In Hindsight

Snippets of daily journal entries written by one student during the unfolding Coronavirus pandemic of 2020. The first in a three-part series.

Names have been removed for privacy. Otherwise, no changes to the original content have been made.

Entries and commentary by Moriah Story 

February 28, 2020: When should I be worried about the Coronavirus? It seems like that s–t just keeps killing people.

I nearly laughed out loud when I stumbled upon this as my first official mention of the pandemic in my journals. As it turns out, I should have been worried right then. According to the New York Times, researchers have confirmed that there was at least one Coronavirus case by February 20, and likely more as early as January.

March 4, 2020: Our New York trip might be cancelled because of the stupid Coronavirus.

March 5, 2020: We aren’t going to New York because of the f–king Coronavirus.

The Billboard’s annual NYC trip was scheduled to take place from March 11 through March 16. The New York times has confirmed that during those dates, cases of the Coronavirus in NYC spiked from 109 to 424. 

March 11, 2020: LBC is extending spring break because of COVID-19.

March 12, 2020: But I am worried that the COIN concert is cancelled because of the stupid virus. I think I’ll go to A.S.’s anyway.

March 13, 2020: The world is on fire. Actually, fire may be better than this. The virus is shutting everything down. Slowly but surely, it is overwhelming us. So much for a fun spring break.

March 15, 2020: K.P. texted me today to ask how the Coronavirus is up here, so I told him. And I told him to expect a letter soon and he said maybe it wasn’t a good idea to send letters right now. I didn’t know what to say to that.

We know now that the main way COVID spreads is through person-to-person contact, according to the CDC. But in March, there was still debate about just how contagious it was, hence my penpal being fearful of sending me a physical letter from North Carolina.

March 16, 2020: I’m not allowed to go back to school until at least the 31st.

March 17, 2020: Oh, and Wilson is closed for the rest of the semester. Like totally done. My dorm was amazing while it lasted.

On March 17, President Fugate made the tough decision to move to remote instruction for the rest of the semester. He closed his email saying, “No matter where you may be in the upcoming days, I encourage you to use preventative measures to prevent the spread of the virus. I also want to keep in our hearts and minds the people impacted by this virus here and around the world, as well as those medical professionals seeking to help those impacted. I will continue to write to you with additional updates as necessary.” As we know now, the preventative measures were not enough to keep the Coronavirus at bay.

March 18, 2020: Life is quickly devolving into a dystopian nightmare. This is day five or six of quarantine. And I want out. I want my life back. I want my dorm room and my classes and my fun job and my friends. F–k the virus. What the hell is going on? People say we’re living history but f–k that. I want normal. I want stores and colleges to be open and I want people to stop hoarding toilet paper and hand sanitizer. 

As funny as it sounds, the month of March 2020 will always be associated with toilet paper for me. I was one of thousands of U.S. cashiers tirelessly answering the question: “When will you have toilet paper?” with: “Ma’am, we have no idea.” Truthfully, there was never a shortage of toilet paper in the United States, only an inability to get it to the shelves fast enough. The empty aisles in grocery stores were a result of extreme panic buying, not a disruption in the supply chain, as explained by an article from NC State University.

March 19, 2020: It got worse. My spring break is extended until March 30. I don’t know when or how or where I’m supposed to start working on assignments. And I haven’t left the house in days. But I’m sure it’ll all get figured out. This has to end at some point. Everything has to be normal again someday. 

March 22, 2020: The virus is finally slowing down in China. But not here. 

On May 22, 2020, there were zero new Coronavirus cases reported in China, according to the COVID-19 Pandemic data from Wikipedia. While this was a major relief for their country, the numbers were only beginning to climb in the United States.

March 24, 2020: The coronavirus is still a f–king thing.

March 28, 2020: March is almost over, hallelujah.

And I thought March was bad? I laugh at the thought that we believed it could not, or would not, get worse.

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