the Governor’s Executive Order instructing everyone In NC to stay at home unless they are an essential worker. Gatherings of more than 10 are prohibited and physical distancing of at least 6 feet is in place. Travel is discouraged and parks and gathering places are closed. It is our new normal and we are adjusting to the changes. Restaurants have changed to curbside carry out only and many markets and stores have followed in the same steps offering order and pay ahead curbside service.
My husband and I live in a beautiful community that spans 4000 acres with forest, hiking trails and many amenities. We live on a small lake and have a dock that provides us with a perfect place to sit and relax. My husband has a consulting business and while his travel has been curtailed, he is still able to take calls and is lining up work for when the travel restrictions are rescinded. I have given up my many volunteer jobs and am enjoying time to do reading and crafting. Our lives have changed but we are not essential workers or on the front lines of this pandemic, so it still seems a bit far away from us.
Our oldest son and his wife live in New York City and our youngest son and his wife live in Raleigh. Their chances of being infected and affected by the Coronavirus are much greater than ours at this point just because of the density of people where they live. They are all using very good sense and limiting contact with the outside world at this point. But a mama still worries. I especially worry about my own 90-year-old mom who lives in a Memory Care unit 550 miles away from me. I have canceled my April trip to see her and it is breaking my heart. I wish I had everyone under one roof with me but that is not the case nor is it what we need to be doing at this point.
Our lives have not been affected nearly as much as so many others. We have a full freezer and pantry thanks to a pre – stay at home order trip to Sam’s Club. We have plenty of food and supplies and what we don’t have we can get with curbside pick-up at a local market a mile down the road from us. We live in a place where we can actually get outside and hike and walk without seeing a soul. Yes, my 60th birthday trip to Bermuda has been canceled. Yes, our other travel plans have been canceled for the moment, but I know that we will eventually be able to do that. Not everyone can say that.
The new normal is weird. Every morning we wake up and tell each other what the day and date is. Our days are filled with more down time than we are used to. I spend a lot of time reaching out to others via texts, emails and good old-fashioned snail mail. Checking in with people is important during this time so I have been doing “mental health” checks with friends and family. It’s what I can do to offer support and love so that is my current “job”.
We will come out of this and when we do, I hope we can say we are a kinder and more compassionate country. I have seen so many examples of people stepping up and doing what needs to be done. It gives me hope. Right now, I think hope is what we all need a huge dose of. Stay well, my friends, and keep the hope alive.
Beth Ann warmly welcomes readers to her blog It’s Just Life. There you will read about her travels, family and even her teapot collection. Each month she hosts Comments for a Cause. For each comment received, Beth Ann and her husband donate 50 cents to a charity. This month the chosen charity is WHO – COVID 19 Solidarity Fund. You can also find Beth Ann on Facebook @ItsJustLifeFindingthe ExtraordinaryintheOrdinary and on Twitter @bachiles
Brooklyn, New York – Lia
I press the 4th floor button with a gloved knuckle. The elevator door closes in what feels like an eternity. My breathing is shallow, as a warm breath moistens the fabric of my face covering. The pre-war elevator cranks slowly up its cables. I am grateful not to live any higher than the 4th floor, or surely I’d need to fully inhale.
I stand face-to-face with an “invisible enemy”.
This is my new reality, residing in Brooklyn, New York. Going to the laundry room in the basement, throwing out the trash, or checking the mail have all become potential run-ins with an unwelcome visitor: COVID-19.
Some may wonder why New York City has been so hard hit by the virus. I think one reason may be because most residents here don’t own cars and rely instead on public transportation to get from point A to point B.
And therefore, germs have had a field day here in the Big Apple.
Almost a month ago, I stopped commuting by subways into Manhattan. I’m working from home now. I am lucky. I respect all the essential workers who need to go out despite the quarantine.
In retrospect, during the days leading up to the New York “PAUSE” quarantine, I remember that many subway riders already seemed poised for the invisible enemy.
We crammed ourselves into subway cars, like sardines staring at each other: Does that man over there look sick? Why is that lady rubbing her nose? What if the teen two inches away from me has to sneeze? And when a passenger dared clear his throat, dozens of eyes darted upon that sorry soul as if to scold him for an uncontrollable bodily function.
Other New Yorkers, however, didn’t seem to notice the impending virus visitor.
On one unseasonably warm day in mid-March, the park near my apartment was teeming with residents. There were those who played soccer – others basketball. Some pushed their giggling children on playground swings. Others walked tiny, little dogs on tiny, little leashes.
Nothing seemed to out of the ordinary to the naked eye.
But a week later, the Mayor ordered basketball hoops removed from their backboards: the players couldn’t be trusted to socially distance on their own. And the following day, Parks Department workers officially sealed off our park entrance with temporary wooden barriers draped in DO NOT CROSS police tape.
I pondered how joyously the neighborhood will celebrate when the park would one day be re-opened.
Residents now take walks that are short and solitary. And dogs can no longer linger, sniffing tree trunks. It’s all about hurrying up and going back inside.
To be honest, when the orders came to put New York on “PAUSE”, I was secretly relieved. I wanted the city to go into hibernation. I felt it was the only way to save our citizens against COVID-19.
But the city’s slumber came too late. It was already infected.
A great silence overcame Gotham – a silence I’d never heard before. One that was intermittently broken by the blaring sound of an ambulance. And every time it passed, I prayed for the person inside.
This was the new soundtrack of the city.
Fortunately, most New Yorkers have heeded the call: those who can stay home, do. We worry for those who are sick or jobless and those on the front lines…We mourn the lives our city has lost. We wear face coverings and gloves when we venture outside.
It seems like the new norm.
But there’s something I don’t think I’ll ever get used to: people turning away from me while I walk past them. It’s strange. I understand why they do it, however. I unconsciously do the same.
I wonder if this knee-jerk reaction will remain once the quarantine is lifted?
This week, the city’s soundtrack has changed a bit. The frenetic pace of ambulance sirens has slowed down. I hope it represents a downward trending of the curve.
I’m trying to stay more positive now.
And if anything “good” has come from the quarantine, it’s that I hear birds chirping when I wake. The birds were always there, but their song had been drowned out by the everyday hubbub of cars, pedestrians, and city life overall.
The other day, I swear I even heard a woodpecker…. Perhaps he flew down from a northern suburb in search of a tree that grows in Brooklyn?
Lia is a native New Yorker, living in Brooklyn. She works helping students in language arts. In her spare time, she loves to cook for her family, write, tend to her plants, and surf the internet for recipes, travel blogs, and funny memes.
Houston, Texas – Lexie Klein
What a great idea Sue had to solicit input from readers all over the world on how their worlds have changed in the current Covid-19 environment! I have very much enjoyed the other installments and was pleased to be asked to contribute as well, so here’s a look at our alternate reality these days in Houston, Texas:
Texas has a Republican governor and many residents who are outspoken believers in individual rights and independent policies – don’t forget this was once its own republic! As a result, our governor was very slow to lock down the state, but as of a few weeks ago, we were officially supposed to be staying at home. Unfortunately, there are still a good number of people in certain parts of the state (and in pockets throughout it) who think this is overkill and that it’s OK to gather in large churches and in parks, and that the economy, especially oil and gas, is more important than saving lives. On our eastern border is Louisiana, where Covid is rampant in and around New Orleans; as a result, we now have roadblocks entering Texas, and while no one is being turned back, everyone coming in must provide contact information for random check-ins to be sure they are truly quarantining for a mandatory 14 days. But who knows if any of this is working because Texas is currently second-to-last in terms of testing in the U.S. Because we have done fewer tests per capita here than any state but Kansas, some experts suggest that we have up to 10 times as many cases as we think we do. We’d better keep following the suggestion of this boarded-up restaurant sign that I captured on one of my walks!
At the same time, Texas can be a study in contradiction because we have three of the largest cities in the entire U.S., all of which were wiser and quicker to react, and the one I live in, Houston, is the most diverse city in the U.S. and is run by a much more liberal and proactive set of leaders. Even when Texas as a whole was not under an official lockdown order, all of our major cities were. And well before that mandate was handed down, most people here in Houston were taking it pretty seriously to protect themselves and others, so our restaurants and other non-essential businesses have been shuttered for weeks now. Like many people and places in the world, a good number of us are currently wearing masks in public to protect ourselves and others. The testing problem is here, too, though, and our date for peak cases is still over a week away while other states are apparently reaching theirs now or earlier. We have many enormous hospitals and other medical facilities here, yet the city is still making back-up plans; let’s hope we don’t need all the beds we have or project needing.
In our own household of just my husband and myself, life on the surface looks pretty much the same, but underneath J’s long workdays and my somewhat abbreviated ones is an on-and-off wave of stress. J is working to keep his company and its customers afloat, and he has the unenviable task of assessing his workforce for needed reductions. In the weeks since we have been home, J has had to let some employees go, and to share the pain, he has cut his own and other management salaries.
While he is making major decisions upstairs, I have been making dozens of masks for our family and others, cleaning like a fiend, honing my coloring and puzzle-doing skills, and cooking way more often than I have in recent years. We have limited our grocery shopping to very infrequent runs and have experimented with pick-up and delivery services (not a fan of either so far). We were trying to order some take-out food to support our local businesses, but we have now slowed that down as well after hearing that many restaurant workers are not being protected. And we are wiping down everything that enters our house from outside in a way that is very foreign to me as a past non-worrier about things like this!
We are trying to get outdoors for a run, a walk, or a bike ride at least once a day, which we are lucky to still be able to do. It’s a good thing that I am in training for another mountain endurance event (which may end up being cancelled anyway) because I am motivated to get out and work off all the extra food I seem to be cooking and eating while stuck at home!
We are keeping in almost daily contact with our three kids who all live in different states and who are all behaving as we are. We don’t have any idea when we might see them or our siblings or parents, all of whom live far away. My main worries are related to family, most immediately how my son and his wife will handle her upcoming delivery of our first grandchild and how we might be able to help or even get to them at that time. My elderly parents are now back in their main home after a rushed and stressful exit from our house here to a winter home in Georgia and then back to their northern home. I worry about their ability to cope with all the new rules, particularly because they seem much too cavalier about things to me.
Overall, I am grateful to live in this warm and pleasant place where I can open my door and be on tree-shaded neighborhood streets even though I live in the heart of the city just minutes away from downtown. I’m even luckier that we have a house to isolate ourselves in, the resources to ride this out, and in my case, a chance to be quiet and still a bit more than usual, to focus on the simpler things in life.
Sending wishes to all your readers to stay healthy, safe, and sane!
Lexie describes herself as a restless, world-wandering, language-loving, book-devouring traveler trying to straddle the threshold between a traditional, stable family life and a free-spirited, irresistible urge to roam. A pretty happy camper (literally), but there is some angst as well as excitement in always having one foot out the door. We encourage you to visit Lexie’s fascinating blog One Foot Out The Door.
Las Vegas, Nevada – Paul Douglas
Since March 18, when the governor ordered a statewide shutdown of all casinos in Nevada, all businesses regarded as non-essential were also closed. During the shutdown, my wife and I have been classified as elderly, at considerable risk, and ordered to stay indoors. This is not by any federal, state, nor local edict but by our adult daughter who now calls us every day to find out where we are and what we are doing. She has been ordering groceries for us online and from Costco but instructing us to wear gloves when we receive the packages and store them in the garage for 3 days before opening them. This is the same woman who, up until last week, was allowing her kids to play with their friends outside. I was able to escape on my own early one morning to pick up some essentials. Quite a few stores have instituted senior hours when those over 60 or 65 can shop for an hour before the regular customers. Still, I found our local stores were bereft of rice, most canned goods and, of course, toilet paper. But everyone- customer and cashier alike- was friendly and mindful of social distancing. Though we live in relative comfort, we are mindful of all those who do not. Recently, a local shelter for the homeless was closed down when 1 man tested positive for Covid-19 and a Las Vegas parking lot became the temporary shelter for 500 others. Former Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro tweeted, “… there are 150K hotel rooms in Vegas going unused right now. How about public private cooperation to temporarily house them there?”
Any bets on how that will turn out?
Yesterday we ventured out for a drive down the strip to see how eerie the deserted sidewalks might seem. Our days, of late, have been spent wondering what we should make for dinner, grateful that we still have food. We begin cooking around 4 pm so that we can finish early and go to bed around 9. In that respect we have turned into our parents- early to bed and early to rise. But it is a very long day when you spend most of it glued to your laptop. We don’t watch tv so the evenings simply drag on when you can’t go out. And social media is no longer as attractive as it once was. I told my wife this morning that I probably could stay in isolation until May 7. When she asked why that date, I told her, “because that’s the day I run out of wine.”
Paul is the owner of Emilio Pasquale Photography. The company name is in honor of his grandfather Emilio, and his uncle Pasquale, who both immigrated to the United States from Italy around 1919. Paul has been retired from a 25 year career in film for several years now and, along with his wife, has plans to travel the 2,278 miles (3,665 km) Route 66 from Santa Monica, California to Chicago, Illinois as soon as restrictions are lifted. We encourage you to view a collection of his work at Emilio Pasquale Photography. You can also find him on Facebook where he admits to, currently, spending way too much time.
Los Angeles, California – Kirt Tisdale
It seems like a lifetime ago that the COVID-19 virus was first identified entering the United States in Seattle, Washington and then northern California. Living in Southern California we knew it wouldn’t be long before cases surfaced down here. As February progressed, so did the outbreak. With March right around the corner, we started to wonder whether or not we should cancel or keep our plans to fly up to Seattle. Two of our daughters and their husbands live in the Seattle area and we had planned a trip to spend a long weekend from March 5 returning to LA on March 10 to celebrate our youngest daughter and her husbands 30th birthday (they are 5 days apart). That particular weekend was important for a couple of reasons…I had a surgery scheduled in two weeks and they were planning on spending their actual birthdays in Cabo, Mexico. We decided to go ahead but took masks and disinfectant wipes for the flight up and back (flights were half empty at that point). We had a great weekend and celebrated birthdays at a local winery with our two daughters, their husbands and our youngest daughters’ “in-laws”.
The week we returned home became the week we sequestered ourselves. Anyone over the age of 60 was asked to stay home. The following week the shut down began and my surgery was cancelled. Along with the shut down and being sequestered, we learned our daughter’s mother-in-law was diagnosed with COVID-19 and we had been exposed the night we were at the winery with them.
Fast forward to today and we have been sequestered for over 4 weeks, our daughter’s mother-n-in-law had a mild fever and since has recovered. Her husband and none of the rest of us (exception my wife) had any symptoms. My wife had a day where she felt a little off and had a slight fever on and off, so doctor cleared her for testing. It came back negative.
This part of the world like most places now is in complete shut down except for health care workers and workers in businesses that are deemed critical to keep open like grocery stores. It has taken the full four weeks to get that situation into a safer mode…everyone in gloves, masks and spaced 6 feet apart to go into the store. Only a certain number of people at a time are allowed. For us, we have either delivery or now they have re-opened pick-up where you order ahead…they let you know when it’s ready and you pull up to a designated spot…text them you are there, pop your trunk and they put the bags in without you doing anything.
The one thing that I have seen when I took my wife for testing and on our grocery pick up trips is how empty the Los Angeles freeways are. I have never seen them with so few cars. It is eerie for anyone who knows how congested the LA freeways are almost 24 hrs a day.
On a daily basis, we stay apprised of the status of the country starting with the national debriefing followed by California Governor debriefing and then Los Angeles mayor debriefing.
Socially we are on FaceTime almost daily with our two grandchildren (3 and 1), our daughters and son-in laws and siblings and friends across the country. Gotta love the internet!! My favorite use was the Saturday night our daughter and her husband would have been in Cabo (cancelled). We did a Zoom conference Happy Hour with all three daughters, their husbands and the two grand children to celebrate their birthdays as a family.
We find ourselves no less busy than normal, something is always surfacing that needs addressed. We workout in some form or other daily (we have a stationary bike). And those times when we need to take a pause, whether it be early morning for coffee and or late afternoon for a glass of wine, we are blessed with a beautiful garden/patio to relax in.
Be well! Be safe!!
Kirt lives in Los Angeles with his wife Gail. Kirt is an avid digital artist who has turned his passion for photography into a variety of art forms. Kirt’s weekly blog thewallgalleryblog features his work and his passion. Kirt and Gail have been married for 46 years and have three adult daughters, three son-in-laws and two grandchildren. Family is the core of their life. You can also find Kirt on Twitter @KirtWallGallery and on Facebook @The WallGallery.KirtTisdale
Our sincere thanks for the contributions to this COVID-19 collaboration. If you would like to participate in a future post let us know in the comments below or send an email to email@example.com
Be well, stay home and reach out if you need support.