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The Stories

M.S., 44, a poet and editor in Jersey City, NJ

“I still remember the afternoon of March 13, 2020, when I started following the official site of the New Jersey Coronavirus Dashboard and the number of cases started to climb up like mercury on a hot thermometer. I was anxious due to the fact that my nine-year-old was in the school playing and socializing with his peers with no fear and awareness about the pandemic. I requested the school for a day off […] my fears were realized when the mayor ordered a state lockdown the very next Monday.

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A.T., 69, a company director in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

“…It’s only a “Gripezinha,” declared our totally irresponsible President to his 212,000,000,00 citizens. Luckily some had other ideas. […] The future? Is there one? Should we move to a small village away from everywhere? Will the government / military / whoever is in charge have enough clout to protect the inhabitants from strife and Plague bearers entering. I must think how to move this forward. I believe in staying put for the moment but the not so distant future must be considered…”

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Y.B., 66, a homemaker in Parañaque, the Philippines

“Hindi ko kailanman naranasan ang ganitong pandemya sa buong buhay ko. Akala ko ay sa mga pelikula lamang posible ang mga ganitong eksena. Sabi nga nila balang araw, all these will be part of history. Mababasa sa mga libro ng mga susunod na henerasyon ang pandemyang ito na kumitil ng maraming buhay sa buong mundo…”

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D.S., 67, a retired lawyer in Missoula, MT

“It’s odd, though, as the days roll by with sunshine, the full arrival of Spring, and a seeming “normalcy” except for quieter streets and sidewalks not to occasionally be struck hard with a sense that some dark beast is silently slouching our way–that this seeming normalcy is utterly superficial and spurious, a fool’s paradise, and that all over the country and around the world something truly dark and terrible is occurring.”

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P.O., 20, in Kisumu, Kenya

“A couple of my pals have been laid off by the companies they work at, in a bid to cut on the costs. Their family needs being constant, they are having a hell of a time trying to fend for the same. This has led to increased depression…”

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C.W., 18, a student in Carmel, IN

“…This was not my usual ‘I couldn’t sleep because I just watched a cute love story’. No, this was fear. Real fear. For the first time in my life, I felt true fear…”

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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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