Last spring, reports surfaced from China that a strand of pneumonia cases in the central city of Wuhan may have been due to a new type of coronavirus. I remember reading about it in the New York Times, and discussing with friends if it was going to be “the next big thing.” We laughed it off and then went back to work and projects.
The World Health Organization said at the time it was assessing the extent of the outbreak, but noted there were no reports of this new virus outside Wuhan. Since then, the situation has changed drastically. More than 13 million people have been infected across the globe, almost 600,000 have died and lockdowns have been ordered in numerous counties. States have closed, opened up, and in a few cases, closed again.
Life for most is at a standstill, while front line workers are facing a frightening new normal. As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise and schools, workplaces and public gathering spaces try to figure out what to do this fall, we find that the coronavirus outbreak is having a profound impact on the personal lives of Americans.
A couple of days after in-person classes were canceled at FIU, and professors were still reaching out to students about remote learning, I got a call from my sister in San Francisco saying the city was going on an official lockdown (no residents in, no residents out) in 48 hours. So she and her boyfriend were planning to fly out to a small town in South Carolina, where his family lives. I was welcome to join them if I ever wanted some company during this social-distancing period. A week later I jumped onto a Charleston-bound flight.
We have now been quarantining on a small island called Kiawah, attempting to come up with different ways to not lose our minds during this social distancing period. The coronavirus has resulted in countless changes in our daily lives. From movie theaters, schools and colleges being shut down in different parts of our country, to the cancellations and postponements of several national and international big events. The pandemic has affected us globally.
According to the Pew Research Center, nearly nine-in-ten U.S. adults say their life has changed at least a little as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, including 44% who say their life has changed in a major way.
Four-in-ten working-age adults ages 18 to 64 report having worked from home because of coronavirus concerns. Income and education are the primary fronts linked to assessments of the personal impact of the coronavirus outbreak. For me, even though work and school have continued, I have sensed a major difference. As I’ve learned to navigate this new routine, the amount of free time in my life has also gradually increased.
Hoping to maintain sanity during this unexpected situation, we have attempted to build a healthy routine revolving around walks in nature, work, school, exercise and reading. In addition, being in lockdown in a small town has encouraged us to be extremely proactive. As we are unable to utilize any sort of food service, we have been experimenting with a variety of different recipes.