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

I'm joining this project fairly late (Feb. 28, 2021). My wife and I began quarantining in mid-March 2020, and we worked from home thereafter. I got into the habit of taking photos of pandemic-related scenes on our daily walks near our home in downtown Albany, NY. Then, in the summer, I included photos related to Black Lives Matter and other political issues. I'm grateful for the chance to share these photos. I'm a historian at SUNY Albany and I think this project will be very important for later researchers.

This is a photo from early May 2020. It shows the front stoop of a downtown Albany rowhouse. One of the striking things for me, early in the pandemic, was the strong sense of solidarity and encouragement many people displayed. At the same time when people had to isolate from each other. Nearly a year into the pandemic, some of that solidarity and encouragement remain, but a lot of people are also getting tired of restrictions like masking.

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

He was gaining footing, getting jobs and feeling proud of the work he was doing. His business was thriving and I was so proud. But COVID had a different plan. It made it unsafe for him to go into strangers' houses and do work on their properties. It made it unsafe to go to Home Depot and buy supplies, It robbed him of his motivation, his excitement, his skills.

For a while he kept himself busy with little home improvement projects. Making a pegboard, re-laying the bathroom floor, and carving measuring spoons out of walnut and maple wood. Then the depression and restlessness set in. As did the cold weather. Stuck inside with no end in sight, he applied for unemployment. He'll be on unemployement at least through April. And then what? He likely will never go back to his small business or the clients he amassed. Hopefully it'll be a meaningful change. Hopefully we'll all get those meaningful changes we're yearning for.

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

We are about to begin the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unreal that it is now a yearlong, and still not over, but grateful that vaccines have been developed and are becoming more widely available. I think our son has suffered the most, recovering from drug addiction and depression. Although he attends group and individual therapy, he stays at home with us and seems to have lost all motivation. This is discouraging, as my husband and I contemplate retirement. I go in to work 3 days a week, working remotely otherwise, and to the drugstore to pick up prescriptions - that's it. Tiresome and repetitive. I have worked to expand the time I spend reading books, and have begun to journal again after a long absence. This helps.

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 was born during Polish “Stan wojenny” state of war period in early 80s when strict curfew was imposed. Now I find myself again in a country with strict curfew rules. For over a month now everyone in Quebec is forbidden to leave their house between 8pm and 5am. It’s not like I have anywhere to go, especially being a mom of 10 months old, but can’t shake off feeling imprisoned. I feel our apartment door locking. We are safe here. We have a full fridge, good wifi and uber eats on speed dial. And I still feel so trapped. My partner says even without the pandemic we would be stuck at home with the baby anyways, that our life would still be a lockdown. But he is a loner, who rarely meets up with any of his few friends. I used to have a big group of female friends around me, friends that could be visiting me now, bringing wine, much needed help with childcare and just good company. Instead we both stare at their respective screen: him overworking himself so he can keep his well paying, cushy tech job, me escaping my motherly duties to the world of pre-pandemic Law and Order. I tried to watch the “pandemic” season once - could not sleep for few days. If it’s real in Law and Order, it’s real everywhere. Also I would pause the episode all the time and complain about their lack of proper masking and social distancing.

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

- work, customers, masks, and an apology

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

Today brought me much happiness. Hubby and I visited the zoo—the first time we’ve been to any attraction in well over a year. With masks on and the initial Pfizer doses in our systems, we cautiously strolled through the botanical gardens (maintaining required distancing from other guests) and then zigzagged over winding paths that featured fascinating creatures at every turn. It was wonderful to be outdoors on such a gorgeous day and to hear the delighted laughs of others—young and old.

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

This week's big accomplishment as it relates to the pandemic is that I was able to bring my father for his 2nd vaccine shot. He took it all in stride and had no issues, and the place we went to was very well organized, uncrowded and super friendly. I'd like to go there for my own vaccine, if possible.

Otherwise, I'm operating pretty much by routines for work, exercise, diet and so on.

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

It has been over two weeks since I received my second Moderna vaccine but am still scared to get on public transportation.The guy in this photo has been taking public transportation all year during the pandemic and is still alive and walks by my apartment on his way to the bus stop every week. Still I’m not sure it’s safe even though recently the public transit system ... issued a mask mandate instead of a mask recommendation order.

We also received notice in my senior apartment building this week that we can have a few visitors. Until now we niece only been allowed a wellness check by one friend or family member.

The numbers of COVID cases in [town] are falling and are at the lowest level since the pandemic began a year ago, Some of our amenities have opened beck up, like the beauty shop, computer room, exercise room, game room and community room.

We are still told to wear masks outside our apartments but not everyone does and half of those who do have it below their noses.

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.

I trust Dr. Fauci & the science reference COVID & vaccines. In my actual life I have God (prayer) & myself to understand things these strange days. I do wish I had a human to talk to that would comfort me during these scary times. I have no support system. Though I am the support system for my son & elderly mother.

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

This week I had an email disagreement with my boss over the safety issues involved in reopening my work-place to the publc. Because he (my boss) is an administrator and not working on-the-ground with patrons and I am, I thought it was important to express my concerns about things in the past (when we were open during our county's red tier) that made me afraid of being in the building: non-complaince of mask-wearing by patrons and employees, and eating/food (since folks have to take off their masks to eat and aerosol seems to be the main form of covid transmission). These are things I see, and my immediate coworkers, but that my boss does not see because he is not part of the daily working of the library.

Honestly, my email was kind of blunt because I can't believe I am having to make these points now that we are almost a year into the pandemic. My boss was ticked off in his response - he told me all protocols would be followed just as they had been (which of course, they weren't) and that because I am not a frontline employee, I can just stay home and come in after hours for work needs, AND, that because I have been vaccinated I shouldn't be worrying so much.

I like my boss but every now and then, when I bring something like this to his attention, he gets kind of angry at me. Makes me feel like an unneeded part of the organization. I know we will get through this latest disagreement but I think that the way it will dissipate is by me not bringing it up again, or pressing my point.

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

A pesar de que estoy mejor de salud física, me he quedado más tiempo a vivir en la casa de mi mamá. He de decir que la estancia acá me ha ayudado mucho con mi salud mental. Realmente, la tristeza y angustia que estuve experimentando antes de enfermarme han disminuido durante el tiempo que he estado aquí.

He podido hablar con mi mamá, realizamos las comidas del día juntas y nos acompañamos durante todo el día. El insomnio que yo experimentaba ha disminuido: logro dormir más horas; también tengo mejores hábitos higiénicos: anteriormente, me costaba mucho tomar una simple ducha.

En resumen, creo que la soledad que experimentaba en mi propia casa no me estaba ayudando para enfrentar el confinamiento, ni las consecuencias de la pandemia en mi vida. Desde que estoy acompañada, veo las cosas con mayor optimismo y he comenzado a tratar de planear lo que debo hacer para mejorar mi situación de cara a estas difíciles circunstancias.

Por otra parte, creo que mi mamá también está contenta de que yo esté aquí y me quede un poco más. Veo que se esfuerza por hacerme sentir bien en su casa. Es bonito cuando alguien te demuestra que disfruta de tu compañía.

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

This week was my son’s third birthday. Instead of a party or a special outing we had cake and presents and bbqed outside since it was unseasonably warm. One set of his grandparents are now fully vaccinated so they came over for a little while (still outside only, still in masks). We had many FaceTime calls throughout the evening: the other grandparents, cousins, friends. My son was thrilled. And I realized he doesn’t even know a world where friends come over to houses or where kids ride carousels. Just his two of his grandparents stopping by was over the top amazing for him.

This comfort of his with this pandemic life is both hugely helpful and a bit devastating for me. When we go hiking on the weekends, he runs to the side of the trail when we run into other hikers, he reminds me to “Give the people space, mommy”. When we pick up books at the library, he looks in through the glass, not wistfully as he did a year ago, but practically to see what he might want to order for next time. He doesn’t even remember going inside anymore. Words like “mask”, “curbside pickup” and “sanitizer” are part of his daily vocabulary. Covid life is the only life he knows.

Additional Material

2/27/21

Hungry kids + exhausted & overworked parents = dinner @450°.

A relatively common pandemic dinner in our house.

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

I am 76 yrs.old, retired r.n.. I took care of others for 50 yrs, now find i am unable to access health care, have had tests postponed and cannot even get an in person appt. with my doctor.

What was the biggest news story this past week -- either in your community, nationally, or globally?

Due to the ongoing pandemic, our small community has been forced to cancel its annual festival for the second year in a row. Each spring for 34 years, this two-day event has attracted thousands to our town and brings much need money to the coffers of area businesses. For residents and town officials alike, the festival is a much anticipated social highlight, as well as an opportunity to accentuate the municipality’s positive points. Disgruntlement prevails now, but there is no doubt that this decision--however disappointing--was the wisest course of action.

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?

500,000 Americans have lost their lives to COVID as of this week. That is 14x a normal flu and 167x 9/11. My heart breaks for those that have lost friends and family to this virus. I don’t personally know anyone who has died from COVID and I think that speaks to my privilege. I don’t feel qualified to say much on the topic of race but I know that the data speaks for itself. POC have been disproportionately affected by COVID. America needs change.

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

- reflections on the tourism industry in pandemic times

Talk about about something that has changed in your life in the last few months.

This Covid time has allowed me the time to decide the people I want to remain in my life and the ones I do not.

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.

In the context of the coronavirus, I trust Anthony Fauci. He seems to have the experience and the ability to provide calm, competent, honest responses to questions about the virus. He also had enough political skill to keep his integrity intact while navigating around the obstacles placed in his way by the Trump administration.

What was the biggest news story this past week -- either in your community, nationally, or globally?

February 26, 2021

It never snows where I live. We may go years between snow showers that last maybe overnight. But this year, we were shut down across all 254 counties in the state for at least two or three days with snow and icy road conditions. Northern counties were shut down for up to a week. It has been a big deal in the news, and it has eclipsed a larger story. The COVID pandemic is abating. After another week of lockdown enforced by nature and a vaccination drive, the numbers are down. Some businesses in my area not only got relief from the return to warm spring weather, they are now allowed to return to 75% occupancy rates. Most businesses in my area have not seen this level since the pandemic lockdowns last year.

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

- some thoughts on monotony

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

When we all realized we had to wear masks, I developed an elaborate system of ordering my masks in a row and always taking from the right side, so that I could be sure that any mask I had been using had had at least five days to "dry" out and for any virus on it to shed.

Now I'm down to a coat rack, masks thrown about, no order whatsoever. This is how I feel these days--completely scattered and without any sense of forward direction.

It's true, we are coming out of winter, the vaccines are here, but the messiness of the vaccines is so depressing. My very progressive county, in an effort to be equitable, is holding back tons of vaccine until poor people and people of color can get them. Meanwhile tons of old people and teachers can't get them through the county and have to look elsewhere.

At the same time, the governor (a republican) is sending a ton of vaccines to the pharmacies because they are less stringent about who they vaccinate. I find myself in the off position of actually supporting a Republican in this case. I have lost patience with people who are skeptical about the vaccines. If you don't want them, then just get out of the way and let other people have them. I feel like that is totally classist and racist of me, but I have friends over 65 who are going crazy trying to get vaccines. In this case, there really is scarcity. The rollout has been such a huge mess it's depressing.

And meanwhile, my mother, like SO many other elderly people in care homes, is deteriorating emotionally from 12 fricking months of isolation and there's nothing my brothers and I can do about it. Part of me feels guilty for complaining because, hey--she's alive, she has food, she has medical care, at least she didn't die alone in an ICU, suffocating in her own lungs

But then I think, oh Fuck that. I'm just angry and sad that this whole pandemic happened, that Chinese bureaucrats fucked this up, and Trump fucked it up, and the world fucked it up and it's still here and how many people have suffered and died.

I've been trying to keep it together for my family and stay cheerful, but I don't know. I think I ran out of happy steam or happy juice or whatever it was motivating me to be up. I just want me and everyone else to be vaccinated and all the bickering everywhere to stop.

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

This week I was able to get my Corona virus vaccine shot. Under Massachusetts' companion program I was able to take my mother-in-law for her second shot (I also took her to her first before the program started) and get my first. Registering for the shot felt both like a cruel game and winning the lottery. Our experience at the Mass Vaccination Site was incredible! It was smoothly run and all of the staff we interacted with were great!

My husband got his shot as he has multiple co-morbidities and I feel incredibly relieved that we are both scheduled for our second and that maybe when we are able to reopen our restaurant it will be a little safer for each of us personally. The flip side to this is that I am a 36 year old white woman. I was able to use my computer and cell phone to snag these spots. Talk about privilege. So much of this pandemic has been a study in contrasts, our business has been forced to close, when we are open things are so hard!! But we have our home and plenty of food and are safe.

With the vaccine appointments, I am home with my daughter and have the ability to get online as soon as appointments open up. In fact, I am going to try and help another "grandma" in our family register for her shot tomorrow. So I guess I am using the privilege well but I am still so conflicted. Like I shouldn't have gotten a vaccine because others need it, the system was set up for me to be successful from the bottom up. Ugh ... am I a shitty person for wanting to protect myself and my family and my staff? Maybe.

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

Hace frío. -5 grados centígrados afuera. 10 grados aquí en casa. Ya es de madrugada y aún no tengo sueño, pero debo hacer el propósito de dormir o por lo menos acostarme para descansar. Aunque hoy me levanté muy tarde, casi a medio día. El horario se me ha cambiado y no sé qué es lo que lo ha trastornado. Quizás el frío. Le echo la culpa al frío de todos mis males. Pero en realidad no sé qué es lo que está pasando. Qué más da. Mañana – o más tarde- será otro día. Un mejor día.

Entre hoy y ayer han estado llegando a diferentes países de Sudamérica la vacuna contra la peste. La mejor vacuna hasta ahora es la diseñada por los rusos, llamada Sputnik V, con una eficacia de más del 96%. He visto en el canal de YouTube de la rusa Inna Afinogenova – a quien le creo por lo juiciosas que investigando- que la comunidad científica unió esfuerzos y ya están combinando tanto la vacuna rusa como las versiones europeas. Hoy empezó la vacunación al personal de la salud en Chile. El presidente en persona fue a recibir las primeras vacunas. También llegaron a la Argentina las primeras 300 mil vacunas Sputnik V.

Y a Colombia no ha llegado ni mierda. No se sabe cómo se hizo la contratación de las vacunas y a qué precio salieron y ya el congreso está llamando a control político al ministro de salud. Dicen que compraron 40 millones pero no dicen a qué precio y cómo fueron las negociaciones. Además compraron las que menos eficacia tienen, es decir, compraron lo peor. Aquí en gringolandia ya comenzaron también una primera etapa de vacunación. Mañana 28 vacunan a mi prima L. que trabaja en una clínica donde hay muchas personas infectadas.

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

- a late night story about homelessness, laundry, collecting quarters