This diary is written by "Aleena" (alias), a New Yorker facing the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak.
I live in Elmhurst, New York, which has the second-highest rate of positive COVID-19 cases. The last few weeks have been pretty challenging for New Yorkers. I have been writing this diary for myself and recently decided to publish it online. This is not to instigate any fear or panic among people; these are merely my thoughts and experiences. In the coming weeks and months, I will try to write as much as I can.
April 6th, 2020
Just read a news article about a tiger at the Bronx Zoo testing positive for Coronavirus. Even though I promised myself I wouldn’t read or check Coronavirus news and updates anymore, I couldn’t help it. A few other animals at the zoo are also apparently showing symptoms now, according to an article by CNN. It’s so sad that these animals are going to suffer now too.
The last two days have been really hard. I’m always sitting close to a space heater now, thanks to the chills, and my inhaler is now my best friend. I can’t find Tylenol anywhere, and calls from my parents are my number one source of anxiety now. The last thing I want is for them to find out that I’m sick and worry. I miss getting proper sleep and being able to retain food in my body. I wish I could go out for some fresh air, but I can’t even do that now.
April 4th, 2020
So, I took off from work yesterday and finished an entire show and a movie while lying in bed under multiple blankets. The girl who could never stay at home for more than a few hours can’t even leave her room now except to get food. I feel a lot better than yesterday though. This quarantine is revealing a whole side of me that I never knew existed. Friday 9:00pms have started to feel like 10:00pms on weekdays- dull and boring.
I wish this would be over soon. My roommate and I try to have only one full meal a day now instead of three, and munch on snacks so that we don’t run out of food. All I hear from my room is the sound of ambulance sirens, and all I can do is pray that no more people die. Around 1800 people died according to the daily update. NYC needs more ventilators and healthcare workers. I’ve been thinking that maybe it’s time I stop reading about it, to save my mental health.
April 2nd, 2020
My back really hurts, my head is still heavy and I have a bitter taste in my mouth. Not to mention this weird feeling in my chest. It hurts to even sit up and watch TV. But honestly, I’m not even worried about myself. I just pray that my roommate doesn’t get anything from me. It could just be the flu, but I still wouldn’t risk it. So I’ve locked myself in my room, and try not to use the common areas unless absolutely necessary. I’m so worried about my friend, though. He says he can’t even breathe properly. I wish he would listen to me and go to the doctor or even make an appointment at the COVID-19 south Beach area of Staten Island drive-through testing site. But he wants to wait because he doesn’t “want to occupy a bed in the hospital when there are more severe patients who need it more than he does.” I might be paranoid and overthinking, but then again, who wouldn’t worry about people they care about?
There’s no way I can FaceTime with my parents anymore. They’ll freak out if they realize I’m sick and so far away from them in a different country.
April 2nd, 2020
I woke up to the sound of my alarm today and tried to get up from bed, freshen up, make my coffee and log in for work. I was kinda pissed thinking that the landlord turned off the heating for the apartment again, as he does sometimes, cause my head felt heavy, and I was shivering and coughing. So I got up and checked the thermostat. It was fine. And then it hit me. Oh, fuck! My eyes were burning and watery, and I looked pale. It was definitely a fever. And so I quietly slipped back into bed, and allowed myself a few minutes to panic, before I called my best friend to check up on him. His symptoms were worse.