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

The pandemic has only given a larger platform to the right wing nuts and I can’t fathom Roe v. Wade being obliterated from our country. I’m disgusted with our country.

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

So we are in the fifth wave here in South Africa. But we are no longer being nearly so careful.

I still wear a mask in public indoor spaces, but we went to a dinner party the other day where we spent some time indoors, unmasked, with about 5 other people.

I have been helping my father with a lot of things and going into his house unmasked.

I don't know if this is the right thing to do.

It feels like a waste of time to be careful, as if the cost is not worth the effort. But honestly, I don't think my behaviour is because of a rational reason. It's more because of a kind of peer pressure, because most people around me are behaving like this.

What long term changes do you expect we'll see as a result of the pandemic?

I don't think we'll see any long-term changes. For one, we're too focused on getting back to "normal". We're already acting like the pandemic is over. The pandemic exacerbated so many existing crises, like housing, student loan debt, public health, food insecurity, employment, living wages, UBI, etc. What has changed? Nothing. There may be changes on the micro level, but any systemic change specifically because of the pandemic seems unlikely.

What will be the key sign(s) for you that the pandemic is over?

It's really hard to imagine a post-pandemic world. I think the key sign for me will be when I don't have to have the mental conversation with myself before I meet someone, wondering 'to hug or not to hug', especially if I haven't seen them in a while.

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

I went wedding dress shopping this weekend! It was fun but it was also weird because none of my friends or family could be there. My fiancée and her family were there to support me, and they were lovely, but I feel like the experience highlighted the way the pandemic influenced the start of our relationship, with me not being able to see my friends or family or home at all for almost two years. Definitely caused some rocky times, but I am glad that I am forming a supportive community here.

On another, positive note, I started my new job this week! I left my old one partly due to their bizarre COVID policies and flexibility, and my new position is absolutely wonderful so far. It's almost 100% remote, I definitely, and more than doubled my pay, and the culture is a thousand times better! The Great Resignation worked out great for me!

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

After so many months of this pandemic, could we really be seeing a glimmer of a light at the end of the tunnel? New case rates are dropping rapidly in my country and in my state, and all but one of the counties in my area have announced that next week they will be dropping their indoor mask mandates for most situations. Leaving them in place for health care workers and schools, but it does suggest that maybe, just maybe, we are approaching a return to some version of normal. I’m hopeful, but skeptical, hesitant. It will be a long time, I suspect, before I’m comfortable being unmasked in any kind of indoor public setting.

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

I picked these flowers from our yard to make bouquets for myself, two friends and my Mom for Mother’s Day. I keep a shelf next to our fireplace as a memorial to her, my Dad and my partner’s dad, all of whom have passed. This was my first Mother’s Day without Mom because of COVID19 so I missed her. But it was fun to make the bouquets look pretty & professional.

Have you been part of any social gatherings lately? If so, what was that like? What impact did the pandemic have, if any?

We've been visiting friends indoors which is a new experience. Not many people at a time and we keep the doors open. No masks.

I'm not sure how I feel about it. Am I being irresponsible? It's confusing.

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

yes, everyone in my circle has gotten the new strain of the virus. I have a co-worker who got sick, two of my four daughters got covid, my son-in-law got covid.

nothing really changed for me.

I took the vaccine in early April, 4th dose, so I think it must have worked because lots of people around me got sick and I didn't.

My youngest daughter, 23, who lives with us full time did not get covid, but she had a bad cold and missed work for a few days.

Generally, I am feeling restless. My mental health is not that great right now. Still have a very wondering mind, can't seem to focus but hopefully everything will turn out ok.

Wrote a poem for a radio station about "Normalcy" Everyone is focusing on returning to normal but I feel that normal will never really be here.

We don't know what normal is anyway.

Nothing is normal anymore.

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

I'm not personally experiencing any intense feelings at the moment. However, a close friend is having a very hard time. He suffers from anxiety and OCD. The pandemic has made things exponentially worse for him. In the last month or so, he's been having more frequent and longer lasting attacks, and needing more time to recover. He's really struggling with trying to re-integrate into day-to-day life outside his home. Even the thought of going out can set him off.

Based on what I'm hearing from him and from others, folks with mental health issues are going to need extra support on an ongoing basis.

It makes me sad. I feel helpless. I wish there was something I could do.

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

Actually, for this week, nothing special happened. Doing nucleic acid test is now my daily routine. The pandemic in GuangZhou is geting better. Also, I got a language partner this week and we practiced oral English every Saturday evening, which is great. So far so good I guess.

Talk about what brings you happiness these days.

Mother's Day TODAY!Bought a cake for my dear mom today~Wish moms in the world a Happy Mother's Day!

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

I was given an ultimatum as a cast member in a school musical-- either remain covid-free by tech week or cancel the show. We are unofficially in a musical cast bubble/lockdown to avoid this worst-case scenario.

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

My mom and I take care of the bills of the house. And the rent has risen a lot. I know that has taken a toll on my financial problems. My insurance is really expensive. I did have a savings but I’m trying to rebuild that right now. Other then that though I’m pushing forward.

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

My son and husband both tested positive for COVID last week. We were so shocked, and scared, and angry, especially because we've been incredibly diligent for so long. But COVID found us anyway. We are very, very grateful that their symptoms are mild to moderate. It could be so much worse.

Months ago I'd assembled a "Kovid Kit" in a giant baggie, with a thermometer, pulse oximeter, Tylenol, Kleenex, masks, and phone charger. I was glad to be able to just throw the bag across the room. But it never occurred to me that I'd need more than one kit.

I had two years to imagine what this would be like. But I never did. I think I'd assumed that with masks, vaccines, and lockdowns we'd be safe. But here we are, and I'm surprised at how unprepared I am, despite my "kit."

Like, I didn't know that my insurance will pay for 8 home tests, per month, per person. Now I know, but I can't find them anywhere. I was also completely in the dark about anti-virals. We don't have a primary care doctor, and none of the test-and-treat pharmacies here offer tele-health. And it seemed hard to believe that they'd want people infected with COVID to show up in person. It took me two days and $50 to find a "Doctor on Demand" tele-health that would prescribe.

Family visits and social activities have been cancelled, and now we're in a holding pattern. This is a photo of one our "feed bags" - bottled water, apple slices, and cereal bars. We just hang the bag on the bedroom doorknob to send food in and out.

Would you describe yourself as someone who’s flourishing at this point in your life? Why or why not? If this has changed during the pandemic, talk about what’s changed.

No, I'm not flourishing. I don't personally know anyone who's flourishing. At most, we're managing to keep from being overwhelmed by current events.

Talk about the last time something made you cry.

The last time I cried was on April 30, the anniversary of my brother’s death. He was a musician, talented, smart, funny, gone way too soon, way too young. I turned on my music and listened to his band’s recording of Directly From My Heart To You,” his voice and harmonica playing reaching out across the years to wrap themselves around my heart and bring tears to my eyes. He died 17 years ago, and yes, I miss him and treasure the memories of our times together. I think of those who have lost friends and family to this pandemic. With nearly a million people in this country dead from Covid, every day there are more than 2,500 painful anniversaries for those who lost someone to the virus. And there are many others who will mark the day their loved one died, not of Covid, but alone because of pandemic precautions.

Have you been part of any social gatherings lately? If so, what was that like? What impact did the pandemic have, if any?

Indeed I have!

After two years of limited and tentative get-togethers, it feels like there have hardly been any social opportunities I HAVEN'T taken advantage of

In the past seven days I've:

* Had a leisurely and entirely enjoyable hour and a half lunch with a colleague at a popular and busy restaurant

* Attended a planning meeting for a weekend camping trip that subsequently got cancelled due to wildfires

* Taken the day off from work to run errands, including buying chicken feed at a farm supply store, shopping for clothes at a second-hand store, and getting groceries at a big box store

* Played board games for several hours at my friend's art gallery with two other friends

* Hiked a seven mile trail in the mountains with a party of six

* Watched a movie at the local art house theater

All of these, except the hiking, was not possible at various points in the pandemic

You better believe I appreciate the chance to do all the things now that restrictions have been lifted

Is it risky? Sure!

Do I know it could be rescinded at any moment if any variants around the world develop more threatening profiles? Yes!

"You only live once" has never seemed more applicable

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

La vida se ha vuelto más difícil. Hoy no he tenido un buen día y tengo la mente llena de pensamientos tristes y negativos.

En los dos años de clases virtuales me he retrasado mucho en mis estudios y eso me frustra tremendamente. También me molesta no tener el dinero suficiente para pagar mis gastos, ¿pero cómo podría? No tengo trabajo y mi familia insiste en que eso es lo mejor para mi ahora y que me enfoque en mis estudios y en mis pasiones como escribir. Ellos me dan una cantidad ínfima que apenas me alcanza para mis gastos universitarios, aunque se encargan personalmente de pagar por otras necesidades. Me molesta cómo me controlan:dinero, horarios, clases, etc. Por otro lado, esto probablemente es solo un berrinche aumentado por mis ganas de consumir y por mi desorden hormonal. ¿Qué hago quejándome? Sé que cuando tenía más libertad y dinero en mi poder tomé decisiones desastrosas que me marcaron hasta hoy, así que entiendo que ellos me cuiden y sean aprensivos.

En momentos así, donde mi mente tira con igual fuerza en dos direcciones opuestas, sólo me queda meditar y orar al Padre para encontrar reposo para mi alma.

Espero que la otra semana escriba algo más animado.

Talk about whatever else is on your mind today.

The journal makes me think about what is happening. This includes more than the pandemic. Some of your questions make me think about the world in general and the US in particular. Some of your questions, especially about health care seem redundant to me, being a Canadian. Americans and Canadians are similar in many ways. However, the issues that divide your nation seem foreign to me. Gun rights, abortion, and a fear of universal health care are three I have a difficult time understanding.

At times, I fear that America's divisiveness is creeping across the border. Or recent protests and rallies are supported by numerous Americans. My values, I believe, mirror many Americans and there are Canadians that agree with restrictions that many US states are implementing.

When I go to vote in any election, it is a simple process. Federal Elections are managed by the Federal government. The people making the decisions are not political appointments. Electoral officers do not change with new governments. We vote less than America. Sheriffs, clerks, Judges, and many other officials are appointed based on a thorough process of screening and decisions made by committee from all stakeholders. Popularity and money buy fewer positions in Canada.

We are not perfect. We are divided in many ways. We have our own skeletons in the closet, the main one being our past and current treatment of First Nations people. Our government will and does apologize for our past injustices. We do not ban books based on Critical Race Theory or any other issues. We now require all students to take courses that recognize our past mistakes and injustices

I worry that my neighbour to the south is moving from democracy to anarchy and authoritarianism. I hope that electors can see the path America is heading and make decisions based on fact and information and not opinions lies and fearmongering. I once heard from a guest speaker at a convention I attended his definition of an "expert." - "Someone who travels more than 30 miles and carries a briefcase." America seems to be full of such experts at this time.

The pandemic seems to have quickened the move towards a different United States. Unfortunately I don't see as much of the "United" at this time.

Thanks for listening. We can all do better.