Covid-History Item Type Metadata
White Plains, New York
When did the impact of COVID-19 first occur to you? How did your reaction to COVID-19 change between then and the first case in your town?
I first started reading news stories about COVID-19 in China around January or February. I was following the stories and getting increasingly paranoid about it because cases started appearing in this country on the west coast in March. I am from lake George, NY but at the time I was living in White Plains, NY, attending to law school. Many of the flights from overseas were redirected to JFK, which was a half hour away from my apartment in White Plains. Although I had been reading about COVID-19, I never expected the extent to which it would impact me. I assumed that the U.S. could keep it at bay, or that it wasn’t that big of a deal. The media had talked about the idea of quarantine and masks but it seemed outrageous. When Italy got the coronavirus I started to get a little more alarmed but I still did not think it would impact us as hard. The first case that was near my town was in New Rochelle, around 20 minutes south, and the patient was a super spreader. I was very alarmed when I started seeing that people in surrounding towns were contracting COVID-19. The cases in New Rochelle were multiplying quickly and it became known as a hot spot and the national guard had to be deployed. One day in law school, we heard that Fordham Law and NYU law had announced they were closing campus and resuming studies online. Our school announced it would be suspending in person classes the next day. My last day of in person classes was March 11. On that day, the NBA suspended their season and the WHO announced that COVID-19 was a pandemic. The stock market plunged and a travel ban from Europe was announced. I was really scared that day because I knew the NBA wouldn’t cancel March madness, which profits them millions, without a national emergency.
How is your life different now than it was before the pandemic?
As I am writing this, NY has officially flattened the curve. During the height of the pandemic, I only left my house to go to the grocery store. The trip there was scary and always gave me anxiety that I had picked up COVID at the store. Originally, the CDC told us not to wear masks, so no one had them on. Everyone tried to be distant, but it was difficult. I would spray all of my groceries with bleach after I got home, as well as wiping down my phone and keys. I washed my hands whenever I would leave and come back to the apartment. I mostly cooked, baked, and watched a lot of TV during quarantine. For a few weeks, grocery stores were ransacked and had no food in them. The meat, toilet paper, eggs, and potatoes were always sold out. Face masks, hand sanitizer, and soap were also. I was with my boyfriend for the first two weeks, and then alone for over a month, before I moved back to Albany, NY in mid May. Life is lonely in quarantine but is getting back to normal now. I didn’t see any of my friends or family in person for two months, so I spent a lot of time on the phone with everyone. Life is still different now, even though we are in phase 2 of reopening the economy, because we all have to wear face masks out in public. However, I am not as paranoid about catching it because the cases have been very low recently. Life is also different because law school has been fully online since March. I go to Pace Law School and they have given us the option of online classes for the fall semester and said that regardless, classes will be fully online after Thanksgiving break.
How are you feeling? What are you doing to relieve stress?
I was very lonely and stressed in the beginning of quarantine in March but I am feeling much better now. During quarantine, I would cook and bake a lot!! I would also clean all the time. Quarantine was very boring so I would call my friends and family as well. I was also very obsessed with the news during this time and I would be reading or watching it constantly, trying to figure out new information about COVID-19.
What have you noticed has changed in your community since the outbreak? What has surprised you?
I noticed that communities started holding car parades for kids birthdays so they could still be celebrated during quarantine. In the 518, they did the rainbow challenge, where rainbows would be posted all around the 518 area to cheer people up. I also noticed that people started to get donations to feed health care workers who were working long shifts. It surprised me how many people signed up to volunteer as health care workers and it was really moving because at the time, it was a scary thing. I noticed that zoom was utilized for all sorts of things. My family had Easter dinner on zoom, my classes are held on it, and I had a group chat with my friends as well. It surprised me that our whole economy was able to just stop and that we were able to all stay home for two months.
Are you a business owner who has had to close? If you are still open, how have you had to adjust how your business operates?
Are you an essential employee? What do you do? What precautions are being taken at your workplace? What precautions are implementing at home?
Are you an employee who has been laid off or furloughed? Were you able to get unemployment? Were you able to retain your health insurance?
No I was not but I know that New Yorkers were able to get unemployment, even though it took awhile. I have many friends on unemployment right now and they also receive an extra 600$ weekly from the federal government. I also know that NY re opened the marketplace during the quarantine so that people who lost their health insurance from their job could retain it.
Are you working from home? What adjustments or challenges are you experiencing?
I am going to law school from home. I was unable to find a summer internship for law so I am attending summer classes. I like going to school online. The only challenge is that it’s hard to get yourself to work hard because it isn’t as stressful being called on at home. A lot of teachers don’t cold call on zoom, so it was easier to slack off after we went online. However, many of the teachers have started calling on people again, making it harder to slack off while doing the homework. Going to school online leaves open a lot of time that you would normally be using to get ready for the day, drive to school, park, and walk. Taking finals online at home completely erased my test anxiety and I really liked it. Mostly, taking a final at home was similar to in school. The teachers tried to eliminate cheating or looking up answers by increasing the amount of questions. Furthermore, generally a lot of exams are open book regardless because the important part is how to apply the law.
Do you have children at home? How’s it going?
If you’re a student, was school canceled? Were you able to complete your studies online? Do you think you’ll be back on campus in the fall?
Yes school was moved fully online. It is optional to return in person in the fall. I will not be returning because I like online classes. Furthermore, my school announced that all in person classes will be moved to online after thanksgiving break.
Did you have to postpone any major life events? (e.g. Graduation, wedding, major birthday) What did you do instead?
No it was my 29th birthday on May 14th, but the pandemic was dying down in upstate NY by that time. I had a few close friends over for a bbq.
Do you have animals? Did you adopt a pet? How have they impacted your day?
No, I wanted to but my apartment doesn’t allow pets. I’m hoping to in the fall during the second wave of COVID-19 that’s expected.
What positive things did you contribute to or notice take place?
Cheering for health care workers at 7pm, feeding health care workers, community social distancing parades, birthday parades, teacher parades, awesome online content, the world coming together against the same thing. The black lives matter movement just blew up(I think partly because everyone has been home in quarantine) and there’s been some really positive changes regarding race and the police. Also my boyfriend is able to finish school in a year now because all college classes are online so he can take classes at two different schools. My brother was able to move down to Florida but keep his job in New York City!
Did you or someone you know contract COVID-19? What was it like?
Not to my knowledge but I heard it ranges from being a symptomatic to being the flu from hell. I know it affects everyone differently.
If you lost someone during the pandemic, how did you celebrate their lives?
What do you wish you knew before the pandemic began?
I hadn’t stocked up on groceries and cleaning supplies, which I wish I did.
What would you want future generations to know about the 2020 pandemic? How would you recommend they prepare for it?
We had no clue it was coming for us. Our government did a horrible job at preparing us or warning us. Make sure the government has a pandemic plan in place. It took a little getting used to, but it wasn’t all that bad. Stock up on toilet paper, masks, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, and meat(but don’t wait until the last minute like everyone else did and cause shortages). Get things to do to keep you occupied. If you like video games, get a console and games! Buy art supplies. You will get so bored that anything will help you lol. Also buy hiking shoes because the only thing there is to do is go outside!
How do you think this pandemic will change how we behave going forward? What will the “new normal” look like?
I think that a lot of businesses will keep their employees working at home if they can because it is a cheaper option for the employers and employees. I am hoping that schools will make it a new normal to offer all classes online as well. I think grocery delivery will become the new normal as well.
Southern Adirondack Library System
Southern Adirondack Library System
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unknown, “Catherine,” Leaving Our Fingerprints on History, accessed August 10, 2022, https://fingerprints.sals.edu/omeka/items/show/115.