Covid-History Item Type Metadata
Scotia, 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?
At first so many people were saying that it wasn't any worse than the flu, and it rarely affected young people, so I didn't take it too seriously, but slowly but surely as things started to close, I started to take it very seriously. I work as a volunteer coordinator at a local non-profit, and suddenly we had to cancel all new volunteers, and shut down our store which we used to fundraise for our organization. I also had to cancel a trip I had planned to Texas with my best friend whom I haven't seen in almost 2 years. Not serious things necessarily, but still losses in a
How is your life different now than it was before the pandemic?
I am extra conscious of how I am feeling. I spend more time at home for sure, and work from home unless I need to be physically at work. I've always been a homebody, but I didn't realize how much I missed my normal routine until I wasn't allowed to have it anymore. I used to go to the movies every week, and I really miss that and don't know if things will ever completely go back to normal. Three days a week I volunteer at an emergency response center getting food to individuals who are in quarantine or unable to go out.
How are you feeling? What are you doing to relieve stress?
I am feeling okay. For the first couple of weeks I was very stressed thinking about the future and whether I would lose my job or a family member could get sick, but I am past that now. I am still a little worried about myself or someone I know getting sick or having to be quarantined, but I was fortunate enough to keep my job and be able to work from home most days, so I feel grateful that in the midst of all of this, I personally haven't suffered much loss. I watch a lot of TV and have read a lot of books.
What have you noticed has changed in your community since the outbreak? What has surprised you?
I think generally seeing things closed that are usually so bustling is eerie. It felt a little Twilight-zone for a while there. Playgrounds roped off with caution tape. Basketball courts empty. No traffic. Seeing all the new signage is interesting too. All these signs about wearing face masks and staying 6 feet apart. Just three months ago we wouldn't have had any concept why we would ever need to do that.
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 don't personally own a business, but I work at a non-profit and the store that we run as a fundraiser had to close. We were finally able to reopen after over 2 months, but it is difficult as we mostly use volunteers to run the store, and now many do not want to come back. It's understandable. It just makes it difficult to get things done. We also sell donated items, so our sales are down, as people are worried about contamination.
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 not, no. I work as a volunteer coordinator at a local housing non-profit. I work from home mostly. Now we are back on the build site, and so I go there two days a week. We are all wearing masks at all times, sanitizing tools and other surfaces, trying to stay 6 feet apart, etc. At home, whenever I leave the house, even if it's just to go outside of ra minute or on a walk, I always wash my hands when I re-enter the house. I also clean my phone after every time it leaves the house. I am more cautious about cleaning my hands before I eat. I don't clean the groceries when I bring them home. It's just too much work frankly, and I only have so much in terms of cleaning supplies, as you can't find them in stores anymore.
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?
I am, yes, mostly. When I was working exclusively from home, I really had to make sure that I used my time well. I am strict with myself, so I really do make myself work all day except for lunch and little breaks. At first, I found it pretty lonely and repetitive, like it was the same day happening over and over again, but I adjusted to it. I personally do not like working from home. I enjoy the work/life separation that an office brings. Now, my home IS my office. But I am extremely grateful to have a job when so many others do not.
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?
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?
What positive things did you contribute to or notice take place?
I volunteer three days a week at an emergency response center the county set up to get food and other necessary supplies to individuals in need, so it's nice to feel like I'm doing something purposeful to help people. I convinced my boss to donate 2,000 of our construction face masks to a local hospital, so I felt very good about that. In general, it has been encouraging to see so many people step up to the plate and offer help to others.
Did you or someone you know contract COVID-19? What was it like?
No. My dad was tested for it, but it came back negative. I was on edge waiting for the test results, but we are thankful it came back negative.
What do you wish you knew before the pandemic began?
I just wish there had been some way to know how long it was going to take to be over. It is so hard to stay encouraged when you have no idea how long a thing is going to last. I also wish I'd had some advance warning before things closed. It's sad to realize that it was your last time (at least for a long time) seeing someone, doing something or going somewhere you loved, and you didn't get a proper chance to enjoy that moment while you had it.
What would you want future generations to know about the 2020 pandemic? How would you recommend they prepare for it?
I honestly don't think there is any way to prepare for a pandemic specifically. We didn't get the chance. That sounds depressing, but you just never know what's going to happen, and I don't think stockpiling resources you may never need is really the best use of your money or the kindest way to treat other people who may need those supplies. I think one beneficial thing you can always do is save some of the money you earn. So many Americans completely panicked at the idea of spending a week or two without a paycheck. I didn't want to lose my job, but I save 20% of every paycheck, so I knew that if I lost my job for even a few months or more, and I would be fine. I think it is always good to look to the future and try to do whatever you can do to put your future self in a better position.
How do you think this pandemic will change how we behave going forward? What will the “new normal” look like?
I think while things will be open, I think it will take a while for people to go back to being comfortable with just going to a restaurant and eating and drinking whatever food the waiter gives them, sitting in a crowded theater with other people, etc. But ultimately I don't know that the effects will last that long (past a year or so). I don't think we have the patience to keep it going. People are already very restless. I worry that students will not be allowed to go back to school, and I think it is so important for their development to be around and interacting with other students in a real-life environment. I hope that they are able to go back next year.
Is there anything else you would like to add that hasn't already been asked above?
Don't panic and hoard stuff and buy up all the toilet paper and cleaning supplies. What worried me most about this pandemic at first was not that people would get sick (though I worried about that later), but that people were being so selfish in this regard.
Southern Adirondack Library System
“Lauren,” Leaving Our Fingerprints on History, accessed January 21, 2022, https://fingerprints.sals.edu/omeka/items/show/81.