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In your view, have recent events changed the way people around the world view your country? If so, can you give any examples?

This large encampment of tent dwellers is in a park in my town right next to the county governmental office building. I think people around the world are shocked and dismayed, as I am, at the increasing number of unhoused people in this country, and the rise in extreme income disparity. People once viewed the USA as a prosperous country where poverty and wealth inequality were less dire than most countries, a place where a full time worker could afford to live comfortably. Now scenes like this are common in many cities and towns across the country. We have increasing numbers of people living in tents next to streets where Teslas and other signs of wealth are a regular sight. People who once envied us now shake their heads in disbelief and comment that this used to be a much better place.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

This past week, I got my Pfizer booster shot. Later that evening, I was on the phone with my brainwashed boyfriend (of 11 years) who lives in Texas, and he said, "You'll tell me if you get the booster shot, won't you? Be honest with me. You can do what you want, but if you get the booster shot, I need to know because I won't want to see you for at least three months because you'll be shedding spiked proteins, blah blah blah,....conspiracy theories.... blah, blah, blah....." I didn't have the heart to admit that I had just been injected with the COVID booster a few hours prior. I shake my head and wonder HOW in the world this all came to be. How there can be such a division in ideas about what is true and what is not true? How can someone believe that thousands of scientists and doctors across this country are all in collusion intentionally trying to harm people by injecting them with a vaccine? I will confess to my boyfriend that I succumbed to the deep state forces of evil and got the booster. He may be upset and cast judgment, and think I am a spike-protein-shedding sheep with a case of cooties so infectious that I can't be around him until I have shed my very last spiked protein, but he wants honesty. Not the kind of honesty that scientific testing reveals. That's not honesty. It's fake news. Apparently I have been duped. So will the Pfizer booster that I naively peeled my sleeve up to my shoulder to receive be our undoing?

I didn't have negative side effects from the booster, by the way. I didn't feel great that evening or the following day, but I was well enough to go to work. And I don't look like I have the cooties, either.

How do you think the pandemic has affected the way people around the world see the U.S.?

Not being an American, but a Canadian living next door, I thought I would offer my perspective on the US and Covid-19. If you are not familiar with our media, we are attached "at the hip" to US media. Most of us are able to access most everything that Americans can. This is everything from CBS to Fox and beyond if we want to dig. There is a saying that when the US gets a cold, (in any sense of the word, economically mainly) we get the flu. It is at times interesting to listen to the differences and similarities between our two nations.

On a personal level, the vast majority of Americans I have met are polite, kind, generous, and enjoyable to be around. I am always cautious not discuss politics and guns. Until recently we have travelled to the US on many occasions. Covid-19 has all but stopped travel, but even before the pandemic, we made a choice not to travel to the US due to the election of Donald Trump. On a very personal level, I could not bring myself to enter a nation with such a leader.

The way in which Donald Trump handled the pandemic, from my view, was at best laughable and at worst tragic. I have always felt that most nations tried their best under difficult circumstances. Some decisions in Canada turned out to be detrimental, but the intent was always in our best interest. During Trump's presidency, I think many outsiders could only shake their heads. I honestly believe that his management of the pandemic was primarily focussed on how it made him look. I saw too many press conferences that had nothing to do with keeping people safe, but simply presented lies to make him look better. From the sidelines it was hard to believe that so many would follow his rhetoric. It was comical and very sad at the same time.

Since his defeat I think President Biden has worked hard to keep Americans safe. He isn't afraid to speak the truth which is not always positive. Some Governors, DeSantis and Abbott, in particular, have continued to make America look like a nation managed by pre-schoolers. Their comments and policies have provided vast material for late night comedy shows. I think much of the world looks at America in confusion and bewilderment. How can the most powerful, developed and wealthy nation on earth have the worst Covid statistics on the planet? How can politicians make decisions that cost lives but maintain their core of followers?

When look at the behaviour of the Congress and Senate I am deeply concerned for America. The behaviour of too many politicians looks more like pre-schoolers fighting over a toy than elected officials trying to run a nation. There is no kind way to say this, America since 2016 has become a major topic of discussion for many non-Americans. Unfortunately, the conclusion for many of us that your leadership in many areas is laughable at best and destructive to your democracy at worst. I shake my head much too often at the leaders of your nation. Covid-19 has brought out the worst in American politics. It has created an even greater divide in your nation. If the handling of Covid-19 and all things connected to it were a fictional Netflix series it would be worthy of an Emmy. As a nation, it is a sad and tragic commentary. Too many of your leaders have failed you! The land of the free and home of the brave is in peril.

Cuéntenos de su situación de vida actual. ¿Há cambiado algo durante la pandemia? (Por ejemplo, donde usted vive, o con quién vive, etc.).

Ahora que se empieza a retomar la vida cotidiana, dado que los contagios han disminuido, siento que me he vuelto más temerosa para tocar a las personas, sigo tratando de guardar la distancia social, el uso de las mascarillas, sin embargo, no puedo rechazar a las personas que con gusto me saludan y me abrazan con tanta emotividad, y que me hacen tanto bien, tendré que trabajar emocionalmente el miedo al contagio para nutrirme del amor y afecto que mis amigos me brindan.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

- This past week it hasn't affected my life so much even though I work in a restaurant

- A customer did ask me to take off my mask so they could see my face... says a lot about the service industry and also the pandemic situation, and how service folks are expected to put their health on the line

- One of the neighborhood kids wanted to play with my dog, but they were like "I"m feeling a little sick" ... made me realize we think a lot more now about transmittability

- So I guess the pandemic has affected me in the way I approach other people

¿De que manera el coronavirus le está afectando su vida en este momento? Cuéntenos sus experiencias, sensaciones/emociones, y pensamientos.

Mi hijo se vacunó contra el COVID-19 con la primera dosis de la vacuna Moderna. Sí tuvo una reacción un tanto fuerte por la vacuna. Aprovechó que abrieron un centro de vacunación muy cerca de donde vivimos. Casi no tuvo que hacer cola para que se la administraran. Me da bastante tranquilidad que, por fin, se haya vacunado.

Acaban de abrir la vacunación para jóvenes de 12 a 17 años. Entonces, mi sobrino también podrá ser vacunado. En este caso, de la familia más cercana ya solo yo haré falta de tomar la vacuna. He seguido el tratamiento para la neumonía y me haré una radiografía de pulmones la próxima semana. Si logré eliminar la neumonía redonda, procederé a vacunarme.

He reducido el ritmo de trabajo bajo presión. Estoy trabajando en proyectos que tienen plazos de tiempo más razonables. Esto también me ha ayudado en términos de salud. Necesito buscar algunos trabajos para este y el otro mes, de tal forma que pueda cubrir mis necesidades durante los meses que regularmente no hay trabajo: diciembre y enero.

Las cosas se ven mejor con este ritmo. Yo me siento mejor.

When did you realize COVID-19 was going to change the world?

This is a really good question, one I've asked myself periodically over the last two years. I think it happened quite early, because there was such upheaval in our family: the rush back to Europe from the US for S. before borders closed, having such a close brush with death for T. right at the start of the pandemic in France which made us really aware of how dangerous the virus (and it's side effects) could be, having to cancel our plans to celebrate S.'s college graduation and knowing that there's never going to be another opportunity like that...Yet those were things in our family, so I knew my personal world had changed but did I think the whole world had changed? I think that realization happened more with the second lockdown in the fall of 2020. Because it showed how there was no 'going back to normal' without really bad consequences, no matter how much wishful thinking.

Talk about what brings you happiness these days.

What brings me happiness these days is my friends. I am a freshman in college so I have been making so many new friends from many different places all over the world. They have supported me through moving to a new state and starting a new life. They also teach me new things and give me new perspectives on the world and the things surrounding me. My friends bring me new experiences and so much happiness and new adventures.

Talk about your current living situation. Has anything changed during the pandemic (for example, where you're living, who you're living with, etc.).

My living situation has changed many times throughout the pandemic. When it all started, I was the only one of my siblings at home with my parents. My sister was in her junior year of college, and my brother had just finished studying [in] Boulder. I remember the day before spring break started, my school decided to have a day off to decide what would happen if the pandemic progressed in United States. My senior exchange trip to Spain had just been cancelled and I was feeling a bit bored. I remember that Monday we got news that both my sister and cousin's schools had been cancelled. .... It was very interesting to go from being the only child at home to having to share it with my sister and my cousin. While my cousin and I have always gotten along really well, we had never spent so much time together. It turns out, while me and my cousin get along well, we do not always get along so well with my sister (as we are both a bit more messy and disorganized, and she is a person who very much likes control, any control), so that created a very interesting dynamic within the house. We made it through it though and have lots of fond memories.

My living situation changed once again when I started my first year of college. ... this was the first time in a really long time that I had to share a room. I was so nervous about that, but my roommate and I clicked from day one. She became my closest confidant, she was the only person I had trusted to tell about my decision to apply to different school, as we had other previous conversations in which we talked about all the reasons we were unhappy and exactly how much we want to transfer (though we were being quite dramatic). Our room ended up being a really happy place for me. We had LED lights that went all around the room and they could change to any color we wanted. We also had Christmas lights up all year round which made it super cozy. Our room had a light pink and light yellow theme that reminded me of the desert, so when I saw this awesome cactus light (picture above) I knew it would be the perfect addition to our room. While for all of December we were at home, we decided to decorate our room early for Christmas to help us push through the last bit of November. I decided to decorate the cactus light with more tiny Christmas lights and I remember having such a good laugh about it as we listened to some Christmas music one night.

My living situation changed one more time when I transferred. This year I am living in a single room, which wasn't my first choice. I am a people person and I really like being around other people, so I was hoping for a roommate. However, I will say, after living in a house full of people, and sharing a college dorm the size of a shoebox, it is nice to have my own space.

Think about the people closest to you. Tell us about how the coronavirus has affected them, and their life.

I would say that my relatives in the Philippines were hit hard, the country to begin with didnt have a lot of access to the vaccination, until recently more and more countries are helping them, its tough to say what choice do they have with regards to getting the vaccine, its more on they have to get vaccinated in order to survive. They have so many rules, they have to wear face mask and face shield . Only one of the family members are allowed to go to any place( esp grocery)and they have to get an id to do it. There mental health were really hit hard, i feel bad for them, they have curfews and have to wear double protection. The panicked, the scardness were too much for them

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

It's been awhile since I've contributed here. After getting fully vaccinated in April 2021, I was like: "Welp, this is over for me and my family! Woo Hoo!"

And here we are in mid-October.

One troubling development in my city (Albany, NY) is the proliferation of anti-mask and anti-vax stickers in parks and near schools. I'm tempted to carry a sharpie pen with me and black them out whenever I see them.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

My husband told me he misses the food trucks downtown at lunch time. Pre-pandemic, he would often go to a food truck for a quick, affordable lunch. He could choose among many food options, but his favorite was Thai (a noodle dish). When my husband returned to the office, initially just a few days a week, and now every day, he quickly noticed the absence of the food trucks. What happened to those folks? Have they found another way to support themselves and their families? It is still very quiet in downtown D.C. We heard on the news that office occupancy has just gotten above a third of the pre-pandemic levels. It is sad. Cities need the hustle and bustle; the mingling of different people and diverse occupations and businesses.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

We traveled by plane to San Diego this weekend. The whole traveling experience made me really uncomfortable. The airport in San Diego was too crowded for any social distancing and so many people seemed to be wearing their masks inappropriately (noses out) or poor quality masks. The up side of the trip was going to a concert at San Diego’s new outdoor symphony venue. I love that life feels so nearly normal, even in a crowd, when we can be outdoors!

Imagine you’re talking to a couple of high school students in 2050. They ask, “How did the pandemic change the world as you knew it?” How do you think you would answer?

Before the pandemic, we used to put candles on a person’s birthday cake, and part of the celebration involved lighting the candles and, after singing the “happy birthday” song, telling the celebrant to make a wish and blow the candles out. Now, the idea of having someone spew germs all over a cake that is then sliced and distributed to everyone at the party seems a very unwise and unhealthy custom.

We became a lot less likely to hug each other, a precaution that for many of us, has persisted well beyond the pandemic. Those of us who lived through the pandemic are more conscious of hygiene than we were before - we still wash our hands frequently, probably more often than you youngsters. We flinch if someone coughs or sneezes near us without covering their mouth and nose to prevent the spread of germs; we draw back if someone says “I’m feeling a little under the weather.”.

On the other hand, I think the pandemic made us more appreciative of and attentive to our relationships with family and friends. The shock and pain of losing friends and loved ones to Covid-19 came to nearly everyone who was alive during the pandemic, and made us all more conscious of the fragility of life and the randomness of death. We became less likely to take our loved ones for granted, less likely to put off that visit or phone call because we were “too busy.”

¿De que manera el coronavirus le está afectando su vida en este momento? Cuéntenos sus experiencias, sensaciones/emociones, y pensamientos.

He leído que el COVID está bajando sus niveles de contagio en todo México, y veo las personas se integran cada vez más a su vida cotidiana, lo que me da alegría. Me llama la atención que la mascarilla se ha convertido en parte del atuendo diario, me sorprendo de ello, porque hace algunos años estuve en Seúl, me llamaba la atención que varias personas usando mascarilla, me parecían exageradas, hoy yo misma la uso.

A pesar de esa "normalidad" el miedo sigue ahí, cada vez oigo a alguien toser, me angustio, y todavía no tengo valor para ir a lugares como el cine por temor a contagiarme.

Additional Material

I'm turning 60 in a few weeks and want to have a party. I am planning a party. We live in a heavily vaxxed area. It will be outside.

But I'm still struggling with the ethical/moral dimension. It feel frivolous to do this while so many people are still getting sick and suffering from the pandemic.

On the other hand I want to supply a night of good cheer and fun for my friends. It's been such a hard, shitty, 20 months. Can we not just let our hair down for one night now?

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

This week was amazing. For the first time in 20 months, I was really able to spend time with my mother, who is in a nursing home. Finally, all restrictions have been lifted. Whereas before, we had to make appointments and our visits were limited to half an hour, now we can come and go as we please. It's allowing me to meet the other residents, get to know who her friends are, and spend time with her that's not rushed.

On Monday, it was her birthday and my brother flew in from Boston to DC. We bought a cake for her, expecting just four or five people, but everyone on the floor came! (So we had to cut the pieces really small).

Anyway, it was a great party, my mom was really happy, and everyone loved the cake. It was amazingly normal. This is a picture of her friends at the table wishing her a happy birthday and saying thanks for sharing the cake!

Today I went back and spent two and a half hours with her. We had a picnic lunch, and just hung out with my daughter and her puppy, who my mom loves. It was really fun. And so nice. Amazing how the small things feel so good after all this time. It's nice to finally feel good about something after so many months of anger and frustration and fear!

Has the pandemic prevented you from living up to your potential in any way? If so, give an example or two.

I haven’t written in months, so no I’m not living up to my potential. This photo reminds me of all the conflict that surrounds this pandemic. So many sides- each stuck, firmly grounded yet blowing in the wind… it was supposed to be over after we masked and social distanced and got vaccinated… we missed, birthdays and holidays and weddings and funerals…. but we got impatient and it started… mask or no mask… get vaccinated or refuse to get “jabbed”…shun those who are unvaccinated, then shun those who are… blame the government for not solving it and then blame them for mandates and telling us what to do…draw the line at whatever “they” say is wrong and a lie… the duplicity and hypocrisy drives me nuts… when one side suggests something it’s great when the other side suggests the exact same thing the answer is no! We are failing ourselves, and I’m not feeling hopeful. Too many people are angry and fearful and are more comfortable there in their righteous indignation, then trying to find a solution, especially if it seems someone “might” get something they don’t have… it’s very disheartening…

Talk about how the events of recent months have affected your financial situation.

Minha parte financeira dependia muito da ajuda vinda da minha madrinha, hoje não sei como conseguirei manter minha vida, não sei como vou custear sobreviver. Está sendo muito dolorida a perda e ainda ter que me preocupar com a parte financeira.

Talk about your experience keeping this journal. Has it had any impact on your health (including mental health) and well-being?

I've often felt like keeping this journal has made me frame my experience. Instead of just pushing things down all the time or even trying to deceive myself. I've known I needed to consider the pandemic on a personal, political & sociological, even historical, level. I'm glad of that.

It's also been a sort of release. I've been comfortable ranting sometimes. I've been surprised at the anger that's inside of me. Somehow it's expanded my perspective. I'm not saying that's particularly made me more hopeful. But oddly I feel like I've earned my vision of this, rather than simply being reactionary. So thank you all, that conceived and worked to make this possible. I'm grateful for you.