how was your week?

1,350 New York Readers on the Mounting Challenges and Anxieties of Life During the Pandemic

Photo-Illustration: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

New York’s coronavirus death toll tripled over the course of the week to nearly 3,000, as the state’s confirmed cases surpassed 100,000. Mayor de Blasio called for a national draft of doctors to address what he says will be a shortage of 45,000 medical personnel to battle the virus in the coming months. Nationally, nearly 10 million people filed for unemployment in the last two weeks, and the CDC began recommending that all Americans wear masks. Here’s how 1,350 New York readers have weathered the increasing difficulties they’re facing as the pandemic spreads further.

How old are you?

Under 18: 0.23%
18-35: 39.88%
36-50: 25.40%
51-65: 16.47%
65+: 18.01%

How would you describe your emotional state right now?

Very anxious and/or scared: 20.20%
Somewhat anxious and/or scared: 41.33%
Concerned: 30.92%
Slightly concerned: 6.25%
Totally fine: 1.31%

How sick do you feel right now?

Like I’ve been hit by a truck: 1.6%
Seasonally sick; feels like a common cold: 4.8%
Slightly under the weather: 9.1%
Relatively fine, I guess?: 60.9%
Picture of health: 23.6%

Do you know anyone who’s tested positive?

No: 61.86%
Yes: 38.14%

Do you know anyone who has been hospitalized because of it?

No: 81.70%
Yes: 18.30%

Do you, or anyone you know, think you might have it but can’t get tested?

No: 60.98%
Yes: 39.02%

Do you, or anyone in your household, fear that your work puts you at significant risk of contracting the virus?

No: 79.63%
Yes: 20.37%

How often are you leaving your home?

Not at all: 14.25%
Just for essential errands: 78.27%
I still have to leave for work, but am not making many other trips: 7.01%
I’m living my life as normal: 0.47%

Have you lost work or had your hours reduced since the start of the outbreak?

No: 49.30%
Yes: 24.69%
Not applicable: 26.02%

If you have lost work, have you filed for unemployment?

I’ve applied successfully: 15.92%
I’m trying to apply but can’t get through (site crashing/phone lines busy): 14.33%
I haven’t applied because I’m not sure if I’m eligible: 30.89%
I haven’t applied for other reasons: 38.85%

Has anyone in your household filed for unemployment?

No: 86.67%
Yes: 9.49%
They’re trying to apply but can’t get through (site crashing/phone lines busy): 3.84%

What’s your biggest concern right now?

Terrified about economic collapse. I have no work, no health benefits, no prospect of work in the future. This is a country where if you can’t take care of yourself, no one will take care of you.”

“My boyfriend’s mom has a problem with alcohol. We’re all quarantining together. It got really bad a couple of weeks ago. I was up all night anxious. This week has been better but I’m scared of what will happen next time she drinks; it’s a when, not an if, unfortunately.”

“I work in abortion access, and the effects here are catastrophic in all fronts: more people, more needing assistance, fewer or no providers (depending on the day in Texas), more expensive, few donors, more complicated to travel, front-line health-care folks at high risk. I’m terrified for how much farther this decimates options for people when they need them most.”

“Keeping sane while trying to work full time and homeschool full time. We have no childcare backup. We spent all our money on a fancy private school that is now closed”

“I’m nine weeks pregnant and had to go to my first OB appointment alone. I have a 2-year-old son, and I’m terrified that if he gets it and needs to be hospitalized that I wouldn’t be able to be with him. I’m terrified that people won’t get it together this time and I’ll get it when I’m due to deliver my baby in October and I’ll be forced to have a repeat Cesarean and ripped apart from my baby. Possibly without my partner.”

“I have concerns because I’m still leaving the house for work. I am a general manager for a private restaurant company and worried about the future of our business. I’m still working because we have 7,000 employees who cannot. I want them to have a company to come back to.”

“I was already contemplating divorce but now we are living with my in-laws and I am reallllly thinking about it.”

“I work for an independent bookstore. We already operate on thin margins. We’re one of the larger indies with over 100 employees. The store owners had us classified as a shipping hub after D.C. instated shelter in place, so we could continue completing online orders, but everyone goes in scared of having had to travel to work, scared of being the person who infects the entire staff, scared of getting an email one day saying we’re all laid off.”

“I’m a civil public defender who represents low-income tenants facing eviction. When the courts open back up, and evictions begin again, more of my clients than ever before are going to be in truly dire situations.”

“I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer in the middle of a pandemic in New York City. I barely made it to surgery. I was one of my surgeon’s last patients before she was forced to stop the surgeries for lack of space and equipment. The situation is getting worse, and I wonder if seeking the rest of the treatment will pose an additional burden on our already battered, overwhelmed health system. This poses an ethical dilemma for me. Should I seek treatment when so many people are dying? Should I wait and risk the cancer spreading, to later need a gruesome treatment that could be easier now?  What would you do?”

“My husband is still working outside the home. His health is at risk, as he has heart conditions and COPD, but he refuses to quit working his essential job of customer account manager at a big laundry facility. I am working at home for the last three weeks, completely quarantined, yet every day he could become sick or bring it home to me. We have split up our house with him in the back bedroom and me in the other. We do our laundry separate, and he leaves his clothes in the garage for a couple days before he does it himself. But being he is exposed, we can’t see our kids, grandkids, or anybody else, as I refuse to expose my family. If our governor in Iowa would issue shelter in place, my husband’s boss would shut down. Everybody I talk to is furious for the governor not to have issued the proclamation. If she did, my husband would be home safe. He fears losing his insurance, which he has to have with his conditions.”

“My mom is an ER nurse in NYC. She feels physically fine, but has to witness multiple people dying all alone every day. I worry for her mental health.”

“That I will infect my 78-year-old mother, at whose house I am quarantined with a confirmed positive test result. She’s symptom free so far, but I worry I’ll be responsible for her becoming seriously ill or worse.”

“I am currently in my last semester of college. The scariest thing is that I have worked four years of my life for a better education and financial future for my family and myself as a first-generation attendee, and now the future doesn’t even seem to hold a space or opportunity for me.”

“I am a disabled senior who needs to work full time to keep the lights on. No retirement, no savings, and not eligible for full SSA until August. For the past two years, I’ve worked remotely as a contract business-research analyst. In late February, all of my projects were put on hold indefinitely. I’ve negotiated with my landlord for a 30-day rent deferral, however; they are private owners and need the rent in order to pay the mortgage on this house. In addition, I’ve made arrangements with all of my utilities for temporary deferrals, however; although any late payments are waived, in 30-45-60 days all will be due in full. With no income on the horizon, I am facing eviction as well as a genuine possibility of homelessness by June 1. Do not know what tomorrow, next week, and especially April-June holds without the ability to work. My state (North Carolina) has the lowest unemployment approval in the U.S.: 10.2 percent. Even with the pandemic unemployment funds for freelancers, the chances of my qualifying for the special payments remain at the 10 percent or less level. I own a 2001 Honda — it may become my home in 90 days or less. All I’ve worked for my entire life is being flushed down the drain in one fell swoop. However, it feels like a slow-moving tornado or a slow slide into oblivion. I have been paying my life-insurance policy for 30-plus years, and I’m now worth more dead than alive. I’m hoping I don’t develop COVID-19, and I am praying the stress does not cause my medicine-induced AFib to take me either. This is my reality. My personal nightmare.”

Note: Not every respondent answered every question.

1,350 Readers on the Challenges of Life During the Pandemic