Covid-History Item Type Metadata






Emsworth, Pennsylvania

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?

March 10, 2020. I went shopping on that day and ran into short supplies. I went to 4 stores trying to buy sanitizer and couldn't. A week later I had symptoms of the virus but couldn't discern whether it was an immune disease I have or the COVID-19.

How is your life different now than it was before the pandemic?

I have been in isolation almost completely since March 11. I have been working from home since early 2016. That hasn't changed. I cannot visit any doctors' offices. That means my immune disease is not getting the usual assessments such as lab work. I see my doctor's online. My rheumatologist moved to a different state in March and my PCP retired. I feel neglected.

How are you feeling? What are you doing to relieve stress?

I have been working on a book I am writing and am pleased that I am not wasting time in commuting to meetings! I do most of my consulting business online anyway so my income has not changed. All my groceries get delivered--and they are never right and there are still lots of shortages. I couldn't get hand soap or paper towels for over 3 months. My balcony garden is the best it has ever been. The balcony is my way to get out of the house and into the sunshine. Bliss! I am getting to long delayed redecorating projects at home. I also allow myself to listen to music of all kinds to relax. I keep a journal to process anxiety and anger as I have for many decades. I talk to a Jungian therapist once a week. I am a bona fide bibliophile so I am reading A LOT.

What have you noticed has changed in your community since the outbreak? What has surprised you?

There is hostility everywhere. One of the maintenance men who came to fix the plumbing and lay new kitchen floors felt somehow he could respond to my Yankee hospitality by identifying my home state of New York as the "shit-hole of the world". I see battle lines drawn on neighborhood social media over masks that get down and dirty quickly. Twitter has become toxic.

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?

I own a consulting business. In that capacity I am currently a co-investigator in a study of people with multiple chronic health conditions that is comparing outcomes between telemedicine and wrap around services with professional who go into the patients' homes. We stopped home visits on March 15. The graph of our enrollment dropped like a champion skier off a mountain. I'm working on assignments for the study team and community stakeholders for the fall. The size of the newsletter I write has increased four-fold!

Are you an essential employee? What do you do? What precautions are being taken at your workplace? What precautions are implementing at home?

No I am not essential. I am the ethicist in-residence if you will. I think ethicists should be considered essential but--well the book is on ethics in the entire universe of health care. the collapse of the health care system in the pandemic might force us all to see that changes must come.

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?


Are you working from home? What adjustments or challenges are you experiencing?

Yes I am as I have been for four year. I enjoy the decrease in stress from not having to drive in heavy Pittsburgh, PA traffic. Not having to deal with all the driving, even for errands, as I have so much delivered, I am able to focus for extended periods of time. the challenges have to do with my emotional health with the police brutality I see and the mind bending incompetence of the federal response, or lack thereof, to the pandemic. The challenge is to not become despairing.

Do you have children at home? How’s it going?

I have one named Sophie. She is a 2-year-old calico. she loves the plants on the balcony too.

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?


How are you using social media, the Internet, or digital platforms during the pandemic?

I have reduced my Facebook to almost zero and significantly reduced Twitter as well due to the hostility expressed. That is a shame. Social media was a source of connection for me as my illness keeps me house bound as a rule and all doctors tell me to stay home. I got enormous enjoyment being part of a watch party for an historical TV show (TURN:Washington's Spies) until it turned itself. It got horribly toxic due to Trump supporters thoughts about patriotism. I do my work online as a rule so it is business as usual. I get lectures online (National Constitution Center, museum virtual tours, etc) that keep me intellectually stimulated. I saw this on C-Span! Thank God for BookTV!

Did you have to postpone any major life events? (e.g. Graduation, wedding, major birthday) What did you do instead?


Do you have animals? Did you adopt a pet? How have they impacted your day?

See above (question 9) for my 2-year-old calico who is very happy that I am home all the time now.

What positive things did you contribute to or notice take place?

I hope that my work on liberative health care ethics will make a long-term positive impact. It centers in premature morbidity and mortality that is being expressed in those being most affected by COVID-19.

Did you or someone you know contract COVID-19? What was it like?

I did in early March. I have not been able to see any doctor in his office. Two doctors offered the opinion that I did indeed contract it but there was no testing available. I was simply home and very sick alone. I was one of the many who take hydroxychloraquine daily to keep my disease from progressing or being fatal. We were all very afraid when the White House Administration touted it as a "game changer". For us it is. I ran out at the end of March when I was so sick. I did get a 3-month supply in April. The biggest take-away was the almost unspeakable fear and loneliness that goes with being an "elder orphan" and not having anyone to help with cooking, laundry, and simply being there for comforting emotional support. I attend two churches. Both went exclusively online of course. Neither pastor nor elders could come visit. I work in health care. No one much even asked if I was okay. We all hear stories about the heroes. That is because we want to feel we are good and kind. When it comes down to actually going grocery shopping or throwing in a load of laundry or making dinner for a baby boomer we take comfort in believing someone else is doing it. I did have one neighbor offer to buy some groceries in March. That was lovely and very much appreciated.

If you lost someone during the pandemic, how did you celebrate their lives?

I did not lose anyone personally. I wept often though, knowing what was gong on with the poor, sick and elderly in the nursing homes and hospitals and dying by themselves in their homes.

What do you wish you knew before the pandemic began?

I changed both my PCP and my rheumatologist in March. I wish I knew both doctors who replaced them before I got the virus. It would have been nice to have an established relationship with the men who ended up being on my computer screen.

What would you want future generations to know about the 2020 pandemic? How would you recommend they prepare for it?

I would want them to know how utterly unprepared we were in health care both in the way we educate and employ workers at all levels. I want them to see how a profit-driven health care system is morally bankrupt and in need of an overhaul. I want them to understand how important it is to build community support systems and personal relationships with people at all age levels and economic status. I want them to know that ageism is an evil just as much as misogyny and white supremacy. I want them to realize when adversity hits we survive together or we perish together.

How do you think this pandemic will change how we behave going forward? What will the “new normal” look like?

As a person who has been working in the public health system since 1989 I can say we do not know how this will change us going forward. We are not merely going through a pandemic. We are simultaneously going through another stage in women's rights, gun violence protests, police brutality, as Black Lives Matter is changing us, we are seeing that we are allowing dark skinned poor people to die unnecessarily as we have been doing unawares till now. All the while we have the most corrupt and incompetent White House in our 240+ years of being a government. We'll see. We are in the midst of the trauma of all those things coming at us at once. We will either be a failed experiment as a liberal democratic republic or we will live up to our potential with the virtue and honor of the men and women who won our independence from oppression. Let's hope the new normal will be a total reformation of who we are as a people.

Is there anything else you would like to add that hasn't already been asked above?

Before you reprint any of this please correct the typos!!!! Also, I am looking for folks who are willing to read my material for editing and suggestions. If you know anyone please give them my email or @imemjae. Thanks for doing this!

Dublin Core




Southern Adirondack Library System




Covid History




“Meg,” Leaving Our Fingerprints on History, accessed August 10, 2022,

Output Formats