As many Americans entered their first full week of their new, more restricted reality, feelings of isolation and anxiety rose alongside confirmed cases of COVID-19. By Friday evening, New York was approaching 8,000 cases — and one in five Americans had been ordered to stay indoors by state decrees. We asked our readers how they were handling it all. Here’s how 1,023 of them responded.
How would you describe your emotional state right now?
Very anxious and/or scared: 22.18%
Somewhat anxious and/or scared: 39.98%
Slightly concerned: 5.64%
Totally fine: 2.63%
How sick do you feel right now?
Like I’ve been hit by a truck: 0.49%
Seasonally sick; feels like a common cold: 4.72%
Slightly under the weather: 11.31%
Relatively fine, I guess?: 58.21%
Picture of health: 25.27%
Do you know anybody who has tested positive?
Do you, or anyone you know, think you might have it but can’t get tested?
How often are you leaving your home?
Not at all: 15.50%
Just for essential errands: 73.26%
I still have to leave for work, but am not making many other trips: 9.50%
I’m living my life as normal: 1.74%
Have you lost work or had your hours reduced since the outbreak began?
What else would you like to tell us about your experience with the coronavirus?
“I can’t tell if I’m actually sick or if I’m just feeling hyper anxious. I’ve gotten into the routine of taking my temperature, then drinking a glass of wine.”
“I am an emergency medicine doctor. My work life is continuing on as normal — I forget everyone else is so isolated. We are busy, we are concerned, we are working on being prepared.”
“I am currently 20 weeks pregnant. My doctor’s office has had a number of confirmed cases (New Rochelle), leading to a major restructuring of staff and office visits. I will likely not see my current doctor in the coming months as she is working solely on deliveries and surgeries in the hospital. My husband is only allowed to accompany me to appointments, but cannot be in any exam room. We are greatly appreciative and understanding of the measures being taken, but are disappointed and anxious, being this is our first child. Currently working on a quarantine journal to share with the baby when they’re older!”
“I’m taking all the recommended precautions to prevent getting COVID-19, but I can’t prevent bills from coming due. I’ve been laid off and am awaiting my first unemployment check.”
“I am a NYC kindergarten teacher in a high-need district. The last three days have been difficult to process. How do we create meaningful remote learning opportunities for five year olds? Who don’t have technology? Who are sharing one tablet with other siblings who are also expected to learn remotely? How do we deliver services to our students with special needs? How do we support our parents? There is no plan. We will get creative. We will find a way. But this new reality is overwhelming.”
“It’s giving me nightmares. I have never been by myself, without human contact, more than two days. My entire life involve(d) nothing but constant social interaction. I wish I had a dog.”
“My mom is a nurse. People have been stealing masks and hand sanitizer from the hospital, so she and her coworkers do not have the PPE they need.”
“While this is scary, I feel sort of in a bubble. I take the kids out for walks each day — no park, stores or other gathering places — and the streets of Brooklyn are nearly empty. It’s weird but also, on some level, nice to slow down a bit. Work is still happening, but I get things done when I can and spend time with my four- and one-year-old. It makes me realize what is actually possible and how much time I waste in the day when I have to schlep the kids back and forth and go into an office.”
“Climbing the front of this curve feels like the first big hill of a months-long roller coaster that I’m riding against my will.”
“During the wintertime every year, the only thing that gets me through is the thought of spring. When March rolls around, my mental health comes around too. I finally enjoy being outside, eating out with friends, and gathering with others. This spring/summer, I had several major trips planned (one across the globe), as well as an exciting new job (almost) secured. When I think about the fact that nearly everything I’ve been looking forward to for so long is canceled, I don’t feel depressed like I always imagined I would. I realize that when things don’t go my way, I actually can deal with it. And in fact, I won’t “just die.” Life on hold doesn’t have to mean life gone by.”
Note: Not every respondent answered every question.