Articles with tag: pandemic

07/30/2021 _Perspective

Quarantined Voices

On the Transformative Impact of COVID Narratives at a Time of Crisis

1_The Story of a Year As I sit at my desk in the winter of 2021 in my home in New Jersey, USA, thinking of the story of COVID, and, also of my story of COVID, that has emerged over the past year, I struggle to find a starting point. There are many places I might begin. But this story has never been told before and its ending has not yet occurred. The uncertainty of the unfolding story throws the entire story into flux. Every day we hear new information, as well as heart-wrenching stories of illness and loss in the United States set into fatal motion in the final year of the presidency of Donald Trump. But that is not my only obstacle. I am writing with long-haul COVID, and this intellectual project is mentally taxing in a way I did not anticipate so far into my illness. As we embark on an exploration of COVID narratives, of the shapes they are taking, and of the impacts they have already had, my struggle to begin is both relevant and ironic. Indeed, we are deep in uncharted waters that have called for innovative collaborative narrative forms emerging within the uniquely limiting contexts of the global pandemic. Let’s begin here, a year after the first documented cases of COVID-19 hit the United States. Media outlets have recently reported on the experience long haulers have lived for months — that COVID patients in the grips of relentless illness have found one another online, sharing their despair and their stories with each other. In her piece for The Washington Post, Kelsey Ables delves into the isolation of COVID patients: “They face doctors who don’t believe them; media that often ignore them; friends and family who don’t understand why they aren’t better; and a virus that, with each passing month, pushes them deeper into the unknown.” As Melanie Montano, administrator for the well-known COVID-19 group on Slack, puts it, “We’re not dead but we’re not living.” [1] Dozens of social media groups for COVID patients have formed; many offer general support while others are for more specialized groups, such as parents of children with long COVID or those suffering from brain fog. Such forums offer places where patients are seen and heard. Many people write posts that begin with statements such as, I am new here. This is my story. Others write in desperation,…