The whole world is now affected by coronavirus.
Physically, we need to stay separate and apart as never before in modern times. Mentally, however, the situation brings us together in a common effort to handle and control the contamination.
Here are 200 words from around the world.
We have received texts from the countries marked with red. Further testimonies will be added continuously.
Working from home wasn’t previously an alternative in my company, but with the pandemic that suddenly had to change. From talk about getting ready, to WFH happening was literally overnight - my boss called me and told me not to come to the office the next day. By now the entire company, around the globe, is working from home.
I think it was when all St. Patrick’s Day celebrations were cancelled that I realised how serious this was. By now almost everything is closed, including the pubs. Socialising here often centres around going to “your local”, so my friends and I have set up a virtual pub. Using a free voice communication program, we now head online to “the Social Distance Inn” every Friday, each bringing their drink of choice, for games and chats.
I worry about my friends that have lost their jobs, and for the small, local businesses that have no idea how long they are going to stay closed. I’m lucky in that I can work from home, and my life is inconvenienced, but still relatively similar to before.
I can’t even imagine how this is going to change everything. Just like going to the airport is forever different after 9/11, I think this will change society as a whole. We are living through the point of change right now, without knowing what that change will be.
My life has been hugely affected by coronavirus. Work-wise, I look after holiday rentals and translate for meetings for a community administration, so income has totally dried up. It is a worry across the whole area, as we really want to see people return as tourists and for secondary homes, not only because of money, but because we believe in Andalucía that the good things are to be shared.
Money aside, it has been strangely emotional. From the 8pm “clap o´clock” as we call it at home to the unity between neighbours here in my community, it has been very uplifting. But as an environmentalist and animal rescuer, it is also hugely frustrating and disheartening. For YEARS we have had to listen to the various powers that things cannot change, yet clearly it can be done, so clearly change does not come because not enough people want it to. It is breaking my heart to see plastic gloves blowing around after the fantastic progress that was being made with regard to reducing plastic and waste.
So, highs and lows, but with family and friends we are all pulling through. Best wishes.
My wife and I live in a large apartment building on 52nd street, Manhattan. They used to call it the “street of jazz”. All the famous New York jazz clubs were there.
Mid-town Manhattan is all about sound, noise if you want. Music. People screaming, traffic and, above all, the sirens of first responders, police and ambulances.
Living close to a hospital, for years I’ve heard sirens 24/7. But, as of today (April 4th, 2020), on Manhattan there are no sirens no more. The authorities decided to turn them off on ambulances (except in real emergencies) because sirens might distress the population. This silence is killing us. It’s not natural for Manhattan. There’s no jazz no more on Manhattan, New York.
Joe and Jose
“Civil unrest” is a key concept on Manhattan today, April 4th 2020. The fear is that desperate people will do horrible things in horrible situations.
The story is always the same. There’s this 28 year old guy with a wife and two young kids. He’s a construction worker in Queens (in New York). Just lost his job because of the virus. He doesn’t have any savings whatsoever. His kids are hungry. His wife looks at him accusingly. He teams up with his other desperate friends and goes over the East River to take something from the rich people on Manhattan; something he can convert into food for his kids.
The Democrats call him Joe, a roughneck from the South. The Republicans claim he’s Jose. An undocumented immigrant. I think he’s just a human being.
Military on Manhattan
It’s generally accepted that guns and the military have always fascinated the Americans. Just watch Hollywood. Or read the 2nd Amendment.
Manhattan is slowly but steadily turning into a military base. Military dressed guys on the streets. National guard personnel going between medical installations to pick up medical supplies. Often disagreeing with the owner. Army engineers operating this large field hospital in Central Park. They even have tanks to protect the tents. The US Navy operating a hospital ship on the Hudson River.
There’s a famous Gun Shop on Madison Avenue. I went there to arm up. It seemed the right thing to do to defend my wife, the dog and me. I wasn’t successful in buying anything useful. Something to do with my passport, apparently.
It was a relief to see a large shotgun under the desk of the doorman of my mid-town Manhattan apartment building. Then I knew everything was going to be ok.
Corona virus is more questioning, more reflecting.
It is choosing to tell your dad you can’t come over for dinner; and no, we can’t get pizza ‘to go’ and eat it in the apartment either.
Corona virus is no hugs, no kisses, no intimacy, no sex.
It is choosing not to physically connect with the person that makes you smile when they text you but you didn’t realize you were smiling, and normally your friend would ask “Okay, who are you texting”
Corona virus is more sit on the lawn on a sunny day with a book and coffee and meet Nancy and talk about the neighbourhood.
It is more..
Reading, more piano, more bread making, more cooking, more fermenting, more runs, more stretching, more appreciation, more catching up with old friends from far away, more coffee, more cleaning, more hard decisions, more social media more...
More why do I have to fill all my time up with activities?
NO NETFLIX ALLOWED.
It’s more restraint.
Corona virus is more community, more unity.
It’s more telling people that you appreciate them. That you love them.
Corona virus is patience.
And it sucks.
St. Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands
Guernsey is a tiny island. Moving here, I instantly felt I had come home. Island life was safe, crime almost non-existing, friendly, an open-door society like the rural Denmark where I grew up. It felt safe and somehow as if the world’s problems couldn’t reach our little bubble. I naively thought we might escape it. Wrong.. no-body is safe – my bubble has burst! I can’t go to work and everything is sur-real. I walk my dogs on the cliffs or beaches and enjoy the sound of the sea and the birds, the beauty of bluebells flowering and looking over the horizon, I can forget about reality. As the day passes and I get overwhelmed with news and social media, I go to bed with a feeling of dread. Everyone is at home – no final school exams – unsure future ahead for everyone – frustrated youngsters can’t go to the gym, school, can’t meet friends, frustration in the air as to what the future will or more likely won’t bring - on the upside we spend more time together and the garden has never been so well tended. I still wake up to sunshine but see trouble brewing on the horizon…
Geraldine Rukasha Kowe
The true meaning of Globalisation became evident when the news of the first case of the Corona virus hit neighbouring South Africa on the 5th of March, 2020. All along, the disease seemed far out of reach and the distance gave me a false sense of security that we were safe.
As a Beekeeper and Organic Farmer, my day would consist of packaging and trying to meet the demand for honey and moringa powder in and around Harare while expanding the market to other potential customers through advertising. As a young mother of 3, running a business was possible because I was able to take my children to school where they would receive the care they needed while I was working. As an African visiting friends and family during the holidays is part of our culture, ‘Ubuntu’, it is who we are and what gives us our identity, sharing what we have farmed and earned as one big family. This all came to a halt when the Corona virus descended onto Zimbabwean soil like an uninvited guest changing every aspect of what I considered to be a normal day in my life.
Suddenly, what mattered the most to me seized to matter any more as I made the conscious decision to withdraw my children from school earlier than the announcement that followed from our Government to ban social gatherings and start preparing for social distancing. Making sales and reaching daily targets seized to matter in an instant as fear of the virus creeped in and survival mode kicked into action. Preparing for lockdown almost immediately became priority and it felt as though we were preparing for an apocalyptic event, a war of sorts, a feeling that I never expected to experience in my lifetime.
Having to explain to my 5-year-old son that this Holiday he will not be able to visit his Grandparents because of the Corona virus, teaching him the need to social distance. I believe it will take me a long time for going back into society to become normal and safe again, life as we know it has already begun to change.
New Delhi, India
I am quarantined at home with my brother and my cat. Before the pandemic, my work hours were quite light as I already did a good amount of work at home, so quarantine life is more or less the same. I’ve been keeping myself busy by indulging in creative activities and catching up on movies. That’s the good part. The more worrying part of this lockdown is that my parents, who are in their 50s, are in two separate places; my dad is in Denmark, while my mom is in her hometown village in the Northeastern part of India. My dad will be fine, but my mom is in a location where the people are lax about social distancing and getting to a good medical facility would take about two hours’ drive. Another worrying aspect is the racism that people like me have been facing. Northeastern Indians have more mongoloid features, and so, there have been cases of racism and harassment with people calling us “corona”. Recently, a woman was spat at and the perpetrator was let off with a light punishment. So, living in the capital, there is always some tension for us while stepping out to buy groceries.
I arrived two months ago when everything was as usual up here in Greenland. At that time no one was talking about the Corona virus yet. A lot has happened since.
There are 11 cases of Corona in Greenland, all located in the capital, Nuuk. Even though, most of the people in the south is really scared. The schools and restaurants are closed, and people wear masks and keep distance.
At the hospital I work at, at lot has changed.
We have the front doors locked, and have everybody call and arrange consultations, picking up medicines, visiting patients etc.
We have prepared rooms on the ward for Corona patients. Although we’re all hoping that it won’t be necessary. Most of all because we don’t have the educated staff or facilities to take care of patients in a critical condition like that. There is around 6.300 people living here in the south of Greenland and we only have one respirator in the hospital. If it should end up with this, we will have to evacuate the patient by a helicopter to Nuuk.
No one knows that the future will bring. That’s somehow scary itself.
“The coming weeks and months will truly be a baptism of fire for many of you.” This was a line written in a congratulatory letter from the Vice-Chancellor of my university after I, like thousands of other final year medical students across the UK, graduated three months early in order to start working as junior doctors in the NHS. Graduating without sitting finals feels a bit like running 25 miles of a marathon before being stopped and given the medal anyway. Imposter syndrome will no doubt be rife among many of us when we start work on the front-line in coming weeks. Our seniors tell us that no one ever feels truly ready for their first day as a doctor, but I think starting your clinical career in the middle of a global pandemic somehow has the edge. That being said, we have trained for many years and have shed genuine blood, sweat, and tears in order to work in this profession. Support and guidance from our seniors have never been more important. We may be nervous, but we are as ready as we can be.
New York City, USA
As you well know, New York is currently the epicenter of COVID outbreaks. We’ve become America’s Wuhan. Nowhere has this stealthy killer’s destruction been made more evident to me than in the daily - hourly - sounds of ambulances racing by my home, piercing the eerie silence. We are New Yorkers - loud and boisterous, effervescent and creative - now almost leveled by the incomprehensible. All I can do, what I’ve been redirected to from within, is to meditate and pray.
to the sound of
singing birds & sirens
into the afternoon
& the dead of night
& the wee hours of
(as birds sleep)
screeching sirens plead
Our last moment is waving kisses in the air. Neither of us knows this had been the last touch and kiss. It feels like ages since he left Istanbul and I cried in the airport after he flew. I went home to my same old world without him and he went back to his life in Copenhagen. Only the next day everything changed, all airports closed one by one and all of his tickets were canceled, and I should have hugged him tighter.
I look out of my window, one day sunny, one day rainy and one day cloudy, but honestly it does not matter anymore, I am inside all day and every day, I cannot see him at weekends and the only hope is a small thing in my sweater pocket that he brought for me last time, a smart phone. I never told him that he became the meaning of my life and when he is not here, there is no need for me to wake up in the morning or sleep at night. These days, everybody is talking about coronavirus but I am just thinking why a refugee in Turkey should fall in love with a Danish man? At least I have love, and that is not a small thing.
I have seen my life being transformed in a very short space of time. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed my everyday life. The government has imposed a 21-day lockdown. Today its day 7. I have been staying indoors most of the time. I stay in a block of flats, so it means I have no garden to sit in. I spend my days inside.
I am fortunate that I have been able to attend online meeting daily. I have been able to chat with friends and connect via various social media platforms. A lot of people I know are not as fortunate. I have a cousin who has been making a livelihood selling vegetables in one of the high-density suburbs. Right now, she is not able to do that because of the lockdown. She does not know how she will manage to raise money for school fees for her two children and other necessities.
I don’t know what the next few days will be like in terms of my work. I have been having a few online meetings, but this are external meetings which are not necessarily bringing money to the organisation. Its difficult to tell how we will survive.
A 25-year-old friendship of mine might become the first COVID19 victim in my life.
Reason? Politicization of the worst crisis for humanity in my lifetime.
Being a Dane, living in Shanghai in China, I experience how biased media coverage and stigmatization of nations prevent actions that could save lives if we collaborated instead of continued to bash each other in political opposition.
It’s not oppressive authorities that put bodies in the hallways of hospitals or make nurses break down. It’s despair, when you’re faced with a crisis that no one has been able to prepare for.
Does it limit my personal freedom that I’m tracked through an app on my smartphone? Yes, it does. But if I’m asked to adhere to that for a period of time to break infection chains, then I’m happy to do it.
Is it annoying to wear a mask? Certainly, but it gives my fellow Chinese citizens a sense of psychological safety and therefore also the courage to revert to a more normalized life. And then it also prevents me from picking my nose or biting my nails after having just touched the button in the elevator.
Compassion and collaboration will get us there.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Dear Corona Virus,
When I was 13, I contracted a virus.
At 19, I had my first kidney transplant. Doctors told me the Virus might return and take it away. So, I had a choice. To live a soul-smothering life of emotional paralysis, or to live fully, in spite of my fear.
Your tactics do not scare me. None of these restrictions feel foreign. I populate a planet of illness and pain. A world of cancellations, financial turmoil, and near death.
I know all about long days at home. Drug addiction, neuropathy, migraine and renal failure. Immunosuppression has stolen much of my peace. I will not let you do the same.
I choose soap, sanitizers and sanctuary. Zoom meetings, sobriety and the sanctity of a shared smile. I choose the power of prayer, mediation and virtual Yahtzee games. Husband and hound. Hope. And the knowledge that living fully is not defined by my physical limitations.
Fear of a virus did not snatch my 19-year-old heart and it will not corrupt my 51-year-old soul.
Do your worst. You will not take my best.
You are looking for people like me, but will not answer the call.
Santa Monica, USA
Trine C. Jensen
My muse was coughing last week and now she’s lying in a respirator lifeless, fighting for her life, for her right to inspire me, which she does flitting around the flowers like a hummingbird when she’s well, that is. Now she’s being breathed by a machine. I wonder if she dreams while she’s lying there. Before this she was suffocating in trivial busyness. She dreams of physical connection, of rehearsals and improvisation where the subtleties of human interactions are laid bare for all to see, where the intimacy is palpable in the thick air between the curtains in the wings. She dreams the audience sits quietly in expectant suspense, and when suddenly the poignant, funny, touching, utterly human transpires on the stage, the audience moves in one breath sharing a moment of oneness in the dark. She dreams that all people wake up to that oneness, and live and work and love forever forward, with that oneness top of mind. My muse wakes up and finds the world afraid, panicked and in grief over lost ones, yet she has recovered from the virus, and goes forth with immunity inspiring whoever she is assigned to along her path.
When I first learned about Covid-19, I was at work with my co-workers; we were joking around thinking it was nothing serious, and that we – living in a safe and privileged country such as Canada –wouldn’t get affected. This was back in mid-January. Fast-forward two months later, and we couldn’t have been more wrong. It was only a matter of time until we were told that Covid-19 wasn’t just any disease, and that strict measures and precautions needed to be taken in order to avoid getting sick, or worse. This meant that we now had to stay home unless we needed to buy essentials such as groceries, and strictly observe social distancing. By mid-March, things started to escalate very quickly. Schools, libraries, and most businesses closed. Thousands of people lost their jobs. The government of Canada went far enough to impose strict regulations against individuals who did not observe social distancing as means to protect oneself; this included imposing hefty fines.
As a married mother of two young children, I consider myself quite privileged during this pandemic. While mothering in the time of Corona hasn’t been easy, I was able to keep my job and work from home. My husband runs his own business, and even though it has slowed down, we are still able to manage. However, we try our best to help those in our community who may not have the means to make it through this pandemic as smoothly; especially other fellow mothers. Taking care of each other and especially our mental health is critical right now. At least, it’s the only positive we should owe ourselves in a global crisis like this.
Lake Victoria, Tanzania
I am fine and the family is fine. We were informed of corona cases in Tanzania and all 19 cases (with reported one death) contained under quaranteen in isolation camps almost all in Dar and that most of them are foreigners. We were informed of pne case a long track driver, who tried to enter our kagera region from neighbour country through Ngara border but was detected and contained. The government and MOHCDGEC has reinforced preventive measures up to village level. School of all level closed for a month waiting to see how we contain the corona pandemic virus. We are at high alert but the life is still normal continuing with our normal economic activities, restricted socio,-activities, washing hands and no shaking hands while greeting each other. Generally, life is still calm, normal but careful and high alert.
It got awkward on 13 March. I was on my way home from Berlin (where I work) to Warsaw (where I live with my wife and son). Unexpectedly, the airline made us wait 45 minutes on the tarmac at Tegel airport. When we finally boarded it all looked like a misunderstanding. However, while we were up in the air Poland announced a suspension of all air and rail travel, and that it would close its borders the following night. Rather than enjoying a quiet weekend we had to jump-start a contingency plan.
My professional life in the public sector continues with minor changes but the measures designed to contain the crisis deprive us of our binational family life. We have only been able to ’meet’ online, making video calls. Step by step we had to get acquainted with the idea that this would take longer than a fortnight; that I would miss my wife’s birthday; that we cannot celebrate Easter together; that our family holidays would not come true; that we would not even know when we will be able to meet again.
Recently I have made some optimistic travel arrangements for the second half of April. Will they materialize?
Covid 19 hit my country in late Januray, and at the same time my mamogram test showed that I had a tumor. It had to be removed ASAP. I had the operation done on Feb 18th. Shortly after I needed an ONCOTYPE test, which is bood cells count to make sure if I need Chemo- the test was not done due to the sanctions on Iran by Trump Administration,we have big shortage out here. So my doctors ordered 6 chemo regardless, as I am stage 3 breast cancer. I have done 2 sessions so far, and I feel fine, tired a bit and already my hair is falling. Here hospitals are full with Covid cases, but I got mt seconf chemo and all is good so far. I have no other option but to do it, and hoping for the sanctions removal at least on medicine and test kits. We are on lockdown by choice. We have 50000 cases and about 4000 deaths due to Covid. I am hopefull and I know I will beat this.
New York, USA
There are countless experts in the field of virology and epidemiology who strongly believe that the economic measures taken globally make little sense in that there are other ways to combat this flu like virus. But their voices are being suppressed by the mainstream. Everyday the NY Governor talks about masks, ventilators and beds, but never mentions in any depth or real compassion or concern about the millions laid off of workers sent home with absolutely zero benefit compensation in hand. This is appalling. And potentially far more genocidal than any flu like strain.
The richest country in the world possesses record populations for inmates, homelessness, medically uninsured, opioid and drug addicted, billionaires and nations bombed to the stone age. What does that say? A gross systematic lack of compassion for citizens.
Yet suddenly a strain not too dissimilar from the Flu has caused this compassionate government to lay off workers without pay, shut down hoards of small businesses, and is threatening martial law and destroying the economy for ever, to of course “Protect citizens.”
Does this make any sense?
Fear porn dominates the news at the expense of thinking and reason. An Autocrat’s dream.
Kuol Arou Kuol
THE EFFECTS OF THE COVID-19 ON THE REFUGEE.
Refugees especially the South Sudanese Refugee in Uganda’s west Nile region and Adjumani district in particular are subjected to an immeasurable amount of suffering by the COVID-19 .The Virus has brought almost all the refugee services to a standstill, among the services includes food distribution, access to finances and health care. The national step taken by the government to close its border saw thousands of refugees stranded at the border, many of them had just crossed to buy and sell essential good across the border when the immediate closure of the border was announced. Those that the order the order found on the other side were asked to remain there until the 32 days of the shutdown announced by the president were over. The stranded refugees included lactating mothers who had left their children behind and made use of the Uganda’s highly praised open border policy on refugees to sell and buy stuff.
Suddenly after the closure of the border, the refugees were brutalized; some were beaten or had their belongings confiscated by the Ugandan security agents. The movement issues and the separation of families are few among the many issues facing the refugees.
Just a day before the president announced the measures of curbing the spread of the virus, the long delayed distribution of food ratio had just began but it was stopped a day later after the president banned gathering of more than ten people. With the follow up and pleading from the refugee leaders who are visibly seeing signs and possibilities of starvation in the community, the distribution was resumed. The resumption was worth celebrating, but that did not last before the announcement was made by the distributing authorities that the next food ratio was being reduced by 30% due to lack of funding cause by the pandemic. That means each refugee that was getting $8,which was not even enough to keep up with the levels of inflation in Uganda, will now be getting about $5 per month, even as the prices are increasing further.
As the starving refugees are staying in their homes, hoping for the best those who can get extra support from their families and friends back home have no way to receive it as banks are hours away. The mobile money service which can easily be accessed for people in South Sudan and elsewhere in the world to send money to their loved one in the settlements depends on Uganda’s open border as the agents in South Sudan buy their operation slot from Uganda. The few withdrawal points in the settlement are overwhelmed with the number of withdraws and are already out of cash. So we are here seated in a state of despair , praying that we don’t starve to death before the Corona takes tolls.
Houston, Texas, USA
Another day of social distancing since The Event. New normal. Practicing what I preach. STAY HOME DUDE! Round midday my Mom, a decade shy of being a centenarian phoned . I miss her, Mom was in my driveway. Drove crosstown to check on her only son. I couldn’t summon the courage or heart to scold her for not staying home. She didn’t warn me she was coming because she knew I would have stopped her. She wanted to make sure I was eating well and taking my meds. She wanted to embrace me and kiss me but I could only afford her a side hug for fear of...you know. Later as her tiny frame rested in my sitting chair reading news on her smart phone she looked at me with eyes so full of sadness asking how long this will last. She is home safe now surrounded by all those things Mothers keep to comfort them in their old age but I know that eventually my phone will ring again and that magnificent woman, a decade shy of being a centenarian will be in my driveway again and I will be helpless to stop her.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
-THE TRUTH I AM GETTING CRAZY!!!
My name is Workineh Legesse i am living with my wife and my two children’s in Addis Ababa Ethiopia and i am working as a tour guide.
I don’t know from where i start and what kinds of words can i use about my job my family with this situation.
As you know my life is based on Tourism and because of the virus everything is shot down and my income is totally getting negative from the very beginning, my two children are staying at home the prices of everything is getting rise up everyday and i am living with a lot of stresses and thinking the whole days about what will happen on my family if things getting more worse ,specially on my economic situation to stay my family’s alive. In general my economic situations are more in dangers than the virus.
God be with us
Worku from old Ethiopia
Ramat Gan, Israel
*Corona Time in Ramat Gan*
I look outside the window and it seems as if the people of Earth had left it to another planet. Empty beaches, wild animals in the streets of the dead sea area, flowers are at their prime of the bloom and no one there to enjoy it.
Hello, my name is Idit Haimoff and this is my third week in isolation. I am a mother of two plus 3 bonus children from my spouse’s side. In normal days, I teach English at Safra Children’s Hospital at Shiba, one of the leader hospitals in the Middle East. I am used to viruses of all sorts, but the Corona has taken all of us into a new era. In the past few weeks, the government of Israel enforces new restrictions by the day. Some say too little too late, yet no one could have predicted the velocity and volume of this worldwide epidemic. We don’t visit our parents, since we don’t want to risk them, the news broadcasts bring about terrible news about people who got sick and worst, people who died. Zoom has become our daily routine with schools and work from a distance. Alco-Gel, face masks, eggs and toilet paper have become rare to find.
In a few days will celebrate Passover, for the first time without 30 people around the Seder table.
The world has gone crazy and a new world is waiting outside. Hopefully we will be wise enough to appreciate the little things we now crave for.
Since March 14th, when the Spanish government declared the emergency state and
finally took the first measures, I videocall people in my family and friends more than
ever before, even if we do not have much to explain, we need to feel we are there for
each other. I call my little cousins and make them work out with me, trying to distract
them, and I am surprised they understand better the situation than myself.
Everyone is trying their best to live a new normality, that includes the daily music
concerts my neighbors are playing from their balconies too. I feel more kindness in
every interaction with people, but also an increasing mistrust in our Spanish and
I personally feel angry for the years of cuts in my country’s healthcare and the
government’s slow action regarding this crisis, because at the end, that is what is
costing lives. Nevertheless, I also know now is time to do just one thing at a time and
focus on taking care of my family and myself. Cheering us up is more important now
than ever, I will worry about finding another job and graduating from university later.
London, United Kingdom
Jacob Utzon Krefeld
I don’t like being alone all the time, it feels like I’m disappearing. There’s so much time.
But the fact is, nothings really changed. The virus didn’t change anything.
I thought the virus was going to change everything.
But the virus didn’t change anything.
Zoe de Linde
It all began with elbows and a Belgian supermarket joke, a free Mort Subite (beer) for every two Coronas. But within barely a week the world had retreated into their homes, offices were barred, school playgrounds silenced. All hailed “Flatten the curve”. However as stillness crept in, new life leapt out. Schools unfolded into bedrooms, children laughed as they played hide and seek in Roblox. Myles’ actors across the globe, embraced, schemed and slaughtered on our screens from within their living rooms, making mockery of those wanton boys. Even swimming clubs defied defeat, offering skipping to keep muscles rippling. The joy of the mute button, silencing all but those we wish to hear. My sweet boy’s whisper in my ear “Pinch punch mummy, first of the month”. April fools no one. At eight each evening, we pause to follow the applause out into the street for health workers or perhaps life itself.
Dumaguete City Negros Oriental, Philippines
Glenna Y. Ozoa
How this Pandemic Corona Virus affect to me and my family.
It is a huge problem now all over the world.
Me and my family are dealing with this pandemic crisis thru prayers and having faith to our Lord Jesus Christ. And by following the government rules by staying home. In this time of crisis it’s affect our daily lives, especially our needs and our jobs. Being the breadwinner of our family, I don’t know where to get help to sustain our needs. Government is helping us but we also understand the delayed and the population of the Philippines. So, we are running out of savings and foods to sustain our daily needs. My Mother and Father are old and they are just also depending on the help of the government and children. But because everywhere is locked down, we cannot provide the needs of our family. I supposed to process my papers applying for Canada but when this Corona virus started I lost hope and started to worry about our tomorrow and the following days even our future. My siblings also are worried thay they lost their jobs and soon they also running out of savings and soon maybe we are starving. And my worried is my Mother and Father since they are old enough. We are safe staying home. But we are very worried about our situations if this will take long. Most of the time we can’t help but cry. I’m just hoping and praying that in this situation right now, Miracles happen.
God bless us to all.
My whole office of 30+ staff has moved to working from remote on Sunday 15th March. The COVID-19 pandemic worsened the already dire situation of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip where we are currently supporting 10 quarantine facilities in Rafah Governorate. In the West Bank my focus is to provide pre-screening tents to healthcare facilities, at the moment 29 facilities are supported this way - aiming to reduce morbidity among patients and healthcare staff alike (I attach photos of these tents).
I am home-bound with my girlfriend who is also working from home. We entertain ourselves by reading books, cooking, drinking wine and exercising daily, we also do movie marathons of stuff we haven’t had time to watch normally (I attach a photo of me sitting outside on the porch).
The silver lining in this tragedy is that the environment is doing much better than usual.
Tapesh Dutt Nagaria
So over the past few days, I’ve been working at our hospital & it’s been more relaxed than usual because the patient load has dropped considerably because of the lockdown and we’ve moved to telephone consults. I’ll admit that the situation in my city is not as severe because we have 1 COVID19 patient. The government has been very proactive in combatting this and enforcing the lockdown, which I’m glad for because it’ll be impossible to contain community spread in India. There are problems, like the rules are not clear at times and the disruption of life affects the poor disproportionately. At home, we’ve been playing monopoly, making a lot of hummus and watching Netflix, thankfully internet here has become even cheaper/free so I’m really happy about that and as an introvert, staying indoors is no problem for me. My treadmill broke the other day, something to do with it being out of use for the last 5 years. I hope this ends soon, so that I can take my annual summer trip to KBH. I wish my friends in Denmark and people everywhere, stay safe and healthy and have a hyggeligt time at home.
Homer Glen, Illinois, USA
This terrible virus has restricted me and made my world a lot smaller. I thought I was scared 5 years ago when my kidneys failed. I had to start in home peritoneal dialysis. That was my new normal for my life. I could never imagine that a global virus would threaten my life one day. Now, the odds are against me with the rise of this global pandemic.
Recently, I was laid off my job as a gym manager. I always looked forward to going to work. It kept me uplifted and positive.
Now, this is my new normal. I can’t go anywhere. I can’t hug or kiss my kids or husband . My heart hurts so much. I find myself crying at any given time because of this. I fight my anxiety on a daily basis.
My greatest hope is that they will find a cure soon. I have confidence in our President and the Corona Virus Taskforce. They keep us informed on a daily basis on the medical research being done. I pray every day that we all can soon see the light at the end of the tunnel.
New Bern, North Carolina, USA
We are a family made up of three people, personally I can say that the Coronavirus has not only affected my work and university life but also my emotional life, it is very difficult not to be around people who are part of our life as family and friends, also It is difficult not to feel fear when some member of the family has to continue working to survive, at this moment from any point of view the world hurts, death, hunger, confinement, and many more things that were part of our life, it is impossible not to think with some concern, however I am personally comforted to think that like all darkness there is always a light that gives us hope and is hope in God, so we can take advantage of this time to reflect, love more, forgive, and constantly thank for what we have and that we miss.
Now, surely when our life returns to normal many people will see everything in a way deeper, however for this to happen we must stay in unity and work for a common welfare, the main step is to stay at home, take care of ourselves, wash our hands and keep the faith because surely this will soon pass.
It is, – oh so quiet.
Two hours ago all the students were sent home.
My bag, books and computer are packed as I am encouraged to move to my home office.
It feels like a historical moment, so I take a picture.
Monday March 30, 2020
As it turns out, it was a historical moment.
I have not returned to my office since lockdown, working from home like most university staff in Norway these last 3 weeks. Campus is still quiet.
Today all events, meetings and conferences scheduled for the full spring semester, until the end of June, have been cancelled.
It is the saddest day yet.
It will take a long time before there will be any students, teaching or exams at campus again.
Granja de Torrehermosa, Spain
While the threat of coronavirus still felt remote, I arrived to my grandparent’s house in Granja de Torrehermosa, a village in Badajoz province, Spain. Only a week later the national state of alert was declared.
Although there weren’t any diseased in our area, this affected us greatly. First of all, a large part of the family lives in Madrid, and they had to cancel their scheduled visits. This meant that the responsibility for keeping the household fell on my shoulders. At the same time, the Danish state urged all citizens to return home which I, obviously, wouldn’t do.
For a few days, the situation was quite surreal.
Since then, my grandparents and I have barely left the house. When I do, the village looks deserted. The few who leave house for groceries wear gloves and improvised masks. Only at 20.00 the neighbors come out and applaud from their doorsteps.
There still aren’t any cases here but part of our family in Madrid has been infected. There has even been a death. Experiencing this through the telephone, is probably the strangest of all.
It’s uncertain when this will end but we are anxious to return to normality.
Los Angeles, California, USA
The anchor of each day is a three mile walk, drenched in sunlight, embraced by the cool, clean wind, greeting each cat and squirrel, smelling each rose whose fragrance reminds me that I am still safe. And I forget that my mother barely survived the 1918 influenza and it’s possible this scourge has come back to fetch me. Swinging my arms and legs I hardly remember that I woke up at 2:00AM, went from writing, to reading, then the news in the effort to quiet my mind. Ah, yes, the news, the unrelenting reminder of the ineptitude and corruption of our leaders. And then I remember to be grateful because I am hunkered down in warmth and safety while refugees and the homeless languish in inexplicable anguish. An hour of meditation here and there, and then I walk and breathe and lift my arms to the trees; I hum a tune, and follow the dancing hummingbird, and grasp life to its last breath.
I have thought that having experienced Brussels terror attacks in 2016 was the most challenging and memorable situation I could potentially find myself in my whole life. Potentially it has been, until now...I moved to Rome only five months ago for a new job. I came here alone not knowing anyone, apart from my ex-colleague, also on his own. What makes me feel uncomfortable in this particular situation is the fact that, if something happens to me, I can only count on myself. I am in constant contact with my family in Poland and my friends every day, and this is great. Yet I still feel alone. On top of that, my flights to Poland for Easter have been canceled, and I haven’t spent Easter with my family for the past 12 years, since I left home. My ex-colleague called me this morning to announce that his grandad died from coronavirus last night. Sad news, especially because he cannot travel back home to say goodbye.
Since I left Poland, I have dealt with many similar scary thoughts, always alone. Now this feeling came back with more intensity, and then wonder: is it time to go back home?
On the first day of the quarantine I woke up early stunned by the sudden quietness. Gone was the hum of the railway station and cars. The whole space around my block of flats was filled with blackbirds singing in the crispy morning air. Soon I got up on my bicycle and took a ride around the eerily empty Tashkent, lit by the gentle spring Sun looking more like St Petersburg at the end of the midnight sun, sinking in bloom and blossom.
When I got back home, my euphoria quickly gave way to anxiety as I was flickering through the photos from the day before on Facebook. Stampede at supermarkets as people rushed to buy food, toilet paper and buckwheat. Stampede at police stations giving stickers to cars that would be still allowed to operate. Crowds of people at the bazaars. Armoured IFVs closing Tashkent off. People queuing for useless paper masks. It was obvious that the drastic measures introduced by the government early on were not understood by the public and even by the officials. The ability of authoritarian post-Soviet regimes to impose order and obedience is ominously more than compensated by their soulless and mechanical formalism.
Rosylyne Nabaala Supa
My name is Rosylyne Nabaala Supa I’m 49 years old I live in Watamu village.
I’m really affected by the corona virus pandemic so much. I use to work at Watamu marine association and do other duties like going to schools to create awareness about children’s rights and where to report and whom to report to if they are abused.
I also use to work with women and youth to implement community projects and have meetings with sexual survivors to share some issues but now we can not make it. I feel very bad Corona have separated my family my children are in Nairobi and I’m in Watamu traveling is a big problem. I use to sale hand bags to the tourist but now everywhere is closed which makes us to eat once a day.
Corona the Virus seems not to govern my daily existence – I can still breathe, see, eat, talk, take a hot bath, read an interesting book. Who (why) could ask for more ? The vision of the end of the world hasn’t reached me yet. And the process of its slow death we’ve been observing for decades, haven’t we... ?
However the greenery has appeared unexpectedly as it usually does, this time it does not stay unseen – I’m witnessing its different stages day by day, even hour by hour...Or perhaps these are people’s hearts filling with greenly-fresh LOVE altogether with their ability to see the Sun on the proper side... ?
We have no online connection to the Sun, but our hearts are linked to the s(S)tars. Maybe the beings called humans have started to be aware of an innocent smile of Nature ?
We teach online. We love online.
Let’s pray that this singular time will never make us forget that ONLINE
I’m Helle Alex, 59, a nurse from Denmark. I run SISTAENABLE promoting gender equality world wide.
I’m currently stuck in my vacation home in the mountains of Northern Italy.
I arrived just before lock down but immediately became sick – coughing, fever, sore throat, body aches. I could not get tested, as I was not hospitalized. So I isolated, with no desire to drive all the way through Europe back to Denmark. My neighbors here helped. They shopped and brought me food, all left on my door step.
I feel safer on the mountain, so I now experience country lock down. ONLY food and pharmacies are open. We can drive one per car once a week for food, but have to print/fill out a government form stating name, address, license plate, where you go, why, and when you are back. You also sign you have no symptoms of virus. The police stop all cars, and scan your license plate. You cannot leave your city limits the less you have to. You cannot walk further than 200 meters from your home and have to keep a 2-meter distance to all others. People cooperate. We are all afraid of contamination; Italy is hit worse than any other country.
So day 13 of confinement. So far, lost my job, haven’t seen my fiancé for 3 weeks, managed to end up in hospital after putting my finger in a blender, been stuck with teenager son and in pyjamas, working from my kitchen, for nearly a month .
My situation is rather unusual because I live between France and England. As soon as the covid 19 crisis started, I had to decide where I would spend my confinement, and after quick talk with Boyfriend, we both decided it would better that I spent it in Brighton if I didn’t want my child to look like Fat Thor in Avenger’s End Game.
As a keen climber and business owner I am not used to being stuck in a two bedroom flat but the confinement has brought some unexpected changes to my life. The first one was the family solution to our collective overactive personalities: 4 weekly meetup at 7:15 am for a family zoom gym session. I’ve never seen so much of my family without having an argument! I’m also actually seeing a lot more of friends and distant family than before.
Last point, Son is so bored that he’s actually started helping me around the house-unprompted!!
I caretake my nearly 89 year-old-father. Biggest impact on his activity is the lack of live sports on TV. As an executive coach with focus on corporate-sponsored career transition programs, work has rarely been busier. Receiving increased referrals for folks who have just been released from their employers. At the same time, people are being hired quickly, the process is accomplished virtually (interview, onboarding, then work-from-home). My brother is nicely recovering at home from a mild case of rona. ’Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ is Sanskrit for ’the world is my family’... feeling slow hope that humanity will make it and come out the other end more compassionate, more sensitive and with strong new priorities benefitting us all. Wishing everyone ’enough’... enough of what you need to manage through. As Monty Python says: Always look on the bright side of life... xo
Suddenly, almost 3 weeks ago due to the situation with covid-19, we started working from home. It was something really new for most of my colleagues, but we adapt easily as far as work is concerned. The difficult part at the beginning was how to organize my day and how to ’secure’ that the working hours won’t get much out of my usual office hours. I try not to be conned by the routine. I try to keep my daily schedule, as I’m still going to the office even in the afternoons that I cannot go to the gym, I do my practice at home.
As far as my social life since going out is not possible, I keep contact with my friends online (through different apps with multiple windows) where we “meet” for drinks and live chatting. Also, I found time to catch up and ’see’ friends from other countries and share our news. Of course, it’s not the same as going out for a drink, socializing or travelling, but it’s better than nothing.
Finally, I found it good chance to have more time with myself- doing things for me either physically or mentally. Living this situation and watching in the media what happens to other countries and how many people pass away of covid-19, I’ve started having a different perspective of how I should spend my time, with whom and what things give me sadness or happiness.
I suggest everybody, to make an effort to see the good part out of this. Otherwise, depression is not far away by staying home almost 24/7.
Hoping for better days soon,
Christina from Greece
Mary Di Martino
I live in front of the Spallanzani Hospital in Rome, the National Institute for Contagious Diseases. For the past three months the wards of this hospital have been accepting and caring for thousands of men and women who have contracted this horrible virus that is bringing the world to its knees. I’m one of the lucky ones because I can continue my job from home thanks to smart working. But while at home I hear the continuous sound of ambulance sirens, night and day, I imagine very much like the air raid sirens of the Second World War. At this time, Italy has the highest number of dead of any nation in the world. Men and women leaving this life in the saddest way possible: alone, aware of their fate, without a word or touch from a loved one. Last week I lost my favorite uncle in this manner, fighting an invisible enemy, without the chance to say goodbye to his family. Funerals are prohibited like any other type of gathering and families are left without even the comfort of a loving farewell. My little son is not even five yet and it’s so hard for him to understand. He misses his playmates. His school provides remote teaching programs every day but he misses the human contact and interaction with his friends and teachers. For his sake, for all the children in the world and their families I pray that this nightmare ends soon and that we come out of it with a better understanding of ourselves and of the values that are truly important.
I awake in a state of dread, exhausted from a poor night’s sleep and afraid to turn on the news.
Like a bad dream I can’t shake, my new normal haunts me.
I close my eyes and pray for my daughter’s safety in San Francisco, 2000 miles away from me in Toronto.
I’m trapped in a foreign country away from my family and friends. I wonder if I become sick, who will help me?
My virtual online life has exploded. I teach twice a week, take meetings, attend cocktail parties and yoga classes. I even attend a hula hoop group every Sunday.
I drink too much and sleep too little.
I grow tense at the sound of ambulance sirens. I close my eyes and send the ambulance driver courage and the sick healing prayers.
I want to smoke a cigarette but don’t.
I leave my house twice a week and appreciate the outdoors with a childlike glee.
I cry at least once a day.
I call my daughter every night to say goodnight.
I listen to Marvin Gay and agree, “Mercy, mercy me… things ain’t what they used to be…” and wonder when life might return to normal.
The Prime Minister says we are in a war, but I experience cognitive dissonance. War evokes images of dark skies, bombed out buildings lying in rubble, and starving people. But here in Perth, the autumn sun is shining gloriously and the blue sky is vast. Flowers bloom and the Swan River remains serene. Environmental noise is largely absent, except for emergency vehicles attending to other crises ... crises which have not taken a back seat to Coronavirus. My life hasn’t changed much: I work from home and am a PhD student, so spend most of my life inside my home anyway. I don’t easily panic and counsel my family and friends to stay calm and practice infection control, but life is becoming more stressful in other ways. Panic buying, aggressive shoppers and stressed shop assistants, increased prices for staples, conflicting messages from various Australian governments and authorities about whether we can or can’t go to the beach or for a run. It’s disconcerting. But not as disconcerting as being oblivious about whether I am unknowingly passing on Covid19 to loved ones and strangers alike. I begin to feel paranoid and second-guess my decision-making - another victim to the virus.
Niels Jørgen Haltrup
Having survived (the first) 3 WEEKS of strict Spanish confinement rules I’m glad to announce that I still conserve some coherent vision of the world seen from the North of Spain. While writing, the fatal numbers in Asturias have just crossed the quasi 80 person line in a province of barely a million souls - far from the Madrid and Barcelona totals which, it seems, are relaxing the steep steep climb somewhat.
Day-a-day life, I’m sure, concur with that of other millions around the globe. Sometimes I ask my wife what she’d have done without her phone, which seems to have become another extension to her body. Meanwhile, I fool around doing some stairhopping, having a word or two with my good friend, Mr Walker, and doing nice things in the kitchen. I have also come to learn my son a little better which is absolutely great.
What I fear the most after this havoc has come to an end probably will have to do with the resulting unrest which I’m afraid will cut rather deep post-pandemically. And not knowing what’s going to happen is a bit worrying... Perhaps coming through the tunnel we’ll be able to witness a new species of post-capitalism heading towards people and letting the banks see it out for themselves (for once)
Anyways, I send all my love and best wishes to the ones reading this.
Ánimo, compañeros. Mucha Fuerza!!! May you eat a lot and ready yourselves for endless commercials afterwards ’bout your ugly state of body
(The number one hit being played from any balcony, window during this crisis is ’Resistiré’, an old-timer reaching back to 1988 led by Duo Dinámico)
A retired academic, in the 70+ age group, I was living a very privileged and busy life in London. But the Coronavirus pandemic has literally pushed me back into my home. We are observing strict isolation and I have become a thrifty,1950s housewife. The supermarkets’ delivery slots services have seized up so it’s taken time to establish that two local shops will now deliver and to tailor my list to what I know they stock. And of course when they do deliver, there are gaps because they’ve sold out of flour or yoghurt or whatever it was seemed essential. When I cook, as I reach for a tin of lentils or a nub of chorizo, I think to myself ‘Should I be using this? How will I replace it?’. And inconveniently, I, who have never watched The Great British Bakeoff, have developed an urge to bake. My proudest achievement this week was my first lemon drizzle cake which came out alright without any baking powder.
I am ashamed of my self-centred bubble. I can’t bear to think of the suffering of others. But, until I can control food in my own home, I feel completely distracted from the reality outside.
So, Covid19. Welcome to an upside down reality. I’m unsure from one day to the next whether or not my small business employer will make it through this. I’ve told him to not pay me for a month if that’s what he needs to do until government wage subsidies kick in. Restrictions on freedom of movement outrage me (although I understand the need for them). I feel anxious; oppressed; worried; isolated. Streets are permanently Sunday afternoon empty. No birthday party for Miss 7 last month. She’s chaffing against the no play-date, no park, no anything fun rules. I have no idea if school will reopen after the Easter break. Miss 17’s anxiety issues are through the roof. I just want our lives back
The world is virtually mine at the command of my fingertips. Unfortunately it is nearly the only way of accessing it at the moment and too many more to come it seems. So, apart from working from home, when staying at home, what is there to do? A friend calls from the Tyrol, which is practically under siege, we speak for more than an hour. He could stay home in his house in the green, now he is trapped in the city. Would he go to jail for leaving the house? Yes. The radio has a competition on: One listener is posting their ingredients, you call in to say what they are cooking. Makes little sense for me, since it is written on my cans.
In Vienna we are still allowed to leave home and people do. The radio says, taking a walk does not mean taking the family to the surrounding forests. Oh, little did they understand the Viennese soul, that‘s just how we are, „passt“ – it‘s gonna work. We are also likely to report greater gatherings, as our grandparents used to do. Please, no more than 3 masked persons reporting at the same time, police are asking.