Featured Entries

Each week, we post a few journal entries that participants have given us permission to share anonymously.

In your journal, you can write whatever you want, however you want. When we feature posts, we want to protect confidentiality. Here's our policy:

  • We won't post any photos that include faces (even with masks!) or names.
  • We won't post audio that includes names or more than one voice.
  • We might edit text entries slightly to remove proper names – but this won't change anything you've written in your journal.
Additional Material

This is a vax site near my house. It's been there all week and been empty like this. This makes me so sad. And angry.

We (USA) are sitting on so many vaccines and people here are not taking them, while all over the world people need them.

My sister in the UK JUST got her first shot and has to wait until Sept for #2. My friends in Spain, still waiting for theirs. A friend in Ireland still not vaxxed. Never mind what's unfolding in Latin America and what's about to hit Africa (Can you say Delta Variant?).

I can't wait for the vaccines to receive full authorization so that places can mandate them. Methodist Medical in Houston did the right thing, terminating the employees who wouldn't take it. Medical workers not getting the vaccine!!! Crazy!

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

I am a business owner who has to deal with the public so it really affected my business.There was an over all affect on my life because I have a lot of older family members so I can not go around them because of their fear of exposure.I was more worried about my parents and older siblings than myself. I got COVID when I was in prison and the health care system sucks in there. I had to persevere through my trials and tribulations to survive. I actually caught COVID twice the first time I did feel bad it was hard to get out of bed cause I had severe symptoms like flu symptoms but a little worse.Then when the institution finally started to test people almost 800 out 1000 people had COVID at the institution I was at.That was sad to see people dying and health fall apart because of a unknown source.My second time having COVID I did not have any symptoms but I tested positive for almost six weeks this really put a strain on my respiratory system cause I have asthma and have already had upper respiratory infections so contracting COVID absolutely frightened me cause I didn’t want to possibly pass away with out any family or support.

Tell us about anyone you're especially worried about during the pandemic, and what you’re worried about.

Kids kids kids. I remain skeptical that kids will escape this pandemic essentially unharmed (from a Covid perspective). Especially if people don’t get vaccinated and some horrific variant emerges that can bypass the vaccine.

Are you an "essential worker"? If so, what do you most want people to understand about your work during the pandemic?

I'm not an "essential worker" but I have gained such a deep appreciation for them during this pandemic. Especially the people who were working in the grocery stores and pharmacies. They kept us going!! Such an under-appreciated job but soooo necessary during the pandemic. Where would we have gotten food or medicine otherwise?? I will forever be grateful to those workers.

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

This past weekend I was able to visit my brother and his boyfriend at their new place in NJ. They had been living in Manhattan and decided, after years of talking about it, to move. Their condo is amazing and the area where they live is fabulous. On Sunday, we went for a walk to Liberty Park. It was 90 degrees and I did not bring my water as I had no idea how far it would be. Seven miles until we got home!! We stopped and I chugged a gatorade. While the turning around part of the walk was painful, going was great. The breeze felt nice and it is always great to see the Statue of Liberty. The whole weekend felt rather normal. People out and about, some with masks, some without. I was just glad to see my family and visit while there was too much time when visiting was extremely dangerous. It was a good weekend and a calming one, well, with the exception of the death walk!

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

- lately I've been really angry because in my country, a lot of young people are getting vaccinated before priority groups, and my father -- who works outside of the house and has high blood pressure -- hasn't even had his first dose

Do you feel that people in your community are supporting one another during the coronavirus pandemic? If so, tell us a little about this, and maybe give some examples.

I took this photo in Berkeley, California in late April of 2020. There was so much thoughtfulness and loving humor that went into the notice and the message it conveyed. This is one of many signs that people tacked up on telephone poles and bulletin boards during the pandemic, offering help to others who might be at a higher risk of infection. My spirits have been lifted every time I’ve seen these signs of people willing to take some risk to help their neighbors.

Additional Material

The journal makes me reflect which is good. Knowing the information is going to the US often makes me think of things from the perspective of being the small guy sitting next to the giant. Americans as individuals are some of the kindest and thoughtful people I have met anywhere in the world. The concern I have for your nation is the direction that some leaders want to take. Canada is not perfect as seen by recently by the discovery of 215 unmarked graves in my hometown. We have issues the same as you. Our values on many levels are the same, but some differences are difficult to understand. I will leave it at that.

Tell us about anyone you're especially worried about during the pandemic, and what you’re worried about.

I am most worried about democracy and a fracturing of society around basic tenets of reality and fact. When the pandemic began, I really thought we might all come together. Instead, conspiracy theories were flung mainstream, and Trump spread them faster than the virus itself. The mask vs antimaskers was ludicrous, and now beliefs around anti-vax movements are perplexing. Meanwhile, our democracy is barely holding and continuously threatened. I worry about climate change, the virus, democracy, and SCOTUS almost every day, alongside basic concerns about my own health (had an ovarian cyst burst two weeks ago), and my friendships and such.

Everything feels huge. Everything feels insurmountable. But I just keep telling myself one step at a time.

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

Estamos a mediados del mes de Junio, hace casi un año y medio que paso lo de la pandemia. Es raro creer cuantas cosas han pasado en este año. Yo nunca me imagine estar en esta situacion. En mis libros de Historia venian remarcado los periodos en donde en algunas partes del mundo sufrio algunas epidemias/ pandemias. Quien diria que alguna vez eso nos iba a pasar a nosotros las personas de ahora? Jamas lo hubieras pensado. Dices que tal vez el pasado a tenido tantas cosas imprortantes y tragicas que han marcado en la historia y se ha quedado ahi en un baul en donde capta informacion para todos los presentes.

Esta pandemia se ha llevado vidas de millones de personas alrededor del mundo. No solo por la enfermedad, sino tambien por otros factores. Muchos suicidios se han cometido, gente con depresion. La mente es muy poderosa, y ha aislado a gente de sus seres queridos. Las personas necesitamos socializar, y cuando una persona no lo hace, puede causar mas problemas mentales.

Muchas personas renunciaron a su trabajo para no tener tanto contacto con otra gente, otras no tuvieron empleo por que muchos lugares cerraron negocios. Solamente los negocios escenciales han podido mantenerse abiertos.

Trabajo en la Home Depot y siempre le preguntaba a la demas gente como era su experiencia en este cambio tan drastico. En su mayoria se quejaba de usar la mascara, otros por el empleo y muchos por no poder ver a sus familias.

Some people are feeling intense feelings right now. Is anything making you especially sad right now, or especially angry? If so, what's on your mind?

- one thing that has continuously made me angry is the lack of social support ... for the vast majority of people, we had no assistance from the government

... this country says it supports its citizens but isn't willing to do anything when they're in need

... it blows my mind

... it's a disgrace

What do you think was the biggest news event this past week -- either in your community, nationally, or globally? Tell us about it, and why it’s a big deal.

The reopening of CA is causing tensions, because people don't know who is lying about being vaccinated in order to feel confident enough to simply say, if you're vaxxed, come in. Also, children, and immunocompromised people feel scared, still.

Talk about how the coronavirus has affected your closest relationships.

The pandemic has been a really weird time to live through. I see so many changes in my closest relationships that it might be hard to pinpoint. My own kids have gone through times where they have felt isolated and unmotivated. Having two high schoolers in distance learning was interesting. I felt at times like I was part teacher, part cheerleader in helping them maintain their enthusiasm for their coursework. Some of the time this caused some “friction” between us because I was helping them more than usual stay on top of things.

One other major change was my relationship with my dad. He’s 76, lives alone. We used to see him every weekend, but for safety reasons we kept him isolated. We still talk on the phone every day of course, but admittedly, it’s different. Now that everyone is vaccinated in our home, we will be able to see each again, right in time for Father’s Day! As for my local friends it has been weird not seeing them - but for my far away friends - I had more time to reach out and talk and now text more frequently. Lots of changes!

Think about something that has changed really dramatically in your life since the coronavirus pandemic began. Tell us about it.

Through severe isolation, I learned the value of being with human beings. It's quite profound.

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

This past week I walked along the waterfront with a friend, luckily it never rained. Our restrictions are slowly easing up .. now bc movie theaters are opening and we are allowed to travel within our province. I still have another 8 days till I get my second shot. So hopefully by mid July i can go to restaurants inside or outside …it will be so nice to do sonething for a change.

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

I have been going through some social anxiety because i have become unfamiliar with socializing this days

I was a little sick this past week but i had to go to school because apparently Matric comes first

I couldnt go to one of my debate workshops because one of my peers got affected

It broke my heart but i had to accept it

I feel like this pandemic is slowly taking away the things i love. Hell its even causing social anxiety

I think that if the government always postpone and cancel educational and important things

Then clubs should also do the same

Name: B.

Grade: 12

Country: South Africa

...

Age: 17

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

My parents live four hours away from me and my mum has to take care of my dad whose health is deteriorating quicker than I could have ever imagined. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at the start of the pandemic and two other diagnoses joined a couple of weeks ago. My mum is entirely alone with this situation and has to plan out each day and think for two. And while she is one of the strongest women I know, she's been struggling a lot. Anger, guilt, regret, no love, responsibility. We're on the phone every day which might be a lot but it keeps us both sane.

And since they are both fully vaccinated already, they'll come up to Berlin next week to visit me. Since September last year, I haven't seen them, and being apart from each other for the first time on Christmas was a huge downer. Hurray for digitalization, so we could have a virtual Christmas dinner. I remember that we had a huge fight before because I refused to visit and didn't allow them to come up. My mum cried so much that she hung up the phone. But I had to be strict. For the first time, I felt the responsibility to be the strong one. Reversed roles, a huge test. But I am happy I stood my ground. So many people got infected because they couldn't stay away from each other during Christmas..... it was the height of the second wave after all.

But things are looking up and my parents come to visit next week, as I said. It'll be a huge relief to see each other again while at the same time I am anxious about seeing my father again. He aged so much during the past year.... and I felt so useless, not being able to help.... while at the same time I was relieved I couldn't help. Is this normal? My mum's a hero. She's doing everything to keep my dad out of a retirement home, out of the hospital, out of harm's way. Whenever I feel down, her attitude, her way of coping with things, gives me strength.

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

Not much has changed for me since last week. I am still waiting for the VA to get back to me about assigning me a Primary Care doctor, which is the first step in being able to make an appointment for an exam at the Women's Clinic. I am reluctant to get the vaccine until I find out what is going on with me otherwise. I guess I am increasingly depressed and frustrated about not feeling safe from COVID, because I am not vaccinated, not being able to go see friends, and also being afraid of what affect the vaccine may have on me.

Some people have reported that their dreams have gotten more vivid, or that they’ve had an unusually strong sense of God, or felt the presence or heard the voice of departed loved ones—has anything like that happened to you? If it has, tell us about it.

That's interesting you would say that, because I have had some very very vivid dreams. I dreamt about my brother who I haven't seen in 16 years, 3 times in a row! Of course I called him after this. I don't remember dreaming about him very much in the past. My dreams have seemed longer and more vivid.

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

I won't lie - it felt weird walking through the doors of the Getty Museum today in Los Angeles. Perhaps what made it so strange was that it felt in some ways like I had just been there. The last time I had ridden the tram or admired the artwork was February 15, 2020. Just mere weeks before the end of the normal world as we knew it. Yet here I was today with my family.

It was interesting to hear their perspectives on the California lifestyle. Most of them live in Texas where they can roam free while the other half live in Seattle. I loved how they talked about how intolerable the mask rules were here - as if I hadn't mentioned it countless times on the phone with them or if I saw them in person. I guess it's one thing to tell someone and another to experience it firsthand.

I am curious to see what California looks like in three days when the mask mandate supposedly ends. For some reason I remain doubtful that things will change - i.e. that I'll see more maskless people. I keep waiting for the governor to step in and go "um, nevermind, I'm not lifting the mandate even if I'm being recalled."

In many ways, the Getty was exactly the way I remembered it - the vastness of it, the gardens, the artwork. Today, I loved the Vincent Van Gogh "Irises" painting - full of life - vibrant. Something I hope to experience in the future - full of life. In some ways, I have lived like dormant flowers - waiting for the spring to arrive so I can burst into color.

Muchas personas tienen opiniones firmes sobre las vacunas de COVID-19, o cómo se están distribuyendo. Que opina usted?

El supuesto plan de vacunación en mi país es un caos. La mayoría de vacunas que se están administrando han sido donadas. Son muy pocas las que el gobierno ha comprado. Es tan desordenado el proceso que hasta dudo de que tengan las dosis para la segunda aplicación de la Astrazéneca, por ejemplo.

Mientras el presidente dice por televisión que las personas no se quieren vacunar, las colas se alargan afuera de todos los centros de vacunación. Gran cantidad de personas buscan vacunarse. Algunos para la primera dosis, otros ya están buscando la segunda toma. Esto ocurre, principalmente, en las ciudades.

La distribución de las vacunas tiene un gran obstáculo en el subdesarrollo y precariedad rural (que, por supuesto, no es culpa de los pobladores). No existen las condiciones para mantener la cadena de frío que requieren las vacunas. Debido a ello, los pobladores tendrían que viajar de sus aldeas a los centros urbanos "más cercanos" que tengan las condiciones para mantener las vacunas. De solo pensar en el gasto que esto implicaría, ya puede uno imaginarse que la gente no lo hará.

Por otra parte, el gobierno no realizó ni una sola campaña publicitaria de vacunación, mucho menos una campaña publicitaria dirigida a pueblos indígenas. La desinformación en el área rural es persistente.

De verdad, este desastre puede llamarse de cualquier forma, menos "Plan de vacunación".

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

The vaccination rates are depressing in my county and it shows in the CDC transmission rates. With a family member getting chemo and a very frail 98 FIL I am still skipping my YMCA tai chi and swimming classes and miss my friends who are still going there. I am getting increasingly impatient with these anti-vax types who are keeping our transmission levels at the high levels. When the levels go down to moderate, I will be able to return to a normal life - finally!

.Talking to people on LinkedIn etc., there are some interesting long term consequences that might make this whole pandemic experience worthwhile. It is heartening that people have resisted returning to sub-living wage jobs with no benefits and companies are being forced finally to pay something closer to a living wage. That is a good thing because frankly, as a taxpayer, I am damn tired of subsidizing companies’ slave wages requiring rental, food, and Medicaid supplements. Frankly a company that can’t pay their people a living wage shouldn’t be hiring anyone. Taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidizing slave wages in the 21st century.

So if the capital equation rebalances to treat employees as human beings fora change that can only improve life for all of us as a society.

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

At this point in time the coronavirus pandemic is not affecting my life. I am in a pretty good place with COVID. I have been vaccinated, but I still wear a mask because I don't trust other people regardless of if the mandate has been lifted. Overall, I am feeling positive about life going on around me even though I am stressed out between work, school, kids, home, life. I would just like to be still for a moment or two where I can clear my mind and think clearly. I am sure that once I find a groove things will be better.

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

My kids have just finished school but this was by far the most difficult school year in all of our lives. They attended virtually at first, then after a couple of weeks two of them went back to school in August, which was followed a few days later by another one who would only attend the majority of the school year for two days a week. He then was pulled from school in October - December because of an exposure at the school (not his class). My older two went back at the end of September. Wednesdays for four of them were virtual. Have you ever tried to give a cat a bath? That is what virtual school was like on Wednesdays... Then in November one of my older ones was in "close contact" with another student who had tested positive. Our child showed no symptoms and tested negative. He was angry because that killed his deer hunting season before it could even get started. It was a rough year of starting and stopping. Fortunately kids are resilient!

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

I worry that my home state will never achieve herd immunity. Our vax rates are less than 50% & show no signs of increasing. Between the anti-vaxxers and the anti-maskers I feel we're headed for at least low-level continuing unnecessary death.