This is my COVID-19 pandemic journal, posted in May 2020. Because I was a news journalist for nearly 30 years (before switching to humor and fun stories), I found myself wanting to chronicle just a little of this strange time for future generations. Of course, with technology these days, there will be plenty of photos and journals to go around but this is my little snapshot.
The photos were taken when Sweetums and I would take drives just to get out of the house. I didn’t leave often because I am in a high-risk category and took every precaution. I “stole” only one photo of something I didn’t witness myself, a photo of a mural in Birmingham of a giant set of eyes with a face mask added. It was taken by my friend, Wade Parker, and I thought it spoke volumes.
Last week, I saw a “memory post” being shared on Facebook, listing things that have happened during this pandemic so people will be reminded in coming years. I’m going to copy the list below for the same reason. I modified the list only slightly, to remove two or three items I did not personally experience in our area such as “no traffic on the roads.” Whenever Sweetums and I ventured out, there were always lots of people driving although traffic was typically lighter with schools and offices closed.
Before we get to the list, though, I’ll add a couple of items that were part of my personal experience:
- My daughter’s wedding scheduled for April 11 was postponed. She was devastated, especially over cancelling her long-awaited honeymoon.
- I already worked from home but my job at It’s a Southern Thing and AL.com changed slightly as we tailored our content to fit the “shelter in place” orders. I wrote a series of columns about the “quarantine,” which is a misnomer but was easy to use and became common terminology. Click here to get to a list of links.
- I had to visit my specialist and a nurse was stationed outside the office to check for fevers before we entered the waiting room.
- We couldn’t visit our aging Nanna, who is 91, but Baby Girl and I went to her house with signs saying how much we loved her and leaving her puzzles and activity books to help occupy her time.
- Sweetums was not working during the quarantine period and, when I wasn’t writing, we spent lots of time working jigsaw puzzles, coloring our adult coloring books, lying in the hammock listening to audio books, planting flowers, etc. Unfortunately, I also spent a lot of time eating ice cream. A lot. Sigh.
I would also add to the list below two important societal items:
- After the first six weeks or so, small groups of people began protesting the government controls mandated during this pandemic
- People argued endlessly on social media about whether the pandemic was 1. Made up by the government, 2. A weapon made by a foreign nation, 3. Made to seem worse than it was by governments as a method of controlling us, 4. Would kill more people by effects on the economy than the disease itself, etc., etc.
Below is the post being shared on Facebook dated April 24, 2020 (I did not write it and deleted just a few items as mentioned above):
“This is the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic, declared March 11th, 2020. Why, you ask, do I write this status? One day it will show up in my memory feed, and it will be a yearly reminder that life is precious and not to take the things we dearly love for granted.
We have so much! Be thankful. Be grateful. Be kind to each other – love one another – support everyone.”
- Gas prices are $1.59
- Taxes are not due until July 15th.
- The government sent us a stimulus check.
- School cancelled – yes cancelled. Students are doing eLearning since 04/9/2020.
- Social distancing and self-quarantining measures are on the rise.
- Tape on the floors at grocery stores and others to help distance shoppers (6ft) from each other… all wearing gloves and masks. It’s like a movie. Grocery store aisles are one-way, marked with tape
- Limited number of people inside stores, therefore, lineups outside the doors.
- Non-essential stores and businesses mandated closed.
- Parks, trails, entire cities locked up.
- Entire sports seasons cancelled.
- Concerts, tours, festivals, entertainment events – cancelled or rescheduled.
- Weddings, family celebrations, holiday gatherings – cancelled or rescheduled.
- No worship services, churches are closed.
- No gatherings of 50 or more, then 20, then 10 or more, STAY IN declared. Don’t socialize with anyone outside of your home.
- Shortage of masks, gowns, gloves for our front-line workers. Shortage of ventilators for the critically ill.
- Panic buying sets in and we have no toilet paper, no disinfecting supplies, no paper towels, no laundry soap, no hand sanitizer. Shelves are bare EVERYWHERE.
- Manufacturers, distilleries and other businesses switch their lines to help make visors, masks, hand sanitizer and PPE (personal protective equipment).
- Government closes the border to all non-essential travel.
- Fines are established for breaking the rules.
- Stadiums and recreation facilities open up for the overflow of Covid-19 patients in some hard-hit areas.
- Press conferences daily from President Trump, state and local leaders. Daily updates on new cases, recoveries, and deaths.
- 26 million American have filed for unemployment.
- Food lines are nationwide.
- People wearing masks and gloves outside.
- Church online is the only option.
- Funerals are being streamed live for loved ones to say their goodbyes.
- Medical field workers are afraid to go home to their families.
Distancing instructions on the floor of Costco.