Covid-History Item Type Metadata
Clifton Park, 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 was concerned in late January/early February when I heard news reports about the deaths in China. I actually brought masks with me when I flew to Florida with my daughter in late February. Only one couple wore them on the flight and no one was coughing on our flight, so we did not wear our masks. I had masks leftover from the H1N1 virus ten years earlier, but I couldn't purchase any as all stores were sold out because of the pandemic. As news report continued and dominated, I started to get my affairs in order due to my asthma as the virus was reported to hit people in the lungs. I was convinced I would die if I caught it, which I thought was inevitable as news reports stated how infectious the virus was. As time went on, barely any deaths were registered in my county, and most deaths occurred in elderly people with significant health conditions. I started to relax. Then I started to hear from medical professionals that codes were added to medical forms as "possible Covid-19" (for purposes of gaining federal dollars) which skewed reported numbers of the deaths. Even with those, the numbers of deaths and confirmed cases in my county were extremely low.
How is your life different now than it was before the pandemic?
TIME! I have the one precious commodity I lost once I had children. I stay home more. I don't take things for granted. My life has slowed down. No more running back and forth to work, scrambling to get kids ready in the morning, running kids to activities. I have saved money because I am not shopping as much and buying things, spending money on gas. I have time to get projects done in my house. I have time to focus on my flowering plants and vegetable garden. I purchased more fruit trees. I feel accomplished. I feel I am living more of the simpler life I grew up with, the life my parents grew up with. The life we all lost somewhere along the way in this age of organized activities and materialism. The stress and fears from the pandemic have ironically given way to a much stressful way of life and an appreciation for time spent with family in our home.
How are you feeling? What are you doing to relieve stress?
I had always exercised, but I have been able to continue my workouts at home. I have more time to cook healthy meals from scratch, get adequate sleep. I feel wonderful! The only physical issue is significant neck and upper back pain from working more on a computer. Honestly, to relieve stress I am turning off the news and getting outside in the fresh air with my kids!
What have you noticed has changed in your community since the outbreak? What has surprised you?
I live in a suburban development. The biggest change I have noticed is community is coming back. I have seen so many more people than usual getting outside and taking walks in the fresh air, riding bikes together and walking as a family, talking on the street. People say hello to me as I am outside gardening and they have become familiar faces. This is ironic given how people are now staying away from others in stores. On our social media page, people are giving away things for free to those who need it. In our school community there has been huge support in the way of overwhelming donations to our already existing backpack program that supplies food to families in need.
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 have been fortunate that I am not in this situation, but I have ordered more take out to support local restaurants than I ever did before.
Are you an essential employee? What do you do? What precautions are being taken at your workplace? What precautions are implementing at home?
I am essential. I am a teacher and have not been to my workplace more than twice. We must notify our principal if we are coming in and every area we entered must be sanitized once we leave. I honestly am not taking any precautions at home. I don't clean any more than usual. My son is also essential as he works at a pet food store. He has had to wear a mask, they have placed partitions between the registers and customers. They have only allowed ten customers in the store at a time. He has not gotten sick, nor has anyone in our household.
Are you working from home? What adjustments or challenges are you experiencing?
I am working from home as a teacher. Other than the time I gained in my own life, the experience has been horrible and frustrating. I have had to work solely on the computer. Learning new technology has been challenging, and several platforms have had many glitches and don't work the way they should all the time. Fortunately, I had already infused technology into my curriculum. I find myself working at all hours rather than just during the school day. I need to also work with my children who are in school, so teaching from home and teaching my own children has been extremely difficult. It is much easier to work with other people's children than my own! Trying to engage my students has been difficult. Many checked out. I CANNOT do my job as a teacher without seeing my students. I can give them immediate feedback, reassuring words, redirection when they drift. I cannot do this with a computer. My biggest challenge is the guilt I feel knowing I have not done the best job I could teaching my students. I fear the gaps in learning they will have will be huge.
Do you have children at home? How’s it going?
At first, my daughter and I loved our time together. We did everything together! As time went on and the weather was still bad and we were cooped up inside, we started to bicker. My son was working so he wasn't here much. Now that the weather is nice and we can get outside, we are enjoying our time together. However, my children no longer want to do schoolwork. It is extremely difficult to keep them on track with this nice weather. Their schedules have been disrupted as well. They do not want to go to bed until late and sleep in until mid-morning. We need our routine back!
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?
Yes. I have two dogs, four parakeets, and a Guinea pig. One of my dogs is a puppy we got in January. I found that the dogs playing and fighting over toys and bones has been more of a distraction when trying to work from home than my children have been. But the dogs are absolutely LOVING having us home! They get a thousand times more affection and playtime with us had we left the house for school and work every day. They have especially helped my daughter as she did not leave the house at all and missed her friends. The dogs became her true best friends in all this. I was also able to train my puppy in much less time than usual since I was home!
What positive things did you contribute to or notice take place?
Because I was still getting a paycheck, I donated a couple of hundred dollars a month to our school's community food program. I also ordered takeout from local small restaurants to help them, which my children loved. I saw the community pull together as we have always done.
Did you or someone you know contract COVID-19? What was it like?
I know several people who contracted Covid-19. Several people said they were sick for a month, had trouble breathing, and were so sick they thought they were going to die. My hairdresser's elderly father had it. She said he rallied and sounded great, but was dead that night. (He is the only one I heard of who was hospitalized.) I know only one person who said she was treated for an upper respiratory infection, lost her sense of smell, and then tested positive for Covid-19. She said it wasn't any worse than others she had. A nurse friend of mine is working with elective surgeries. She said the number of people they are testing who have the antibodies but were never sick is astounding. These people were all shocked when they learned they had the virus.
What do you wish you knew before the pandemic began?
Don't listen to the media!!! There was NEVER this hype for the H1N1 virus. I caught that along with my daughter. I had to go to the hospital for my asthma but was fine with the treatment they gave me there. She was only a baby but was also fine. I learned in this pandemic how serious the H1N1 virus was, but I hadn't heard all the hype about it as we did with this one. I think people's mental health has sorely suffered in this pandemic because of the media hype and shutdowns, and people have to be well mentally as well as physically to fight off illness. The shutdowns, the divide and politicizing of this virus were unnecessary. The flu has had a higher mortality rate. So don't listen to the media. Adopt a wait and see attitude, know the facts before you panic. I pray for the small business owners who have lost their source of food and shelter for their families because of this. I pray for my students who have been stuck at home in unhealthy situations and who lost their safe place to go to. I pray for the numbers of people who have lost their way in this and are again struggling with addiction. I pray for those who lost their lives due to addiction during this - more than those who died in the pandemic.
What would you want future generations to know about the 2020 pandemic? How would you recommend they prepare for it?
Be smart, be safe. Take precautions by eating healthy, exercising, keeping a healthy weight. Practice good hygiene. Don't panic. Science is a wonderful thing and has many answers. Turn off the fear-mongering, sensationalist media! And be aware that you may have to fight for your freedoms if they are taken away as they have been in this pandemic. People were told two weeks, but it went months due to elected officials in power stripping people of their rights to earn a living. Call out injustices - how 200 people can shop in a Walmart, but the local barber can't have 2 or 3 people in his shop. Know your rights under the Constitution, but balance that knowledge with common sense and what is best for everyone.
How do you think this pandemic will change how we behave going forward? What will the “new normal” look like?
I work in a profession where germs spread easily. When I started teaching, desks were cleaned every night. They stopped doing that about ten years ago. I hope that starts again. I sincerely hope parents will keep their sick kids home instead of sending them to school. Sick time should be increased for people to stay home and stop the spread of illness when sick. We need to focus on that instead of the bottom line in businesses. I do think shields should stay up at registers in businesses. I sincerely hope there will NOT be a new normal. People cannot live in fear or they will never have lived. We NEED each other. We NEED face to face contact. We NEED human touch. Interactions with others is what keeps people connected and makes us human. This pandemic has not been what they thought it would be. The flu kills more people. We should continue to live our lives, but be more mindful of our hygiene.
Southern Adirondack Library System
“Pam,” Leaving Our Fingerprints on History, accessed January 21, 2022, https://fingerprints.sals.edu/omeka/items/show/69.