Journaling Through the Early Days of the Pandemic

By: Gabby LeBron

When times get especially difficult, I find myself resorting back to my favorite pastime — writing. This held true during the early days of the pandemic, especially with the lack of social interaction in my everyday life. I began a journal documenting my experiences with the pandemic in North Carolina. 

March 23, 2020

Quarantine Day 8

Cases in North Carolina: Over 300

Top News Story: “Coronavirus Live Updates: Global Leaders Beg Public to Stay Home; Fed Vows to Buy as Much Debt as Possible” (New York Times).

About an hour ago we were notified that Wake County Schools will be closed until May 15th at the earliest. This means we probably won’t be going back this year at all. AP Exams have been moved online, to be taken from home. They’ll only cover what’s been taught so far and will be all free response, no multiple choice. Prom’s probably going to be cancelled, along with graduation, chorus events, and drama events. I miss my friends. 

At the top of the page in my journal, I have a countdown of days until May 15th, 2020, the day we were supposed to return to school. As of March 23, the countdown was at 53 days. In reality, it would be almost an entire year. 

March 27, 2020

Quarantine Day 12

NC Cases: 763

NC Deaths: 3

Worldwide Cases: Over 500,000

Worldwide Deaths: Over 20,000

Top News Story: “Live Updates: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive for Coronavirus” (Washington Post).

Wake County released a “stay-at-home” order, in effect today at 5pm. This means we will have to stay home unless we are essential staff or if there is an emergency. We went to the farmers market and to Harris Teeter yesterday. People were still out, shopping with gloves and masks. I have to admit that I am getting very little schoolwork done. 

April 1, 2020

Quarantine Day 17

NC Cases: 1584

NC Deaths: 10

Worldwide Cases: Over 900,000

Worldwide Deaths: Over 40,000

Top News Story: “Global Coronavirus cases will hit 1 million and 50,000 Deaths in a few Days, WHO Officials Say” (CNBC). 

Nothing much is happening at home.  Zoom meetings are horrible but at least it’s a touch of my old life. FaceTime is my new best friend. 

Things I’m going to do when we’re out:

  • Give my friends the biggest hugs ever
  • Play Cards Against Humanity
  • Go Swimming
  • Get a Job
  • Go Downtown with friends
  • Buy a Prom Dress
  • Sing in Chorus Again

I’m happy to report that all of the items on this list were successfully completed once it was safe to do so. 

April 5, 2020

Quarantine Day 21

NC Cases: 2585

NC Deaths: 31

Worldwide Cases: Over 1 Million

Worldwide Deaths: Over 60,000

Top News Story: “Live Updates: Surgeon General Says Coming Week Will ‘Be Our Pearl Harbour Moment’; US Coronavirus Deaths Pass 9,000” (The Washington Post). 

It has been suggested that masks be worn while we are in public spaces. Grandma is sewing us some reusable masks and sending them in the mail. It is expected that we haven’t yet reached the peak, and that it will come in a few weeks. 

It’s Palm Sunday, one week away from Easter. Looks like we will not be back in churches for Easter like President Trump had hoped. In the grocery stores, instead of playing music there are reminders to wear gloves and masks and to social distance. 

April 5, 2020

Quarantine Day 25

NC Cases: 3651

NC Deaths: 65

Worldwide Cases: Over 1,500,000

Worldwide Deaths: Over 90,000

Top News Story: “Some Americans Should Start Receiving Coronavirus Relief Checks Today” (The New York Post). 

The peak is expected to be this week or next week. Grandma sent the masks in the mail, Mia dropped off instant coffee so that I can make TikTok whipped coffee. Remote learning is beginning this week. On Monday and Wednesday we have periods 1 and 2. On Tuesday and Thursday we have 3 and 4. 

My final entry comes an entire month later. Seeing the changes in the numbers is jarring. 

May 7, 2020

Quarantine Day 53

NC Cases: 13,397

NC Deaths: 507

Worldwide Cases: 3.77 Million

Worldwide Deaths: 264 Thousand

I haven’t written in a while because the thought was depressing and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. 

Some Updates:

  • Schools will be closed through the end of the year, announced a few weeks ago
  • Kim Jong-Un was believed to be dead after heart surgery, though he actually vanished due to coronavirus concerns
  • Tom Hanks donated his plasma to COVID-19 research after having the virus
  • “Murder Hornets” have come to the US
  • I saw Mia sitting in her driveway 6 feet apart. It had been 52 days since I last saw my best friend.

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