Tell us about your experiences!

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    Grant Glass

    Tell us how the pandemic has changed your life.


    The pandemic has definitely slowed down the pace of things around me. I live approximately 6 minutes from Fort Bragg, more specifically near the PX and when it was revealed that 2 cases where found on the base, everything was shut down. The only people allowed on base are essential personnel of a certain rank. Also, any location that is not a gas station, laundromat, post office, pharmacy, or grocery store has had to close as of 5 p.m. yesterday with time restrictions starting on last week, so Fayetteville, especially my side of town, looks deserted. As far as my household goes, my mother is being hit the hardest as she has tried to minimize how much she leaves our home due to her weak immune system but from this recommendation, she has had to rely on my brother and I to go out to pick up prescriptions and she even has an appointment set up for chemoradiation which will be more than likely cancelled. So hopefully, this will settle down and this period of quarantine will be over soon. I hope everyone else is doing okay and please stay safe.


    I’m beyond infuriated with the way the Trump administration has handled this situation. I just saw that the U.S case numbers have soared beyond China, so now we have more cases than any other nation. I mean sure, we got the COVID-19 strain in January when it erupted in Wuhan, China. But, the LIES, the misinformation, the delays, and the minimization of what disease can do is absolutely despicable. I hate that our president has denied science by saying “oh it’s not as bad as the flu”, spread xenophobia, chastised and silenced a NPR reporter who diligently asked why he dubbed COVID-19 as ‘the Chinese Virus’ and told the reporter that he/she is a bad reporter. I think it’s shameful that we live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world and YET our healthcare system is overwhelmed, we didn’t have tests widely available right from the get go, doctors don’t have proper PPE and surgical masks to wear, etc. I could go on. We could have done better. Much, much better.

    What really sets me on edge is that our delayed actions not only costed us lives, but also robbed students of their educational experiences temporarily, set the economy in a backwards spiral, people are getting laid off, graduating seniors have postponed/cancelled graduations, people are self-isolating so that we can more effectively deal with the crisis and in turn, elevates levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. As a citizen, I am trying my best do self-isolate and practice social distancing so that our healthcare system does not become overwhelmed. But, I hope that government can at least recognize that self-isolation is difficult on citizens too — the emotional and personal upheaval that goes with it. I wish government would understand what that sacrifice is and meet us halfway. We could have done better — we just chose not to.

    My favorite historian, Yuval Noah Harari wrote this article in TIME, ‘In the Battle Against Coronavirus, Humanity lacks Leadership” We have handled epidemics and pandemics before with good leaders who were willing to step up and believe in science. Last time, I remember people were afraid of Ebola, but under American Leadership, Ebola barely laid a finger on the health of our nation.

    COVID-19 has exposed many of society’s pitfalls from socio-economic disparities, Trump’s isolationist policies,lack of much needed global cooperation, our expensive healthcare system, our fragile economy, etc. I hope we can wake up and fix these issues. I do believe that COVID-19 is a hard lesson for everyone with high costs, whether we like it or not.

    //my thoughts are purely from my personal observations, conversations with friends and family, news pieces I’ve read. I’m not an expert on anything.


    I was an exchange student this year at UNC – my entire family lives in Poland, however my university is in the UK while my long term partner is from New Zealand. I feel extremely privileged to have traveled so widely and have friends and family all around the world – however this also means I have in recent months heard and seen how the pandemic affects literally everyone I know in all corners of the world. In early February, I was aware of the fears and problems of my friends in China, many of who were unable to return to their universities abroad due to covid-19.

    Poland closed borders and made flights unavailable very early on – the case count was around 100 when that happened. Many of my Polish friends abroad hurried home. I was still attending classes at UNC then and knew I would not be able to return home with my partner (who was with me at UNC) – as a same-sex couple we wouldn’t be allowed in even if we had a marriage certificate. I could return home by myself but charter flights to Poland were only going from NYC, a place I didn’t want to go to as the coronavirus was spreading so quickly there. And who knows how long we would be apart if we decided to fly to different places?

    My little brother, who still lives in Poland, last year contracted the H1N1 flu virus: he was in a coma for 3 weeks and on a respirator for almost 2 months. Even before cover-19 came to Europe, my family was very worried because we all knew that if my brother contracted the virus he would likely die. When I was still in the US 1.5 week ago, my brother called me in the early morning telling me that he had a fever, nausea and difficulty breathing. We were cried on the phone together, my 18 year old brother telling me that he accepted his death and to promise him I will always remember him. I couldn’t come home to see him, I couldn’t say goodbye, hug him or kiss him. When he was in a coma one exactly one year ago, the doctors told my mother his son would die. She didn’t tell anyone. She raised me and my brother almost by herself, my father wasn’t present for a lot of the time – we are her entire world. When she called friends who are doctors and nurses, people that took care of my brother last year, no one wanted to come check on him – everyone was afraid of contracting the virus.

    Two days later, my brother completely recovered. His fever was gone and he even went for a walk. I don’t even think he had the coronavirus – perhaps it was just a stomach flu.

    My partner and I decided to fly back to New Zealand last weekend. Though they also closed borders, I was allowed in as a de-facto partner of a New Zealand citizen. I knew we couldn’t stay in the US, we have only been living there for a few months and with UNC closed and our student visas expiring in June, there was no option but to leave while we still could.

    My family and friends are in Europe and I don’t know when I will be able to see them in person. I feel safe here in New Zealand, a small country that has been able to learn from the mistakes of Europe and I am hopeful that the virus will be contained here. Everyone is quarantined since Wednesday and the country is committed to running as many tests as possible, prime minister Jacinda Ardern and Dr Ashley Blomfield responding quickly to the outbreak and informing New Zealanders clearly of what to do to prevent the spread.

    I feel lucky to be able to quarantine with my loved one, with a family that welcomed us with open arms. I know that this time of isolation is especially difficult for kids that live with abusive and unaccepting parents. I’m also thinking about young LGBTQ+ people in Poland, where the issue of the so-called “LGBT-free zones” established in Polish towns was making international news days before the covid-19 outbreak in Europe.

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