COVID-19 Reflections on Quarantine
For the past several weeks, most of the world has been in quarantine due to the COVID-19 virus. An experience that will undoubtedly remain with us for a lifetime. Writers Unite! offered our members the opportunity to put their experience during this pandemic into words.
We asked WU! members to write a short essay answering this question:
In twenty years, what will you tell your children, grandchildren, or other loved ones about your experience during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Several writers chose to write a letter but some chose to write an essay on the experience in another form such as a statement of the current situation or a fictionalized account. Regardless, we felt it important that we document this experience in some manner.
So, a reader for the letter? Must mean we made it out the other side eventually. I’m glad. No one could have predicted it would be this way.
I was in primary school in 2012 when everyone was scared the world would end, my schoolyard was full of stories of tidal waves burying continents, of earthquakes swallowing us or rains of blood and fire, we were scared, but we lived.
I was in high school in 2016, when every week in class it seemed, someone would be mourning the loss of another idol. Musicians, actors, storytellers, humanitarians, some of the best people who gave us fantasy and love to cling to were suddenly struck down, some far too soon, some far too cruelly, but we lived.
I was in University in 2020, when the world ground to a halt when life as we knew it seemed to end overnight. you think the end of the world would be huge, crashing lighting, screaming, irreparable damage, and destruction. But it wasn’t, sure we knew the disease was out there, we knew people were sick, but it wasn’t here, it wasn’t affecting us, we didn’t listen until it was too late.
The world didn’t end in fire and screaming, it just wheezed, slowed to a stop as one person got into somewhere they shouldn’t have and the sickness bloomed out unhindered. Suddenly it was everywhere, every hour I’d see another country report tens, hundreds, thousands of cases, the numbers changed so quickly we couldn’t keep up, people were sick, people were dying, and we hid in our houses holding each other at arm’s length.
The animals came back because we disappeared. The end of the world at least taught us that the climate crisis was us when we left, the air got clearer, things started living in our place.
Fernando Rojas Santos
You’ve probably heard the story, but not from me. Back in 2020, we were all in lock-down, including you when you were very little, definitely the most bizarre experience of all our lives. We could not go out, unless it was extremely necessary, just to prevent the spread of a virus that originated in China and that it was killing thousands everywhere, having to stay home for months. Although it was annoying, I saw this as an opportunity to make changes in my life; I had so much time in my hands, you see, that I thought it would be a waste not to take advantage of it. Though the first two weeks I was working from home and didn’t have much time to do anything else, I was furloughed at work the week after, and then, I did not have any more excuses, so I started getting my hands into the jungle I called garden and started making it more habitable, so you kids could enjoy it at a later date; I made myself face the tens of boxes with memorabilia I had gathered for 32 years and had to bite the bullet so I could throw most of it away; I definitely made myself available to do things with granny and uncle Dan like playing games or watching stuff on telly; and I finally came to terms with my good old writing projects, no excuses this time. I even thought I was given a second chance, after being unemployed the year before and not doing much writing despite the free time, so, basically, although I knew COVID-19 was a terrible thing that happened to many people, I saw the time granted as a blessing in disguise, and finally became the writer I always wanted to be.
To My Beloved Family,
If you are reading this, I just wanted you to know that you should live your life with good deeds and actions; live your life being aware of your surroundings and the people you came across; live your life here on Earth as a memorable one.
Years 2019 and 2020 are undoubtedly the years the world has remembered for a lifetime. Those were the years that the world started to change physically — its people and the Earth itself. We may see each passing year as a challenge but those years were the ones that the world began to lock itself from interacting physically with each other. During those times, hardships and sacrifices became visible through the presence of people who are working as front-liners fighting and facing the uncommon enemy. What made the world change was because of a disease — The Corona Virus Disease 2019. A small disease that turned into a pandemic that set the world into lockdown with the countries being in their self-quarantines. Thousands died from the virus, perhaps millions.
It was hard to be in that situation even if you’re only a civilian. You cannot go out directly to buy foods and gather supplies for the family because you have to be always prepared in going out. Here in our country, the Philippines, our government is trying their best to help those who are in dire need and to always comfort the people that this storm will pass soon if we fully cooperate with the rules and regulations only for our own safety and protection.
I hope that you tell this information to your future children and the children after them. For as long as men draw breath, this phenomenon will be remembered.
Yours Truly, Ashley T.
Lisa Criss Griffin
I am not afraid of COVID19. Concerned, yes. I refuse to live in fear from the plethora of catastrophic theories being propagandized into our everyday lives by various media and online networks who have been pushing a globalist agenda for years. It is also evident to me as an experienced medical professional that information and guidance concerning the COVID19 virus from large, global organizations concerned with the health of human beings everywhere has been faulty at best. From the beginning, the recommendations from the CDC, WHO, and other supposedly benevolent governmental organizations have contradicted what I would expect as best practices for prevention of the spread of a pandemic.
Physicians are being ordered by their employers to list COVID19 as the cause of death, even if it wasn’t the primary cause, for monetary gain. Many hospitals are laying off medical professionals because of the lack of COVID19 patients. Most of the coronavirus patients are recovering without extraordinary measures. Those who get very sick or die are the same vulnerable population groups the familiar seasonal flu targets.
What if these huge agencies who answer to a small group of powerful people are compelled to admit they “made mistakes” because of the preponderance of contrary evidence? What if this virus was man-made and released globally in order to reduce the vulnerable, surplus population of the world while scaring the survivors into submission to global governance? Is being politically correct more important than seeking out the actual truth here? Are our individual constitutional rights and freedoms still worthy of defense from both domestic and foreign enemies? Have we been played??? Inappropriately harsh lockdowns, the destruction of individual national economies and rights, and rampant fear-mongering may be the greatest political hoax ever perpetrated upon the unsuspecting citizens of our nations.
April 17, 2020
I’m writing this letter to you to clarify some points about the Covid-19 pandemic. I think they need to be brought up to help you understand. I’m not sure what you know, so bear with me.
Grandma told me that I’m brave when this pandemic started. I wouldn’t say brave, so much as saying I’m trying to believe that everything will work out. Things will become normal again. Going out to run errands or having fun without the gloves and mask, without fear. So it’s not that I’m brave. It’s that I see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I try not to watch the news on TV because it only leads to confusion and frustration. Instead, I choose to stay informed by getting information videos online to stay up to date. The more I know, the more I can go about my daily life.
The mandatory lockdown didn’t alter my life because I didn’t go out much and never went to a party or had a big party. My socialization centered around chat rooms with people from all over. The small things in life were a little more difficult, but with modern devices it wasn’t a big deal.
I’ve seen enough pictures online about this pandemic. Don’t let me catch a picture of you laying in a hospital bed with tubes coming out of your nose and mouth with an IV line in your arm. I would rather you spend time working to become that accountant.
Stay happy and healthy. Keep going and stay strong. We will come out of this.
It started March 2020, when we were all in quarantine, Not allowed out, schools closed, we couldn’t be seen. Many not allowed to work, some were furloughed, For those of us that had to work, our courage had to grow. Being faced with a virus that could make us unwell, It was incredibly scary, some their fears they didn’t tell. The nurses, the doctors, the staff on the front line, We all worked together at this really hard time. Some lived in hotels away from their families, Afraid of bringing it home to their partner and babies. Some were truly isolated for months from the world, Having food delivered, staying safe, their stories are now told. There was mighty Captain Tom and the admirable Margaret, Tom walked his garden and Margaret had a different target. Climbing her stairs, like climbing a mountain, These two raised millions and didn’t let doubt in. The health care workers who put videos on Facebook, Tic Tok, the rainbows, You Tube, Zoom, Skype and news groups. Social media it helped us in our isolation, The virus changed the world and it made our lives uncertain. There’s so much we can tell you of COVID -19, A time like no other, a time, unreal even obscene. The death toll it rose, by the thousands every day, And we all prayed for a vaccine to make it go away. A cough or a symptom bought a week’s isolation, And ignoring this went against the plan of the nation. It wasn’t long before health workers were offered the COVID swab test, It was important for us all to work as we were giving our best. So, twenty years on, the world has gone far, Those brave souls of 2020, we know how lucky we are. Staying at home, unable to go out, We lived it so you have a life to talk about.
Each morning I wake up with a sick feeling in my stomach, that sick feeling is COVID19.
In this scary world we’re inhabiting, there are no guarantees what will happen to our family, friends, or to our livelihoods.
The UK Lockdown came too late; the death toll screams in retribution. Under Government Lockdown rules we must remain at home, venturing out for one walk a day, essential food shopping, or medical emergencies.
No cute visitors grace our household apart from a ginger cat. I name him Butternut, he caresses my legs, purring. Cats wander freely, we don’t – we are caged animals – we disinfect, wash our hands, and wait.
The coronavirus threatens the weakest – my husband with high blood pressure, my youngest daughter – the asthmatic. Somehow, even when my husband falls ill, he recovers. With no testing, it is uncertain if he’s had the virus.
The strain of isolation makes us argue, swear, eat, and drink excessively.
We discuss our hopes and fears, embrace the positive; bake cakes, keep fit, and paint our nails. My poor husband is the lone male, we offer to paint his nails too. He declines! Our youngest daughter Georgina starts a TikTok channel with short, funny clips. I write COVID19 related stories – my usual genre – fantasy seems alien in this strange reality.
Fear becomes too real when my mother waits for forty-five minutes on the 111 number. It is not COVID19. Her face is infected with an insect bite. My ninety-one-year-old father’s voice cracks. He calls himself a coward for not accompanying her to hospital. Sad words that I’ll never forget.
Mum is safe at home now, away from COVID19.
I pray when this is over, we will laugh about that bloody insect.
In the meantime, we Skype and hope.
My dear, beloved children,
I lived through a truly terrifying and hard time twenty years ago in the first half of the year 2020, and that was the Covid-19 pandemic, otherwise known as Coronavirus. It was a flu-like virus, the main symptoms were fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue, and that was if you were symptomatic, meaning you could tell if you were feeling differently than you normally would when you were healthy.
I, for the majority of the time we were in lockdown, stayed home; I didn’t leave except to pay for my medications at the pharmacy or to walk the dog. I was living with my parents at the time, and I’ll tell you why that was at 26 years old another night. I didn’t have any symptoms for the duration of the lockdown, so I was very lucky. I didn’t lose any loved ones. But many people died.
The day the pandemic was over, when our great country was finally done opening up again, I hugged my parents so tightly, for human contact within six feet was prohibited before this point.
We stayed obedient and strong throughout the whole lockdown, we weathered the storm until the end. It wasn’t always easy, but we did our part to stop the spread.
I love you both so much. Learn this lesson and pass it on. You may save lives someday, just as your mother once did. God bless you.
Dear VIRUS... Oh COVID-19 YOU VIRAL THING! LOOK AT HOW MUCH DESTRUCTION YOU BRING? OUR SCHOOLS OUR SHOPS THEY'VE ALL BEEN LOCKED DOWN. WE'RE ALSO NOT ALLOWED TO DRIVE OUT OF TOWN. YOU DON'T KNOW THE PAIN AND TROUBLE YOU'VE CAUSED. WE LOOK AT THE NUMBERS AND WOW WE'RE IN AWE. JUST THINK IT ALL STARTED OUT WITH A BAT. WHO PASSED IT TO HUMAN AND NOW THAT IS THAT. THE GRIEF THAT WE FEEL NOW, IS UNREAL. WE WISH IT WERE DREAM BUT IT SEEMS NOW IT'S REAL. SO NOW WE MUST THINK, ABOUT WHERE TO STAND. WHEN TO GO OUT, OR IF TO EAT OUT? ALL OF THESE DAILY THINGS, WERE THE NORM. AND NOW WE ALL MUST BE WELL INFORMED. HOW GOOD WILL IT FEEL TO DIP MY FEET IN THE SEA TO SEE THE SWIMMERS, SURFERS GLIDING PAST ME IT IS OUR DESIRE TO REACH UP MUCH HIGHER. TO LIFT ALL THE LIMITS AND OPENING MYER! DRIVING AND FLYING ANYWHERE THAT WE PLEASE. BUT I THINK RIGHT NOW WE'LL JUST WAIT AND SEE. COVID, OH COVID, WE'RE BROUGHT TO OUR KNEES. NOW WE WILL TRY TO CREATE A VACCINE. TO TRY TO DEFEAT YOU, YES THAT IS OUR AIM. WE KNOW DEEP WITHIN US, TWO CAN PLAY AT THIS GAME. WE'RE SMART, WE'RE SAVY WE KNOW WHAT WE'RE FACING WITH MODERN TECHNOLOGIES AND CONTACT TRACING. SO STAY SAFE, STAY HOME AND DO CHECK ON LOVED ONES EVEN TO CHECK IF THEY NEEDED SOME WET ONES. SO NOW AS WE PRACTICE OUR PERSONAL HYGIENE. OUR MASKS THAT WE DON UPON EVERY OUTING. WE KNOW 1.5METRES OF SOCIAL DISTANCING HELPS. TO HELP STOP THE SPREAD THAT THE WHOLE WORLD HAS FELT. SO COVID, OH COVID YOU VIRAL THING. US HUMANS WON'T GIVE UP WE WON'T LET YOU WIN. @eva brown
For Dominic Harper: To be opened on his 21st Birthday
As I write, you sleep in your carrycot by my side. There are just the two of us now, in our silent house by the sea, guest cabins long empty. So – starting a new page in my plague journal – I will record a true account of how your life began.
Seemingly endless, today has still been too short. It started at dawn as your mother shook me awake, blood spraying through her teeth as she fought for breath. Before slipping to the floor, she gasped “Nick. He won’t wake up!” Groggy with sleep, I ripped my phone from its charger and pressed the all-too-familiar emergency number.
“It’s Tessa Harper again,” I snapped.” My daughter-in-law caught the ‘rona and collapsed. Send someone quickly to the Cove Inn, as I must get the baby.”
Not waiting for a reply, I rushed into the front bedroom, gasping in relief as a hungry cry greeted me. Only a day old, you knew what you wanted, nuzzling my long-dry breasts. A few minutes later, you were sucking hungrily on your bottle when the EMTs knocked on the door.
Heart aching, I dared not go upstairs and risk further contagion, with you in my arms.”Please,” I begged, “check the other bedroom as well, where my son sleeps.” A few minutes later, they walked back into the kitchen, slumped shoulders telling me what I least wanted to hear.
“I’m so sorry, Mrs. Harper,” said the woman, carefully standing a safe twelve feet away. On her wrist, a fresh V (for vaccinated) pulsed red, still inflamed from the tattoo needles. “Your son passed during the night, and your daughter-in-law went as we put her on oxygen. There was nothing we could do.”
Numb, I nodded as though I understood.
“The inn will be burned tonight, of course. I will bring down whatever I find for the baby and some clothes for you. Please tell me what else you need that can withstand gamma blast sanitization. The Survivor Bus will pick you up within the hour.”
And now, my precious grandson, we are waiting for transport to The Island – two remnants of the Second Spike.
Dearest Little Ones,
You were too little to appreciate the great danger we faced in the early months of the year 2020. There was a lot going on that we, the grown ups, kept from you for your own peace of mind.
I can’t claim we did a good job with that. Children see and hear so much more than we give them credit for, even really young children.
I imagine you remember things we didn’t think about.
Did you hear Mom and Dad fight about money? People lost their jobs, and it was a scary time. Your parents worried about being able to keep a roof over your heads, food in your bellies and clothes on your backs. These are things parents worry about all the time, anyway, but 2020 and the COVID-19 Pandemic made the worries so much more urgent.
Did you miss going to the park or the playground? Large gatherings of people could spread the disease quickly, and your parents wanted you to be safe. I know you wanted to go to McDonald’s and visit your friends in their Play Place. I know you wanted a birthday party. I know you wanted your friend to sleep over. But we wanted you to be safe.
Did you miss going to see Grandma? Did you miss her big hugs and sitting on her lap while you shared stories and dreams? Well, Grandma (that’s me!) missed that too. That was the worst part of the whole thing for Grandma!
I know it was hard for all of us not to go visit and play with friends and go to school. But, because we all stayed at home and practiced social distancing and washed our hands over and over again, things got better.
Now you can visit me again. Hurray!
D. A. Ratliff
I was delighted to hear from you and your question regarding my experience during the pandemic of 2020. I find it interesting that you are choosing to write an article about that particular pandemic year as we have had several since then. COVID-19 was different, however. It paralyzed the global community.
The virus outwitted us. A deadly virus that couldn’t make up its mind who it wanted to kill and how it wanted to accomplish its task. Seemingly coming out of nowhere, although the authorities suspected it came through a “Wet” market in China selling live animals for food. A bat. That was the culprit at first. However, eventually, we learned that the virus came from a lab in Canada affiliated with a lab in the Chinese city designated ground zero. Was it a lab accident or a deliberate act that released the virus?
The political intrigue only added to the chaos. Politicians across the globe using the pandemic to improve their positions of power. Thankfully, some stepped up and became the leaders we hoped they would be. However, you wanted to know about my experience.
Everything was off-kilter. Walking through the grocery store was surreal, a Salvador Dali painting surreal. We were always conscious of the virus. People in masks, some people not, and the instinct was to move away from them. Every object touched felt tainted. We washed our hands constantly.
The worst thing for me was that the people that I cared deeply for were far away. I feared for them more than myself, for their families and friends. I suffered through the impact of the virus on my best friend, who survived after becoming infected.
We lived through that time by trusting each other and trusting our faith. For me, all I needed.
Thanks to Writers Unite! member Caroline Giammanco, an English teacher and author of three true crime novels, who gave her quarantined students this assignment and passed on the suggestion.