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The Stories

K.T., 18, in Newcastle, U.K.

“As someone who has been home bound/self quarantined for a few years to due to chronic illnesses and disabilities, the pandemic hasn’t changed my life that drastically. In terms of daily life and mental health I’ve been struggling a bit however, there is no routine set in place for me, all the days seem to fade into each other, and I’ve been too scared to go outside because of my physical health.”

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E.B., 65, an author and teacher in Newton, MA

“At times, my focus flees, and my mind goes foggy and I find it unusually arduous to work on the two books I was writing before the world stopped. I become lost in my dark places and must turn to words and music. I cloister but I am not alone.
I turn to family and community to bring me back.”

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N.H., 61, a volunteer in Greenwich, CT

This young young man, who commutes over an hour a day to our son’s private school, moved in with us to study from here rather than a crowded Bronx apartment. […] His family is from West Africa so his life is very different from ours. We feel so lucky to be in a position to offer him a home. It’s a small thing we can do during a period where so many less fortunate people are suffering.”

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E.A., 19, a student in Sun City, CA

“…This pandemic has ripped apart the façade of what seemed to be a good economy; in reality, this “good economy” was built upon the people who are now disproportionately dying and with no healthcare. I beg my fellow Americans to look at this inequality sternly; why do we have such contempt when we call it out when in reality we’ve pretending like it didn’t exist at all. I have grown so increasingly frustrated to see people think about themselves when I see people that remind me of my father and sisters die on the news for having to work…”

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N.W., 20, a student in Chicago, IL

“The quarantine has given me time to get to so many things that I’ve placed on the back burner. My friends, my hobbies, and my health. I don’t think anyone would’ve asked for a global pandemic to happen, but I think a lot of us have found silver linings throughout…”

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L.M., 68, a retired special ed. administrator in Normal, IL

“…I was able to continue my exercise class three times a week via ZOOM. I’m a voracious reader and quickly ran out of books. I’ve spent a few hundred dollars buying books and even got my husband reading instead of watching tv. After my projects I kind of spiraled spiritually and felt anxious and depressed…”

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C.T., 20, a student in Cold Spring, KY

“Rather than piling new projects on ourselves and holding ourselves accountable to the same overblown standards of productivity we ordinarily do, we have to accept that this pandemic has shifted every aspect of our lives.”

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K.A., 28, a researcher in Chicago, IL

“I’ve been turning to historical accounts forged and recorded by AIDS activists to process my feelings about current events and keep the faith about the political challenges that turn a virus into a plague.”

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Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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