Recently, we asked the BuzzFeed Community to share their stories of how the coronavirus pandemic has affected their lives. The responses we got varied widely depending on geographical location and individual circumstances. Here are 50 of those stories:
"My husband works as a professional musician and tours/shows are getting cancelled. Which means ZERO income. I work for an airline and they are asking everyone to take time off because no one is traveling. It’s really a crazy time, and something we weren’t prepared for financially."
"I am a supply teacher in Ontario, Canada. We were informed yesterday (March 12) that all publicly funded schools in the province will be closed for two weeks after March Break. That means from March 14 to April 6, there will be no work. Regular teachers and contract teachers are going to be paid for this period, but there’s been no word yet on occasional teachers like myself. So three weeks in limbo and three weeks (potentially) without pay with one day’s notice. I’m still trying to sort out what I’m going to do."
"I was supposed to go to Seattle on Sunday for spring break and I just had to cancel. I know it’s trivial in the grand scheme of things, but I was supposed to see my best friend that I haven’t seen in months and it definitely sucks."
"I work as a corporate travel agent in Canada. This pandemic has devastated the travel industry. We were advised yesterday that management has taken a paycut and all other employees will have a reduction is work days, likely to three days a week instead of five. This means less salary. No new business coming in and most of current bookings are being cancelled. This will only get worse for us before it gets better. 9/11 was really bad for the industry, but this is so much worse."
"I have two chronic illnesses, both are not well researched and cannot be categorized as simply 'heart disease' or 'lung disease.' There is no data for how dangerous this virus is for me. I am having to resort to not going to any public places due to an outbreak in my community. Regardless of the data, my immune system is weakened, so I am having to be safe instead of sorry, and go about it blind."
"As a mom, the biggest thing is just fear about not being able to get the things my baby needs. Wipes, solid foods, filtered water, diapers even. The shelves in Vegas are wiped out!"
"I’m a senior in college, working on my theatre performance capstone. We are less than a week from opening...but the show will probably never open. What happens to my capstone? Who knows. Had an engagement party planned for two weeks from now. I guess I need to postpone that. Will I have a graduation ceremony? Will I have to cancel my upcoming Disney vacation? My wedding? First world problems I suppose. But when you’ve got depression, and moments with family and friends are the ones you live for, social isolation isn’t good. It’s going to be a rough ride."
"My anxiety has come back in full force. It was getting better.
I'm about a year out of treatment for breast cancer. Whenever I'd feel anxious in a crowd, I'd think back on something I did or think of something I can't control I'd take a few breaths and be like, 'You got through cancer, this is nothing.'
But because of the cancer and a congenital heart condition I have I am more susceptible. Thinking about the cancer reminds me of this and ramps up the panic. My fear of coronavirus seems to be undoing the years of coping skills and therapy I've done. It sucks.
My therapist knows and we have a plan for either of us being unable to make it but even signing the forms made me panic."
"I'm a teacher in a school that has a high free/reduced lunch population. We found out today that we will be closed for three weeks before spring break (so four weeks total). I am worried about my students not having enough to eat or enough attention. My husband is a police officer who takes immunosuppressants for Crohn's Disease, so I am worried about him as well. Everything is so uncertain."
"My school has been closed for two weeks, so all of our schooling is online. SAPA and WGI have cancelled all further competitions and championships, so I'll never know if our winterguard show could have medaled. I had strep throat and people looked at me like I was a zombie when I came back to school. My mom could die if she catches the virus. Nobody wants to touch anybody. I'm scared."
"Here in DFW, Texas, things are by no means hectic yet. There are people buying water and other items in bulk but I wouldn’t say these products are hard to find, YET. Today my college announced a one week extension to spring break and afterwards, online classes until further notice. My family decided to buy water, baby formula, diapers and a few nonperishables but not because we are concerned about the virus...it’s more about being prepared for other people panicking. I know this only causes a chain reaction but it feels necessary, the baby formula is by far our biggest concern when it comes to groceries. We also haven’t been able to visit my great grandmother who is in a nursing home for fears of spreading any illnesses. It sucks that she’s had to be alone but understands it’s for her safety."
"I'm currently studying abroad in Vienna, Austria and now I'm probably going to have to go back to the US within the next week. I even had a internship lined up at this magazine company. This whole thing has been a waste of time and now I'm probably gonna end up a year behind without any internship lined up."
"I’m a second-semester senior in college and my university is one of the ones that cancelled all in-person classes for the foreseeable future. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to my friends, thank the professors that have really impacted me, or do any of the things that I was looking forward to doing before I graduate. I have a job on campus too that I can’t go back to and all my clothes and textbooks are locked in my dorm. I don’t get to finish my senior season of softball and I don’t get to play in my last orchestra concert. I was somebody who was busy 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day and now I have nothing to do. No job, no friends nearby, no life anymore.
And outside of having my whole life put on pause for a couple of months, I probably won’t even get to experience my graduation, the one thing I have been working to get to for the past four years (but really my entire life). I know life goes on and this really is best for everyone’s health, but it sucks. And today was a hard day."
"I have primary dysautonomia, which can often affect my oxygen saturation and breathing. I usually have to be hospitalized with the flu, and I have a history of pneumonia. I’m only 27. Most of my friends are talking about how overblown this situation is and how it’s not a big deal because more people die from the flu each year. I’ve had to basically preemptively quarantine myself and pray I don’t catch it, because I probably wouldn’t make it. I’m not working. I’m not going out. I’m not really even leaving my room."
"It has had absolutely no effect on me. Wash your hands people, it’s not that hard."
"Hi everyone! I am Italian, I live in Rome and we are stuck at home. If we go out, we can go one at a time and bring a paper showing where we go (only food shopping is allowed).
I am to be married on April 4th, if we will be able to...just me, my husband and two witnesses.
Today we hit 1K deaths and 15K positive for coronavirus.
We live in fear, hoping all measures we take are enough, and our prayers go to all our loved ones who can be in danger. This virus knows no gender, social status, age, nationality.
To everyone who can read this, please stay safe, don’t go out if you can, avoid crowds, and fill your days with love.
It’s time of compassion and responsibility.
A virtual hug to everyone, more than ever!"
"I'm in the events industry in Seattle. Everything is canceled. I'm in sales and all of us that are commission-based have had our income cut out from under us. I have a decent base salary to fall back on, but I have friends that are 100% commission that now won't be able to make house payments. It's not looking better for April or May either, even if the panic dies down many corporations have banned live events until June."
"I am a senior in high school and I’ve been accepted to several schools. Two campus preview days in LA county have been cancelled for me. I’m also looking to get a job so I applied to work at a new Raising Cane’s. Went in for my interview and I found out that all interviews and openings of new stores will be halted for a month. I’m a hospital volunteer as well and I get an email every day on how the policy has changed due to the virus. I’m scared to death that I’ll be exposed because during my shift a lot of sick people ask for me to help them get to the ER. It just sucks. I also was really looking forward to the new 007 movie and A Quiet Place Part 2 and those have all been postponed as well. I’m scared that my school will get a case soon in Orange County and senior end-of-year events might be cancelled. It’s just a terrible time. I hope this virus goes away soon."
"My company mandated work from home today, and in anticipation of the social solitude, my team has scheduled every other day virtual "coffee meetings" where we can just sit and chat while we drink our morning coffee. My team is across three time zones (some of us will be on our second or third cup!), so the added benefit is that we can learn more about our teammates in other offices we may not have connected with socially before.
My coworker and I also started a company-wide Slack Tag (we have offices across the world!) where the tagged person must answer a 'get to know you' question. Something fun that also helps us get to know people we work with virtually.
Even though the idea of being isolated for a month is a pain, we're being creative and having fun with it."
"I live in the south of the Netherlands. Our city had the first coronavirus case two weeks ago and it spread like a bushfire. We’re hit the hardest of the whole country. China, Italy, Germany...everyone keeps warning the Dutch government to act now and fast. But rather than taking responsibility it’s the same old story over and over again. "We’re fine, we’re taking precautions." While in fact they leave us vulnerable to infection. They keep telling us, wash your hands. Cough on the inside of your elbow. Don’t go to work when you're feeling unwell and work from home if possible. They should have reacted sooner and more adequately.
There are special rules now for our province. The virus is no longer contained over here. They want to prevent further contamination from us to the rest of the country. We have been issued a social ban for the next weeks. Don’t go out and interact with others if you can help it. Stay home and isolate yourself and your family when someone has a cold. But in the meantime they refuse to close the schools. Kids are still expected at school but parents should stay home. It’s pretty fucked up if you ask me."
"This morning, my mom was admitted to the urgent care for symptoms mimicking COVID-19. The doctors and nurses were in hazmat suits, my dad was forced to wear a mask and gloves to be with her. For a few hours this morning my world closed in and fear pulsated through my family. She was diagnosed with influenza A, bringing relief to everyone. It's still serious and bad, but at least we understand it. The lack of knowledge surrounding COVID-19 is the hardest."
"As someone with pretty severe health anxiety, I have been almost emotionally paralyzed for the past month and a half. I have not been able to get the looming threat of coronavirus out of my mind and have had several panic attacks about the thought of me or someone I love contracting the virus."
"I work at a large assisted living home for the elderly. The most at risk age group. The administrators have implemented a complete visitor ban, with few exceptions. They have locked the doors so no one can come in (people can leave though) and the front desk people are screening everyone and turning families and visitors away. The residents cannot go to different floors at the moment, that restriction may be lifted soon though. Residents cannot even go outside to get fresh air. Some of my residents can understand why these restrictions are in place but the ones with Alzheimer’s and dementia can’t so it’s especially difficult. We just want everyone to stay alive."
"My wedding date is almost here. Most of my guests are traveling. What do I do???"
"I’m a Canadian exchange student in France. I was supposed to be here for three months, but we all got an email today and all of the students in France, Spain, and Germany (there were also students in Italy, but they’ve already been sent home) are all going home in the next 1–2 weeks. We’ve only been here a little over a month."
"I’m an American citizen currently on vacation in Sweden. Woke up Thursday morning to multiple voicemails and texts warning me that all travel from Europe to the US was being banned as of the next day. When I looked online, most of the results I saw were of the president’s speech which supported the claim that all travel was banned. It wasn’t until I actually searched the written proclamation that I learned US citizens were exempt. I still contacted the US embassy and my congressman due to all the conflicting information. I am sticking with my original schedule to fly back on Sunday, but I don’t know if the travel ban will be changed before then or what screenings when I return back may reveal. This has caused me and my loved ones a lot of stress, mainly due to all the misinformation and mishandling."
"My husband and I were supposed to leave for Ireland for his cousin's wedding tomorrow (3/13), but Ireland cancelled all public events including weddings. The kicker is that Aer Lingus won't let us change the tickets without a fee, let alone give us a refund."
"I volunteer for a women’s charity organization. But because I have two very young children, one of which has asthma, I have had to scale back a lot on my duties for now. I can’t attend meetings or events, so I’ve asked them to send me things I can do from home instead. It sucks, and while I’m not overly worried for myself, I would be devastated if something happened to my kids. So we’re playing it safe and limiting our exposure to people for now."
"I work in a department store, we’ve upped our sanitation routines and made sure our salespeople and cashiers have hand sanitizer available. However, the panic and hoarding of supplies is even hitting us. Our suppliers have been back ordered on hand sanitizer for the past two weeks. We’re running low. Customer service workers can’t wash their hands between every single customer, that’s why we keep hand sanitizer on hand so we can disinfect our hands between washing. The people who are hoarding hand sanitizer are pretty much ensuring that cashiers, bank tellers, receptionists, healthcare workers, etc. won’t have access to needed supplies.
Think about it: The person in line ahead of you is coughing/sniffling/sneezing, the cashier touches their items to scan, and they have no hand sanitizer to clean their hands before helping you. Then they touch your items to scan through to cash you out. How does that make you feel? Hopefully it makes you feel like you didn’t need to buy two gallon-size jugs of Purell for your home."
"I'm a non-traditional student at the University of Maine. We found out from the news that our school was shutting down. I found this out yesterday (3/11) and students have to be out for spring break by tomorrow (3/13). I live in continuous housing on campus so I was planning on staying through break. Now, I have to petition to stay on campus because as a non-traditional student (I'm 27), my parents love me but they told me this is my problem not theirs and I have to figure it out. Basically, I can't go home. All of this information is coming to us as they get it so I have no idea who to petition to. The worst part is not knowing if I'll be able to stay on campus or be homeless. I don't work enough to afford my own place and I doubt I'd be able to find one in time."
"I’m serving a one year remote tour as an active duty military member. Haven’t seen my family in six months and had leave planned to see them for a mere week before returning here to finish out my tour. My son is 18 months old and I missed his first steps and first words, and my husband is not working on potty training him without me there to help. Because of the mass hysteria, I cannot go home to see my family, and don’t know when I will."
"I’m a high school senior and all of my 'lasts' of high school have already been cancelled or probably will be. Our last pep rally just got cancelled, my last state competition for my club is on the verge of being cancelled, my senior season for my sport is probably about to get cut short about halfway through, and there's talk of prom being cancelled and not being able to walk at graduation. I know there are people going through worse as a result of the virus but it really sucks to see all this stuff I’ve been working toward and looking forward to for four years just ended in a couple of weeks."
"I live in Jakarta and currently my office is running WFH because of coronavirus. My wedding was supposed to be held early next month in my hometown, but with the current situation I still don't know what will happen. I could not endanger the health of my parents there."
"I'm a nurse, and when caring for patients who have or might have the virus we have to wear this contraption called a PAPR, which is a giant positive air pressure mask that can look scary to people because it literally looks like some kind of crazy space helmet, which makes the public more scared. Really we only have to wear them because the N95 masks (which basically look like regular face masks) are being bought up by the public and there is a shortage for the hospitals."
"My husband works on a cruise ship. He just got back to work last January, and today the company's president just announced that it will pause all their ships for 60 days and everyone has to go home. A total of 18 ships with thousands of crew members from different countries. We are both wondering how they will manage to send thousands of people home all at the same time, and where are we going to get the income we lost from this. It’s shocking and devastating."
"I had to cancel my honeymoon to Italy in May after being forced to cancel it last year for a severely broken ankle. Currently re-planning the honeymoon for a third time."
"My boyfriend is from Colombia and I'm from the States and we are in a long-distance relationship. We were planning a trip to Madrid for my birthday in April but our flights are getting changed or are at risk of getting cancelled. He was telling me that the government of Medellin is forcing anyone traveling in from Madrid into quarantine for a minimum of 14 days. He cannot afford to miss 14 days of work (he's self employed) and we haven't seen each other since summer of last year. Now with the Europe travel ban, I for sure can't go and I don't know if my teaching job abroad (in Madrid) will be cancelled or what. I'm just so frustrated because this was a big teaching opportunity and I miss my BF. I know I sound whiny but I can't help but feel so lost and concerned about this pandemic."
"I’ve lost out on a two-month trip, including my dad joining me for a month after not seeing him for two years. Not only have I worked so hard to be able to afford this, the disappointment of not seeing my family is awful. Conveniently our travel insurance isn’t going to reimburse us for the hundreds we have lost out on. We now have to go home and hope we aren’t carriers because currently NHS only tests if you have symptoms. So this will mean we avoid any susceptible family members until we’re clear. We haven’t been home in two years so this is going to be hard on us as well."
"I work in IT for a mid-size university. We’ve been bracing for a shutdown all week. This has involved pulling every surplus laptop we have and getting it ready to be used by someone working from home. We have about a thousand employees and while some of them already have laptops, not all do. We’ve also had to issue them remote access to our servers while they’re working from home. So my job and the job of my coworkers has just gone up to 11, trying to keep up with what everyone needs to do THEIR job."
"One of my buddies moved here in November from Busan, long before this coronavirus scare. His grandmother died this last week, and he and his family — who are her only surviving relatives — are unable to travel back to Busan to bury her (he explained to me their Korean funeral customs, but my Korean is elementary at best, so I didn’t understand most of what he told me). Even if they were somehow able to make it to Busan, they wouldn’t be allowed into her apartment building to retrieve her body. On top of all that, he’s experiencing being racially profiled for the first time."
"I’m afraid of leaving my house to go to uni — not because of catching the virus but because of racial attacks. I’m afraid of getting racially attacked because I am Chinese."
"I am Korean-American. I have not, thankfully, been personally touched by the virus. I’ve lived here since I was adopted at the age of two. I also have a compromised immune system due to being on immunosuppressants following a kidney transplant in December. Which means I have to be careful about where I go and who I can interact with. But that’s not the most difficult part of my experience. The most difficult is being Asian.
I have to go into the clinic for labs weekly. These days whenever I go in and sit in the waiting area I find myself with a decent amount of room. So silver lining, I get my personal space. I’ve had people move across the room and sometimes they make excuses as to why they’re moving. Like, 'oh I didn’t see that magazine over there.' They actually verbalize it even if they’re by themselves. I made the mistake of sneezing in an elevator and every head whipped around so fast it would have made a prairie dog jealous. One man started hitting the 'door open' button while we were still moving. I understand the concern and fear. Truly I do. But at the same time I’m concerned about the stories I’m hearing about people, Asians, being attacked verbally/physically due to the fear that anyone Asian is carrying it.
I also look at my two younger high school aged brothers who are Chinese and try to let them know that while it’s ok for people to be cautious and scared, it’s in no way excusable for anyone to be racist/cruel, etc. It’s a stressful and concerning time, to put it mildly, but I hope that people will step in if they see anyone being racist towards someone just because they fear they may have this virus. Stay safe everyone and I hope you all find a way to smile and laugh."
"Law student here. My university is going online for the rest of the semester which is insane. We are allowed back on campus starting March 22nd but still can’t hold in person classes. I did not pay $50,000 a year for this especially when I’m taking experiential classes which are near impossible to teach online. I’m also a student employee at the school. With the school closed, I don’t work so I am really not sure how my bills will be paid the rest of the semester.
I left the state for spring break before the restrictions started. My boyfriend works for a large military base where employees are unable to work from home due to classified material. Because of this, he doesn’t want to see me for a couple weeks when I come back in case I picked up the virus traveling through several states. While I understand the precaution being necessary, we’ve been together for three years and a week apart on spring break was long enough. We’ve planned some fun virtual dates though I hate not seeing him. At this point, I almost hope I get the virus to justify all these life changes."
"From UK, was planning my first European holiday this year, never been out of UK before and now concerned I'm not going to get a chance to go. There's a theory being bandied about by the PM of a compulsory isolation for anyone with cold/flu like symptoms. Problem is A: I'm congested pretty much all the time so wouldn't know if I did have the bloody thing, B: I work in retail so interacting with lots of people on the daily and C: because I work in retail, I don't get paid a great deal. It's okay for those with savings, but I'm stone broke most of the time. A week to two weeks off work is a big chunk of my wage and I don't even have children. Dread to think what's going to happen to people with families."
"I work at a vet clinic in Indiana and we have people trying to stock up on medications. Unfortunately most of those medications are controlled narcotics. All of our stores are out of toilet paper, cleaning wipes, and hand sanitizer. We haven’t experienced it yet but we are preparing for a shortage of cleaning supplies and surgical masks which are vital to our operation as a clinic. Other than that I just get dirty looks when I cough in a public after a recent bout of the flu."
"I am pregnant and have been told by my doctor that I should not travel due to potential exposure risks since I am considered 'immunocompromised.' Doctors don’t have enough data to know how the virus effects unborn babies and their mothers so I’ve been advised to not to travel just in case. I also am a work-from-home healthcare recruiter and have been advised against scheduling onsite meetings at my hospitals. My state hasn’t been as adversely effected yet as some others (we have no reported COVID-19 deaths, but there are several localized cases of contractions due to travel) but I have to be cautious for the sake of my baby."
"I moved from NY to LA with my boyfriend in June 2019. We’ve only been home once since, for the holidays. His parents were supposed to visit us next week and mine were supposed to come next month. Both trips have been cancelled and we don’t know when we’ll see our families next. We’re both very close with our families so being so far away from them is difficult. Corona’s not helping."
"I'm a flight attendant.
I'm both scared when I'm working due the lack of protection, and worried because I'm having many flights canceled so my salary will be affected."
"The virus has been a reminder to pay more attention to habits, routines, hygiene, cooking practices, etc. Maybe I'll be a better man for it once it's all over."
If you're interested in sharing your own story about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected you, tell us about it in the comments and your story may be featured in a future post. And as always, wash your hands, stay home if you can, and stay safe.
And if you made it all the way down here and you're feeling bummed out, here are some fun posts: