Opinions on COVID-19
COVID-19 has been an illness that has affected millions of people all over the world. Butone of the biggest problems with a world-wide pandemic is the lack of individual experiences. Society often brushes past someone’s own idea of illness and how that has affected them on a day to day basis. Luckily for me I was able to interview someone on their experience and their opinion of the corona virus and how that has affected their daily life. Lisa is a middle aged woman that identifies as a white woman. I think that a lot of narratives being produced right now are classic chaos narratives, and that includes Lisa’s narrative.
A lot of COVID-19 stories are neither right nor wrong, there is just the information being produced and how each individual responds to that information. In general there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to how people are reacting to the constantly changing information. At the beginning of this pandemic back in March there was still so much unknown and that caused a lot of discomfort for individuals and communities. Lisa talks about “I felt a little panic because nobody really knew what it was, or how to deal with it, or how to prepare for it.” Like most people she has a hard time expressing her understanding of how corona is spread between people. Obviously there is the physical aspect of being close to people and washing hands and coughing, “I think it’s more airborne type disease”. But then there is the controversial subject of masks and like a lot of people she understands the importance of masks “because we don’t know where those people have been.”
Lisa was one of the few that stayed employed throughout the entire process but had to go through the difficult task of terminating employees and thinking about the precautions she needed to take to protect herself. She talks about how her job switched from hosting events to limiting the amount of people allowed and increased sanitation. But more importantly she went from a 24/7 requirement to staying at home. “Being physically involved in my day to day activities [to going to work at home]. Being able to cut out events and rescheduling is very difficult for me to be able to do that within my surroundings at home”. And on top of that she speaks of the amount of work required of her because of job losses.
Apart from the dwelling work conflicts that this pandemic has caused it is hard to ignore the emotional strains. Arthur Frank talks about traditional chaos narratives being “stories are chaotic in their absence of narrative order. Events are told as the storyteller experiences life: without sequence or discernable causality” (Frank 124). For Lisa it has been mentally difficult accomplishing day to day tasks without the help at work. She constantly brings up her family and how that has remained important in her life despite the increasing restrictions that Charleston county has put in place on gatherings. “I haven’t seen much other than the stress of having my family together. Other than that, that is probably the most emotional state of it.”
Exercise became a huge phenomenon all across the country. There were lots of influencers on social media showing ways to stay fit at home. Plus with the closure of gyms there was an increase in fitness subscriptions each month. But for everyone that wasn’t necessarily the case, sometimes it was just forcing yourself to get outside and have a walk with the dogs. For Lisa it was just that, “getting out and doing more dog walking and that’s pretty much it.” Again it was another example of her job getting in the way of practicing self care because she was required to be present and work at home because it was just her. But she says “I really don’t feel
the stress level that I think a lot of people do because I feel very fortunate to be in the position that I am where I am able to come and go.”
It has now been nine months since the pandemic has hit the United States and there is still so much information being circulated but the information she, just like a lot of other people, understands that information is being solidified; especially with the development of the vaccine. “Our numbers are higher now… and my local and state government are not taking it as seriously.” We continue on and talk about the different mandates that Charleston county has put in place (i.e. required mask wearing, closing bars and restaurants early, etc.), and she says “I think that South Carolina needs to step it up just a little bit more”.
It’s hard to ignore the many questions right now with the side effects of the vaccine and how that will affect people’s health on a personal level. When I was finishing my interview I thought it was really important to ask her opinion on the vaccine and whether or not she was interested in getting it, “I’m kind of hesitant on actually taking a vaccine right now because of the unknown.” While most people hope to come out of this experience in a better place as a whole, Lisa does not seem any different. She speaks of high hopes for the future and coming out of this better. But she also understands that 2021 might not be our year but instead an “experiment for what’s to come.”