The New York Times’s coronavirus news launched in March 2020 and we asked our readers to submit their stories on how they were dealing with the virus. Since then, more than 20,000 readers have written to share their pandemic experiences.
We have posted many of those responses in the newsletter, and we often receive notes from other readers telling us about similar experiences, offering help, solving problems with what was written, or send their condolences. Many readers have asked us what happens next – so we double-checked a few readers whose stories resonated.
Make up and continue
In December 2020, we published this note from Danielle Lehtinen, from Scranton, Pa.
My husband is 27 years old and I received our final divorce papers a month ago. After traveling for two years in Europe, I got excited about the pandemic and moved into a rental house 20 minutes from our small Pennsylvania home. Although my ex and I realized that we couldn’t live under the same roof, we acknowledged that we were both lonely during this pandemic and started on-site fitness dating. side by side: soccer, walking or swimming like a “bubble family” at the letter Y in a lane. Then we decided to enjoy Friday pizza evening and Sunday dinner together at home. I loved looking at the cats, using the fireplace, and realized that my ex could be a little help with running the house. Although we still annoy each other in similar ways, we found that this strange new situation gave us a way to develop a new friendship. And we no longer feel alone.
Over the past year and a half, “Things have gone up and down,” Lehtinen, 66, told me in a recent phone conversation. “First of all, we vaccinated together.”
During the quarantine, “We were both very lonely,” Lehtinen told me. “And under extraordinary circumstances, I think something extraordinary happened: We were able to coexist peacefully. But once that danger was gone, I think we both realized that it was better for us to be alone. “
Starting high school during the pandemic
In April 2021, Sadie McGraw, of Boston, sent this note:
Viewpoint: You are a teenager in 2020-2021. Your school has turned into a tiny computer screen that just works sometimes. Your score is still as low as ever. It’s not that you’re depressed, but you also find yourself crying over the smallest things. Your group messages have been silent for so long and you don’t even know how your friendship will last. You get angry when you see other people hanging out, but also envy them. You cannot sleep at night and cannot stay awake during the day. You just feel numb.
“As I wrote that, I was very nervous,” McGraw, 15, told me last week. “A lot of people in power, adults and teachers all say, ‘This is new and unprecedented, and we really don’t know what to do.’ And that kind of scares me.”
In March of last year, McGraw, then in 8th grade, returned to face-to-face learning, following a hybrid model, which she felt was inappropriate. “I really couldn’t get used to studying at home or studying at school,” she said. The vibe of hybrid learning is also weird: In a class of more than 20 students, there are only 3.
McGraw said: “Overall, things are better now. She has a new circle of friends and spends more time reading, doing art, and shooting short videos, in which she sometimes hires her friends as actors. “There are a lot of periods of lower numbness,” she says. “I will still experience mood swings, but I don’t know if this is just, like a normal teenager, or it’s worse because of Covid.”
In the end, she’s happy to be back at school.
“Yes, I was nervous, but I think sometimes you just have to do it to be scared,” she said. “And that’s what I did.”