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.
Who do you trust most -- either in the news or in your personal life -- to explain what is going on right now? Tell us about why you trust them.

We actually upped the number of days we subscribe to print news because I am clinging to the news as a place for information that is reliable and factual. We actually get two papers -- the local and the New York Times -- and I toggle between them for local and national/global stories. I also really appreciate our governor (Inslee in WA) and trust him because he is listening to experts and scientists.

My friends are all over the gamut and feel less objective to me. A lot of what I am experiencing from them (and in my own life too) is so situation dependent, and so I am trying to stay above what they are saying/doing and stick with the higher level recommendations from the state and city officials. So, for example, we cancelled a trip to CA for Thanksgiving because WA, OR and CA issued travel advisories, but we have a (masked, gloved) cleaning person who comes twice a month (and we always wear masks when she is there, or just leave so she can be alone), which is allowed according to the state recommendations.

My mom watches a ton of CNN and she makes me crazy with all of her secondhand news reports. Everything is a crisis. She teases me that I don't watch TV and therefore don't know how bad it is but I have always preferred newspapers because the news is vetted and the ink has been allowed to dry so it tends to be less sensational. It also reminds me that there is more out there than just COVID and I can digest it at my own pace (sometimes the Sunday paper takes me a week).

I am so grateful Biden won the election and hope that he is able to thread the needle between keeping the economy open and people healthy, and between the people who trust science and the people who don't seem to. I think having an adult in charge who seems to really want the best for all people is a good place to start and I think I will trust what his administration says about what to do.

One last thing -- when I think about trust, I also think about the vaccines that are being tested, and my trust level on that is low, not because they started under the previous administration but because they were rushed, and that makes me very nervous. I have read articles in which doctors say they will be first in line and others where nurses say they aren't running to get a vaccine until more testing has been done. So on that I am a little relieved I am in the last category of eligible people to receive a vaccine so I can delay the decision. I vaccinate for everything else, but this feels different.

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

I am starting to hear our governor say that people should stay home for thanksgiving and most of the people I know are doing just that. Many cooks are secretly happy that they don’t have to cook that big meal. As a person of native ancestry, I am re-thinking the whole holiday and hat it stands for.

I am concerned that people will travel for the holidays and Christmas too and January will just be a shit show.

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

My brother-in-law died of lung cancer on Nov. 15--only four weeks after the initial diagnosis. Due to P’s wishes, plus the omnipresent COVID-19, no services were held. Relatives gathered at his homestead in Georgia, and although the majority of the older crowd in attendance did their utmost to follow virus protocol, it is truly quite difficult to refrain from hugging and comforting devastated family members.

For the most part, we sat outside in an effort to socially distance. Conversation turned, of course, to the cancer that took P’s life. Neither I nor my husband (P's brother) has ever smoked, but the sister, nephew, son and daughter-in-law of the deceased were all puffing away. “Aren’t you afraid of developing lung cancer?” I asked. “No, it’ll never happen to me,” P's sister replied. “I don’t even worry about it.” I was aghast. Does she think she possesses some type of all-powerful immunity? How stupid can you get?

Then, COVID-19 entered the discussion.Some of this group profess that the virus is a hoax. Others believe it is real but are taking no preventative measures. “If I get it, I get it,” said one of the 30-somethings. “I don’t want someone else telling me how to live.” Again, how stupid can you get?

Just use some common sense and wear the damn mask.

Talk about how the events of recent months have affected either your work or your ability to work.

COVID-19 shifted the role of an RA from a student leader and community builder to that of a police. At the age of 19 I have been asked to watch and discipline students my age or a year younger than me who are just trying to have a college experience. Adolescents tend to engage in risky behaviours when they feel out of control, and right now that is definetly the case, so I understand where the restlessness comes from, but there's two things. One, they are being more reckless than we were last year. They are sleeping with each other like crazy, and normally I'm all for shameless sexuality, but right now? Having relations with multiple partners? With 8? All of which are also having relations with other people, and sharing drugs, and going out to parties? Yeah...that's stressful as all f*** to think about. Second, I am also an adolescent that wants to be stupid sometimes. There have been so many times where I was on the boarder of, "okay, if we get tested and then go to a party and get tested again hopefully we'll be okay...Everyone else keeps doing it and nothing is happening". But because I have to be the authority figure I have to lead by example so I can't do anything. At the beginning of the year students complained that they felt they were being watched by the RAs, but we are moreso. If we slip up once we lose our standing in being able to enforce the compact, so I'm constantly looking over my shoulder.

Where there should've been the opportunity to connect, we've only created a rift, and although I do have a few students that I've been able to build relationships with, many of them are simply off limits to me. Especially my residents that are in Greek life who, in a normal year we'd probably get along amazingly, but because of this we can't.

Also because of COVID, almost none of the sophmores are here. I went from having a college friend group to having one close friend and several singular friendships that I sometimes catch up with. I feel alone.

What has changed most about the world since the coronavirus pandemic began?

I'm not sure what exactly has changed about the world since coronavirus began. I think we can see very well which countries are strong enough to protect their people in a crisis like this, and that the United States is not one of them. I think the USA's international standing will be affected, and it had already degraded substantially over the past four years. It's hard to predict the repercussions of that, or what that will mean for how long and whether we can build back our international reputation. It feels like the pandemic has been a crisis that revealed many hidden (and not so hidden) weaknesses. We can choose to address those weaknesses or continue to ignore or deny them. It does feel as if our society is at a crossroads, where we have this choice, bit it's unclear what path we'll take. Even if we acknowledge these weaknesses and choose to address them--an important first step that is not guaranteed-- there is of course profound disagreement about how they can be addressed, as there should be in a democratic and diverse society. But since our mechanisms for discourse and sharing factual information are broken as well and are part of the problem, it's unclear how to proceed. I don't know how to get people who are deeply entrenched in conspiracy theories to recognize that they are being conned, at everyone's expense. We know that slave owners after the Civil War continued to deny that they were responsible for wrongdoing, and we know that many people who supported Hitler's rise in Nazi Germany claimed not to know anything about the Holocaust, even as the evidence was in front of them and they actively or passively enabled the genocide. So history shows denial is powerful in situations where fascism, racism, and genocide have gained traction. I don't know how to have dialog with someone who is not coming to the table in good faith, and indeed wants to actively exclude people, including me, from that table.

We’re seeing dramatic differences in rates of COVID infection, illness, and death in different places. What do you think about these differences?

Statistics are going up everywhere, nowhere in the US is doing well. The pacific NW was doing really well, we were slow and steady but our numbers are getting to dangerous levels too.

Why do I think this is happening?

COVID fatigue

Not believing COVID IS REAL

COVID not affecting their family (yet)

Young people thinking they are invincible and can’t die young

People needing to connect with others, so they take risks.

Too little too late from the Federal government

People not following the simple advice of wash hands,wear a mask and social distance

Describe an experience this week that made you happy.

I've really enjoyed my walks in the park with my new friend [J.]. I just met him through another friend and we have started walking a couple of times a week together and it's really fun. I enjoy the company and it has been nice getting to know him. This week we walked to a new part of the park and then ended up at a market where we got warm soup afterwards. It was the first time I ate indoors (outside my home) since March. The place was quite empty so it felt safe, but also kind of strange.

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

Well, my husband's school shut down because he had a student with covid in his class. The parents were sick with covid, knowingly, and sent their children into school anyway. My husband was working closely with this student. The student had symptoms... and the parents still sent them into school.

The school decided to close down my husband's grade. But kept the rest of the school open- including the class where the younger sibling is a student because that child was not expressing any symptoms.

This is being done out of an "abundance of caution".

My husband was directly exposed to a student with covid.

The school has decided as of now to remain open after thanksgiving because they can "trust parents to do the right thing".

I'd like to reiterate what was just said at the beginning of this entry... THE PARENTS WERE SICK WITH COVID, AND KNOWINGLY SENT THEIR CHILDREN TO SCHOOL ANYWAY".

Our governor, who was once very strong on covid restrictions is now hesitant to do so as cases are spiking even higher than the spring.

And, our president is hiding/sulking in the white house because he lost the election.

I fear for what will come as we head into the holidays. I think we are in for several deadly and dark months of this pandemic.

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

My soon-to-be 18-year old son is a senior in high school. My baby. His sisters have pretty much flown the nest, and he's getting ready. For him, the pandemic has turned much of his world upside down: he now goes to school every other work via Zoom, has few if any club activities or celebrations like Homecoming, school sporting events. Those he does experience are adapted in one way or another. Last night we viewed his National Honor Society induction ceremony as a Youtube video recording. What would have taken 45 minutes in a large auditorium with applause was a 15-minute video that I and his dad (we're divorced) viewed separately from our homes.

But it hasn't all fallen apart. Fortunately, his summer baseball team was able to have a full season from July through October! They didn't play as many different teams, but he played, with a quietly cheering crowd of parents (socially distanced).

The college process has been ridiculous. Very few colleges offered in-person tours. No recruiters visiting the high school. He took his SATs wearing a mask. Baseball coaches really haven't been recruiting - many have players playing a 5th year due to the spring baseball season cancellation, so the number of spots on teams are very limited. His dream of playing college baseball may not be attainable.

On the plus side, he took on some unique activities that I'm sure wouldn't have happened without this pandemic: 1) helped develop new curbside service at the local apple orchard salesroom he works at, 2) mail-ordered duck eggs and hatched them, 3) visited his grandparents more often.

I worry for him that his senior year will have to be curtailed in many ways to remain safe. Prom? Spring baseball season? All Night Grad party? What will his freshman fall semester at college be like?

All in all, he's thriving. He doesn't complain. I worry about him. I pray for him. I think he'll come through this a stronger and more resilient person. But it's hard to watch.

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

Ten months into this pandemic, and I still find myself stopping in my tracks from time to time. Today I went for a walk in my neighborhood. I spotted something blue out of the corner of my eye. At first, I glanced at it and went on my merry way. Then I stopped. A year ago, such a sighting would have made me truly stop and wonder. What is it? Who put it there? Did someone make it? Today, my brain quickly dismisses the sighting ...it's just a discarded cloth face mask, probably tossed out a car window or slipped out of someone's pocket.

This pandemic has taught me that one never knows what the future holds. Right now, I'm on the precipice of not knowing what my future holds for me professionally. Maybe the pandemic will bring this public health professional a new and different project. Or maybe I will have to close my consulting firm and pursue full-time employment. Only time will tell.

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

Saturday, November 21, 2020 | 10:13 PM

I think the biggest way I was affected this week is on Tuesday when I had a potential exposure scare. I started to realize how much bigger my social circle is than I believed. It's not just about me getting sick, but my parents and their coworkers, my coworkers and their friends and families, my friends and their family, coworkers and friends. Thankfully the test was negative, but I never had that happen before until 8 months into the pandemic.

The other way it's been affecting me is that I'm hearing about it every. Single. Night. On the news. I understand casing are rising and people shouldn't travel, but it's overwhelming to hear about death, isolation, burnout, and heartbreak every night. I started disliking the news because it's the same thing and that's all we're hearing about, but at the same time, I do want to stay aware and informed. I think I might start watching later and leave for a few minutes just for my own sake.

Many of us are living with restrictions on movement and social contact. Talk about any restrictions that have affected you and your ability to go about your life.

I kind of touched on this in my last entry but I'll elaborate a little more. I started dating a woman about 7 weeks ago and just before we were landed in to Level 5 again (severe lockdown), I asked her to be my girlfriend. At the time, level 5 was a possibility but not a certainty. Anyway even if it was a certainty, I don't think it would have changed my actions, she is a wonderful person. But it has been hard. We are still getting to know each other and want to spend time together. But at the moment, all restaurants and cafes are closed. Cinemas and museums are closed. No household visits, indoor or outdoor are allowed. And its winter!! In rainy Ireland!! So we picnic in the cold, we walk in the cold, we go to the supermarket together in the hopefully not cold and we get by. But it's hard and there is a great sense of longing for both of us to just do normal things. I dream of the day I will hold her hand across a restaurant table or cuddle in close as we watch a movie on a couch. I suppose it will be ever more the sweeter once it happens.

Describe an experience this week that made you happy.

My children are beaming joyous sources of light in this bizarre and sad/scary time we are living in.

My daughter is 11months old and is obsessed with kittens. I'm pretty sure she thinks every one of her books is about kittens... Goodnight Moon: about two kittens playing with yarn. Brown bear Brown bear: about a purple cat. Are you my mother?: is about... you guessed it... a kitten.

My son told me today "Well, a long time ago they didn't have airplanes. So, they used spaceships instead!". This just made me laugh and laugh.

I find myself sharing these stories about my children almost exclusively on social media because I cannot even deal with the social and political reality that we are embedded in. I'm someone who used to post daily about social justice and politics. I would say about 90% of my posts pre-covid were about political topics. Then in the first few weeks of covid, I still was posting about politics. But late spring/summer sort of changed that- I've become tired by it all. And I just want to share the silly, joyful aspects of my life with others.

Many of us are living with restrictions on movement and social contact. Talk about any restrictions that have affected you and your ability to go about your life.

I normally study medicine in Germany. Now I am locked down in Greece, in Athens with my parents. Theoretically I could go back to Germany, but there is no point since all my classes are online and mostly power points, plus I have sublet my room in Germany hoping I would go for an erasmus (I had everything ready until they locked down Prague). I don't leave the house. Every day is the same. I can't see my friends even though I miss them a lot since I am mostly away and now that I got the chance to come to Greece, we are locked in our houses unable to see each other. I can't even go for a walk alone to the center, which I love so much and I miss Athens so much. You see, I was not lucky enoigh to live close enough to the center and now I am not allowed to leave my house in a distance of a few blocks.

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

THANK GOD!! Not only is there news of 1 vaccine this week, but 2 with OVER 90% EFFECTIVENESS RATE FOR EACH!! When I heard the news I was so excited, and it really feels like this is the first big step back to the world being normal again. Just that thought makes me relaxed and hopeful for the future, even if it's not coming quite yet.

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?

In 2020, during a pandemic, we learned:

1. Social inequality is rampant even though ignored for decades by many whites

2. White supremacy came out for under the rocks and began mobilizing and threatening violence

3. The people who make our economy work are front line employees like bus drivers, grocery clerks, nurses, delivery people, ..who are paid the most poorly despite their critical role in keeping the county going

4. Presidential power is unchecked , and we had a president who lied and cheated and used the office for his personal gain When he lost the election in 2020, he refused to concede precipitating a constitutional crisis

5. People began growing their own food, as food insecurity was a constant threat. Food banks doubled their efforts to help poor and unemployed people meet their nutrientional:needs.

6. Schools opened and closed and opened and closed depending on the COVID count.

7. The highest concentration of cases and deaths were in nursing homes and prisons , where people were in close contact.

8. Medical personal were faced with sick people filling up ERs and beds . After months of taking care of hundreds and thousands of patients, they began to burn out and get sick themselves.

9 The country was divided between those who thought that pandemic was a hoax and refused to wear masks and those who wore masks and tried to obey government recommendations in regard to hand washing, social distancing, gathering outdoors in small groups and not indoors, etc.

10. The USA had the worst record when it came to containing the virus and the worse record in number of COVID deaths

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

Yesterday morning, I called [...] to have [T.] and [K.] added to the automated notification for Mom, too. A new receptionist answered the phone after 2 rings. It was a pleasant surprise to have someone answer the phone since it normally rings 10 or more times and you must call back when the phone system disconnects the unanswered call. I asked if more residents became infected and how often they tested them for COVID-19. She said no residents, but 2 more staff members tested positive. They are now testing residents multiple times per week. She said 18 residents and 19 staff members were positive.

I received an automated call [...] at 4:27 stating 28 residents and 19 staff members were positive for COVID-19.

At 6:17 I got a call [...]. I had a sinking feeling that I knew why they were calling. Even though Mom was asymptomatic and had a 98.5-degree temperature, she tested positive on a rapid test and was moved to the COVID wing. She had been in contact with a staff member who has COVID-19. They will get the PCR lab test results today to confirm the diagnosis. I asked what they were doing for her such as extra vitamins D and C or peroxide in a nebulizer. [M.] didn't know and told me to ask the nurse in the COVID wing.

I do not understand why was Mom moved so quickly. If they weren't sure she had the virus and need to wait for the lab results, why didn't they just close the door to her room and let her stay there in isolation? Now that she is in the area with the people who have COVID-19, she will almost certainly get it and die.

I looked at Facebook around 10 and saw that my cousin's spouse died. [L.] was 63 years old and in ICU for 16 days. I feel so bad for my cousin to lose the love of her life to a virus that nobody understands.

Talk about what brings you happiness these days.

The simple incidental things bring me happiness these days. Sunny days and starry nights, my dogs wagging their tails and staying close to me and the walk to the garden to harvest Swiss chard and green onions for simple dinners make me happy. A telephone conversation or text with a friend also adds to my happiness. Hearing the mule and donkeys greet me as I approach, the dogs howling at night, and being at home with my husband bring me happiness. Knowing we are well, safe, and together with all we need makes me happy and grateful during these uncertain times.

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

All I can think about is how the A---hole in Chief is subverting the election. He MUST GO!!!!!

He is behaving like an evil dictator in a third world country. I don't mean to insult third world countries, but I might be doing just that.

What is going to happen?

Woe is me.

Tell us about what you think the world will be like after the coronavirus pandemic is over.

I think the world will have difficult time returning to normal after this pandemic. I think children are learning to be afraid to be near people. I also think we are getting into a habit of being separate, which will have wide-ranging consequences. Globally, COVID has reversed many of the advances we have made in reducing inequality, poverty, hunger, and other health issues. The economic consequences of COVID will be felt for decades to come.

How has media coverage of the coronavirus influenced what you think, how you feel, or what you do?

Collectable thoughts

Am I good enough?

Used to be the question

Until I found a nest in

Music as my favorite drug, the best in

Show and tell but the worst way to sell

My own words thoughts full

A-fright terrified with people's’

Delight in what I do

Could this be true

Or am I misconstrued?

Why I can’t look him in the eyes

Without saying goodbye

To the lies that keep my sighs

Heavy with dread so I

Go to bed thinking

All has been said

Until dreaming

Forces some to say they

Can’t think straight

While others are used to the

Shake at night where

Creative words are

Blown away, at bay

Kept there by the knight’s rest

Receding resounds resonance

At confessing the unwritten

Words in my head

Have a difficult way of getting onto paper.

Three fourths of my life can’t be expressed

In the change that buys my growth

Of perception conceptualizing.

Molding skin lamps become the barricade

Plastering layers over light

Shining through the window paine

Skin is a craft crypted by one's eyes

Transcending perfection’s pain

To be a better you that was the

Yesterday me who believed in

Festering feasible fevers fastly fasting

The fair fairytale.

Was all a lie

Conceived after a cry

Leaving lines locally linear

Relenting the hard bearing truths

Jagged paths scarring the bark tree

Manufactured synthetically effervescently.

Painfully know how the 50 states of America

Are grey, black and white dominated

Reinforcing the red White and blue

Story marionetting the strings of

Children’s toys.

Half feelings of guilty fulfilled desire

Only to be souled by the completed liar

Soiled confessions with inner shames that blame

Those who came to the ‘lame’ events contesting protests

Is this your very best?

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

Doing a Ph.D. in a pandemic -

It is difficult and frustrating to do a Ph.D. I cannot meet other students. I cannot attend conferences. To say that at one point, the world is on my fingertip, and yet it is so distant. I can't wait for this to be over. I can't wait for the smell of good coffee and the sound of the crowd in a coffee-shop. I can't wait for face to face discussions. How do we make sense of this lost time? What do we do in the meantime, while we wait for the world to get back to normal. At one point, these concerns are elitist and trivial and at another point, the amount that my time has been wasted in trying to stay on top of things, not lose balance, keep rethinking research questions in a possible pre-covid scenario or a possible post-covid one also seems difficult.

How do I cope with the lost crucial time? How do I make sense of it? Each day, I stare at the computer and lose the time to interact, I lose the time to actually learn. I try to make sense of the non-verbal cues on the internet. And yet, what are the positives of this? I don't know. Is there any positive side to this that I am missing. Access to talks of course. But they are always there on the internet. What do I do with them? But surely, there must be something positive in not traveling, working from home, etc. Maybe that is a post for another day. A day on which I mark myself to be more positive or hopeful for the future.Until then, yes doing a Ph.D in the middle of the pandemic just sucks. Absolutely sucks!

Tell us about what you think the world will be like after the coronavirus pandemic is over.

I’m afraid the world after the pandemic will be filled with a lot more dark than light. We are seeing that already as we are presented with more opportunities to polarize.

The internet is a wonderful source of information, and we used to say you could find just about anything out there. I think it’s been improved, and now you can indeed find anything...but the flip side of anything is everything, and that’s there too. And we are just coming off 4 years of a new definition of facts, alternate facts, and fake news. It used to be hard to tell what was false...that’s been flipped and now it’s hard to tell what’s true. This has created a great divide in our nation, and expanded beyond our borders. People are angry and fearful, and don’t no what's true and not true and the consequences of that are piling up. Can we get past what’s good for me, to what’s best for we? The economic effects are dire for so many, people will be looking for quick fixes, and we haven’t yet seemed to learn that short term gains may not be in our long term interests. I hope I’m wrong, I wish I saw fields of flowers not just dried up hulks of old trees in what should be the land of milk and honey as envisioned in earlier times.

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?

In some ways, it confirmed my most pessimistic suspicions. People denying the virus, refusing to wear masks, holding parties and rallies in tightly-packed indoor spaces. The kind of madness you expect to see in a twilight-zone type sci-fi film, but try to tell yourself isn't what would really happen.

Our local YMCA permanently closed, where we were taking my son to learn to swim. Lots of local businesses had to close.

I don't know. I don't feel that I have a good answer for this question right now, because I have a "before" and a "during," but no "after." So much of that "before-time" feels almost frozen in amber to me right now, even though I know the landscape will have changed when it's finally safe to resume life again. Right now I just stay in one place most of the time and don't experience very much of what's happening in the world.

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

I have to be honest, I'm not sure what to write this week.

I don't feel anything. I can't recognize or access them this week. I just move from one thing to the next. I spend the time between zoning out, doing nothing.

I'm not sure that's necessarily pandemic related. I know I'm nervous about the rising rates on some level, but I don't feel it tangibly, on the surface. I'm just so tired. The pandemic certainly isn't helping, there's nothing that breaks up my day besides meetings, which I actually have now that works picked up and I'm the only employee left to do any work.

I just want to hibernate until this is over.