How to Write About Coronavirus in a College Essay

Students can share how they navigated life during the coronavirus pandemic in a full-length essay or an optional supplement.

Writing About COVID-19 in College Essays

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Experts say students should be honest and not limit themselves to merely their experiences with the pandemic.

The global impact of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, means colleges and prospective students alike are in for an admissions cycle like no other. Both face unprecedented challenges and questions as they grapple with their respective futures amid the ongoing fallout of the pandemic.

Colleges must examine applicants without the aid of standardized test scores for many – a factor that prompted many schools to go test-optional for now . Even grades, a significant component of a college application, may be hard to interpret with some high schools adopting pass-fail classes last spring due to the pandemic. Major college admissions factors are suddenly skewed.

"I can't help but think other (admissions) factors are going to matter more," says Ethan Sawyer, founder of the College Essay Guy, a website that offers free and paid essay-writing resources.

College essays and letters of recommendation , Sawyer says, are likely to carry more weight than ever in this admissions cycle. And many essays will likely focus on how the pandemic shaped students' lives throughout an often tumultuous 2020.

But before writing a college essay focused on the coronavirus, students should explore whether it's the best topic for them.

Writing About COVID-19 for a College Application

Much of daily life has been colored by the coronavirus. Virtual learning is the norm at many colleges and high schools, many extracurriculars have vanished and social lives have stalled for students complying with measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.

"For some young people, the pandemic took away what they envisioned as their senior year," says Robert Alexander, dean of admissions, financial aid and enrollment management at the University of Rochester in New York. "Maybe that's a spot on a varsity athletic team or the lead role in the fall play. And it's OK for them to mourn what should have been and what they feel like they lost, but more important is how are they making the most of the opportunities they do have?"

That question, Alexander says, is what colleges want answered if students choose to address COVID-19 in their college essay.

But the question of whether a student should write about the coronavirus is tricky. The answer depends largely on the student.

"In general, I don't think students should write about COVID-19 in their main personal statement for their application," Robin Miller, master college admissions counselor at IvyWise, a college counseling company, wrote in an email.

"Certainly, there may be exceptions to this based on a student's individual experience, but since the personal essay is the main place in the application where the student can really allow their voice to be heard and share insight into who they are as an individual, there are likely many other topics they can choose to write about that are more distinctive and unique than COVID-19," Miller says.

Opinions among admissions experts vary on whether to write about the likely popular topic of the pandemic.

"If your essay communicates something positive, unique, and compelling about you in an interesting and eloquent way, go for it," Carolyn Pippen, principal college admissions counselor at IvyWise, wrote in an email. She adds that students shouldn't be dissuaded from writing about a topic merely because it's common, noting that "topics are bound to repeat, no matter how hard we try to avoid it."

Above all, she urges honesty.

"If your experience within the context of the pandemic has been truly unique, then write about that experience, and the standing out will take care of itself," Pippen says. "If your experience has been generally the same as most other students in your context, then trying to find a unique angle can easily cross the line into exploiting a tragedy, or at least appearing as though you have."

But focusing entirely on the pandemic can limit a student to a single story and narrow who they are in an application, Sawyer says. "There are so many wonderful possibilities for what you can say about yourself outside of your experience within the pandemic."

He notes that passions, strengths, career interests and personal identity are among the multitude of essay topic options available to applicants and encourages them to probe their values to help determine the topic that matters most to them – and write about it.

That doesn't mean the pandemic experience has to be ignored if applicants feel the need to write about it.

Writing About Coronavirus in Main and Supplemental Essays

Students can choose to write a full-length college essay on the coronavirus or summarize their experience in a shorter form.

To help students explain how the pandemic affected them, The Common App has added an optional section to address this topic. Applicants have 250 words to describe their pandemic experience and the personal and academic impact of COVID-19.

"That's not a trick question, and there's no right or wrong answer," Alexander says. Colleges want to know, he adds, how students navigated the pandemic, how they prioritized their time, what responsibilities they took on and what they learned along the way.

If students can distill all of the above information into 250 words, there's likely no need to write about it in a full-length college essay, experts say. And applicants whose lives were not heavily altered by the pandemic may even choose to skip the optional COVID-19 question.

"This space is best used to discuss hardship and/or significant challenges that the student and/or the student's family experienced as a result of COVID-19 and how they have responded to those difficulties," Miller notes. Using the section to acknowledge a lack of impact, she adds, "could be perceived as trite and lacking insight, despite the good intentions of the applicant."

To guard against this lack of awareness, Sawyer encourages students to tap someone they trust to review their writing , whether it's the 250-word Common App response or the full-length essay.

Experts tend to agree that the short-form approach to this as an essay topic works better, but there are exceptions. And if a student does have a coronavirus story that he or she feels must be told, Alexander encourages the writer to be authentic in the essay.

"My advice for an essay about COVID-19 is the same as my advice about an essay for any topic – and that is, don't write what you think we want to read or hear," Alexander says. "Write what really changed you and that story that now is yours and yours alone to tell."

Sawyer urges students to ask themselves, "What's the sentence that only I can write?" He also encourages students to remember that the pandemic is only a chapter of their lives and not the whole book.

Miller, who cautions against writing a full-length essay on the coronavirus, says that if students choose to do so they should have a conversation with their high school counselor about whether that's the right move. And if students choose to proceed with COVID-19 as a topic, she says they need to be clear, detailed and insightful about what they learned and how they adapted along the way.

"Approaching the essay in this manner will provide important balance while demonstrating personal growth and vulnerability," Miller says.

Pippen encourages students to remember that they are in an unprecedented time for college admissions.

"It is important to keep in mind with all of these (admission) factors that no colleges have ever had to consider them this way in the selection process, if at all," Pippen says. "They have had very little time to calibrate their evaluations of different application components within their offices, let alone across institutions. This means that colleges will all be handling the admissions process a little bit differently, and their approaches may even evolve over the course of the admissions cycle."

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Covid 19 Essay in English

Essay on Covid -19: In a very short amount of time, coronavirus has spread globally. It has had an enormous impact on people's lives, economy, and societies all around the world, affecting every country. Governments have had to take severe measures to try and contain the pandemic. The virus has altered our way of life in many ways, including its effects on our health and our economy. Here are a few sample essays on ‘CoronaVirus’.

100 Words Essay on Covid 19

200 words essay on covid 19, 500 words essay on covid 19.

Covid 19 Essay in English

COVID-19 or Corona Virus is a novel coronavirus that was first identified in 2019. It is similar to other coronaviruses, such as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, but it is more contagious and has caused more severe respiratory illness in people who have been infected. The novel coronavirus became a global pandemic in a very short period of time. It has affected lives, economies and societies across the world, leaving no country untouched. The virus has caused governments to take drastic measures to try and contain it. From health implications to economic and social ramifications, COVID-19 impacted every part of our lives. It has been more than 2 years since the pandemic hit and the world is still recovering from its effects.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the world has been impacted in a number of ways. For one, the global economy has taken a hit as businesses have been forced to close their doors. This has led to widespread job losses and an increase in poverty levels around the world. Additionally, countries have had to impose strict travel restrictions in an attempt to contain the virus, which has resulted in a decrease in tourism and international trade. Furthermore, the pandemic has put immense pressure on healthcare systems globally, as hospitals have been overwhelmed with patients suffering from the virus. Lastly, the outbreak has led to a general feeling of anxiety and uncertainty, as people are fearful of contracting the disease.

My Experience of COVID-19

I still remember how abruptly colleges and schools shut down in March 2020. I was a college student at that time and I was under the impression that everything would go back to normal in a few weeks. I could not have been more wrong. The situation only got worse every week and the government had to impose a lockdown. There were so many restrictions in place. For example, we had to wear face masks whenever we left the house, and we could only go out for essential errands. Restaurants and shops were only allowed to operate at take-out capacity, and many businesses were shut down.

In the current scenario, coronavirus is dominating all aspects of our lives. The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc upon people’s lives, altering the way we live and work in a very short amount of time. It has revolutionised how we think about health care, education, and even social interaction. This virus has had long-term implications on our society, including its impact on mental health, economic stability, and global politics. But we as individuals can help to mitigate these effects by taking personal responsibility to protect themselves and those around them from infection.

Effects of CoronaVirus on Education

The outbreak of coronavirus has had a significant impact on education systems around the world. In China, where the virus originated, all schools and universities were closed for several weeks in an effort to contain the spread of the disease. Many other countries have followed suit, either closing schools altogether or suspending classes for a period of time.

This has resulted in a major disruption to the education of millions of students. Some have been able to continue their studies online, but many have not had access to the internet or have not been able to afford the costs associated with it. This has led to a widening of the digital divide between those who can afford to continue their education online and those who cannot.

The closure of schools has also had a negative impact on the mental health of many students. With no face-to-face contact with friends and teachers, some students have felt isolated and anxious. This has been compounded by the worry and uncertainty surrounding the virus itself.

The situation with coronavirus has improved and schools have been reopened but students are still catching up with the gap of 2 years that the pandemic created. In the meantime, governments and educational institutions are working together to find ways to support students and ensure that they are able to continue their education despite these difficult circumstances.

Effects of CoronaVirus on Economy

The outbreak of the coronavirus has had a significant impact on the global economy. The virus, which originated in China, has spread to over two hundred countries, resulting in widespread panic and a decrease in global trade. As a result of the outbreak, many businesses have been forced to close their doors, leading to a rise in unemployment. In addition, the stock market has taken a severe hit.

Effects of CoronaVirus on Health

The effects that coronavirus has on one's health are still being studied and researched as the virus continues to spread throughout the world. However, some of the potential effects on health that have been observed thus far include respiratory problems, fever, and coughing. In severe cases, pneumonia, kidney failure, and death can occur. It is important for people who think they may have been exposed to the virus to seek medical attention immediately so that they can be treated properly and avoid any serious complications. There is no specific cure or treatment for coronavirus at this time, but there are ways to help ease symptoms and prevent the virus from spreading.

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Data Analyst

The invention of the database has given fresh breath to the people involved in the data analytics career path. Analysis refers to splitting up a whole into its individual components for individual analysis. Data analysis is a method through which raw data are processed and transformed into information that would be beneficial for user strategic thinking.

Data are collected and examined to respond to questions, evaluate hypotheses or contradict theories. It is a tool for analyzing, transforming, modeling, and arranging data with useful knowledge, to assist in decision-making and methods, encompassing various strategies, and is used in different fields of business, research, and social science.

Finance Executive

A career as a Finance Executive requires one to be responsible for monitoring an organisation's income, investments and expenses to create and evaluate financial reports. His or her role involves performing audits, invoices, and budget preparations. He or she manages accounting activities, bank reconciliations, and payable and receivable accounts.  

Welding Engineer

Welding Engineer Job Description: A Welding Engineer work involves managing welding projects and supervising welding teams. He or she is responsible for reviewing welding procedures, processes and documentation. A career as Welding Engineer involves conducting failure analyses and causes on welding issues. 

Transportation Planner

A career as Transportation Planner requires technical application of science and technology in engineering, particularly the concepts, equipment and technologies involved in the production of products and services. In fields like land use, infrastructure review, ecological standards and street design, he or she considers issues of health, environment and performance. A Transportation Planner assigns resources for implementing and designing programmes. He or she is responsible for assessing needs, preparing plans and forecasts and compliance with regulations.

Conservation Architect

A Conservation Architect is a professional responsible for conserving and restoring buildings or monuments having a historic value. He or she applies techniques to document and stabilise the object’s state without any further damage. A Conservation Architect restores the monuments and heritage buildings to bring them back to their original state.

Safety Manager

A Safety Manager is a professional responsible for employee’s safety at work. He or she plans, implements and oversees the company’s employee safety. A Safety Manager ensures compliance and adherence to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) guidelines.

A Team Leader is a professional responsible for guiding, monitoring and leading the entire group. He or she is responsible for motivating team members by providing a pleasant work environment to them and inspiring positive communication. A Team Leader contributes to the achievement of the organisation’s goals. He or she improves the confidence, product knowledge and communication skills of the team members and empowers them.

Structural Engineer

A Structural Engineer designs buildings, bridges, and other related structures. He or she analyzes the structures and makes sure the structures are strong enough to be used by the people. A career as a Structural Engineer requires working in the construction process. It comes under the civil engineering discipline. A Structure Engineer creates structural models with the help of computer-aided design software. 

Individuals in the architecture career are the building designers who plan the whole construction keeping the safety and requirements of the people. Individuals in architect career in India provides professional services for new constructions, alterations, renovations and several other activities. Individuals in architectural careers in India visit site locations to visualize their projects and prepare scaled drawings to submit to a client or employer as a design. Individuals in architecture careers also estimate build costs, materials needed, and the projected time frame to complete a build.

Landscape Architect

Having a landscape architecture career, you are involved in site analysis, site inventory, land planning, planting design, grading, stormwater management, suitable design, and construction specification. Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of Central Park in New York introduced the title “landscape architect”. The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) proclaims that "Landscape Architects research, plan, design and advise on the stewardship, conservation and sustainability of development of the environment and spaces, both within and beyond the built environment". Therefore, individuals who opt for a career as a landscape architect are those who are educated and experienced in landscape architecture. Students need to pursue various landscape architecture degrees, such as  M.Des , M.Plan to become landscape architects. If you have more questions regarding a career as a landscape architect or how to become a landscape architect then you can read the article to get your doubts cleared. 

Orthotist and Prosthetist

Orthotists and Prosthetists are professionals who provide aid to patients with disabilities. They fix them to artificial limbs (prosthetics) and help them to regain stability. There are times when people lose their limbs in an accident. In some other occasions, they are born without a limb or orthopaedic impairment. Orthotists and prosthetists play a crucial role in their lives with fixing them to assistive devices and provide mobility.

Veterinary Doctor

A veterinary doctor is a medical professional with a degree in veterinary science. The veterinary science qualification is the minimum requirement to become a veterinary doctor. There are numerous veterinary science courses offered by various institutes. He or she is employed at zoos to ensure they are provided with good health facilities and medical care to improve their life expectancy.

Pathologist

A career in pathology in India is filled with several responsibilities as it is a medical branch and affects human lives. The demand for pathologists has been increasing over the past few years as people are getting more aware of different diseases. Not only that, but an increase in population and lifestyle changes have also contributed to the increase in a pathologist’s demand. The pathology careers provide an extremely huge number of opportunities and if you want to be a part of the medical field you can consider being a pathologist. If you want to know more about a career in pathology in India then continue reading this article.

Speech Therapist

Gynaecologist.

Gynaecology can be defined as the study of the female body. The job outlook for gynaecology is excellent since there is evergreen demand for one because of their responsibility of dealing with not only women’s health but also fertility and pregnancy issues. Although most women prefer to have a women obstetrician gynaecologist as their doctor, men also explore a career as a gynaecologist and there are ample amounts of male doctors in the field who are gynaecologists and aid women during delivery and childbirth. 

An oncologist is a specialised doctor responsible for providing medical care to patients diagnosed with cancer. He or she uses several therapies to control the cancer and its effect on the human body such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy and biopsy. An oncologist designs a treatment plan based on a pathology report after diagnosing the type of cancer and where it is spreading inside the body.

Audiologist

The audiologist career involves audiology professionals who are responsible to treat hearing loss and proactively preventing the relevant damage. Individuals who opt for a career as an audiologist use various testing strategies with the aim to determine if someone has a normal sensitivity to sounds or not. After the identification of hearing loss, a hearing doctor is required to determine which sections of the hearing are affected, to what extent they are affected, and where the wound causing the hearing loss is found. As soon as the hearing loss is identified, the patients are provided with recommendations for interventions and rehabilitation such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, and appropriate medical referrals. While audiology is a branch of science that studies and researches hearing, balance, and related disorders.

Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Cardiothoracic surgeons are an important part of the surgical team. They usually work in hospitals, and perform emergency as well as scheduled operations. Some of the cardiothoracic surgeons also work in teaching hospitals working as teachers and guides for medical students aspiring to become a cardiothoracic surgeon. A career as a cardiothoracic surgeon involves treating and managing various types of conditions within their speciality that includes their presence at different locations such as outpatient clinics, team meetings, and ward rounds. 

For an individual who opts for a career as an actor, the primary responsibility is to completely speak to the character he or she is playing and to persuade the crowd that the character is genuine by connecting with them and bringing them into the story. This applies to significant roles and littler parts, as all roles join to make an effective creation. Here in this article, we will discuss how to become an actor in India, actor exams, actor salary in India, and actor jobs. 

Individuals who opt for a career as acrobats create and direct original routines for themselves, in addition to developing interpretations of existing routines. The work of circus acrobats can be seen in a variety of performance settings, including circus, reality shows, sports events like the Olympics, movies and commercials. Individuals who opt for a career as acrobats must be prepared to face rejections and intermittent periods of work. The creativity of acrobats may extend to other aspects of the performance. For example, acrobats in the circus may work with gym trainers, celebrities or collaborate with other professionals to enhance such performance elements as costume and or maybe at the teaching end of the career.

Video Game Designer

Career as a video game designer is filled with excitement as well as responsibilities. A video game designer is someone who is involved in the process of creating a game from day one. He or she is responsible for fulfilling duties like designing the character of the game, the several levels involved, plot, art and similar other elements. Individuals who opt for a career as a video game designer may also write the codes for the game using different programming languages.

Depending on the video game designer job description and experience they may also have to lead a team and do the early testing of the game in order to suggest changes and find loopholes.

Talent Agent

The career as a Talent Agent is filled with responsibilities. A Talent Agent is someone who is involved in the pre-production process of the film. It is a very busy job for a Talent Agent but as and when an individual gains experience and progresses in the career he or she can have people assisting him or her in work. Depending on one’s responsibilities, number of clients and experience he or she may also have to lead a team and work with juniors under him or her in a talent agency. In order to know more about the job of a talent agent continue reading the article.

If you want to know more about talent agent meaning, how to become a Talent Agent, or Talent Agent job description then continue reading this article.

Radio Jockey

Radio Jockey is an exciting, promising career and a great challenge for music lovers. If you are really interested in a career as radio jockey, then it is very important for an RJ to have an automatic, fun, and friendly personality. If you want to get a job done in this field, a strong command of the language and a good voice are always good things. Apart from this, in order to be a good radio jockey, you will also listen to good radio jockeys so that you can understand their style and later make your own by practicing.

A career as radio jockey has a lot to offer to deserving candidates. If you want to know more about a career as radio jockey, and how to become a radio jockey then continue reading the article.

Choreographer

The word “choreography" actually comes from Greek words that mean “dance writing." Individuals who opt for a career as a choreographer create and direct original dances, in addition to developing interpretations of existing dances. A Choreographer dances and utilises his or her creativity in other aspects of dance performance. For example, he or she may work with the music director to select music or collaborate with other famous choreographers to enhance such performance elements as lighting, costume and set design.

Videographer

Careers in videography are art that can be defined as a creative and interpretive process that culminates in the authorship of an original work of art rather than a simple recording of a simple event. It would be wrong to portrait it as a subcategory of photography, rather photography is one of the crafts used in videographer jobs in addition to technical skills like organization, management, interpretation, and image-manipulation techniques. Students pursue Visual Media , Film, Television, Digital Video Production to opt for a videographer career path. The visual impacts of a film are driven by the creative decisions taken in videography jobs. Individuals who opt for a career as a videographer are involved in the entire lifecycle of a film and production. 

Multimedia Specialist

A multimedia specialist is a media professional who creates, audio, videos, graphic image files, computer animations for multimedia applications. He or she is responsible for planning, producing, and maintaining websites and applications. 

Copy Writer

In a career as a copywriter, one has to consult with the client and understand the brief well. A career as a copywriter has a lot to offer to deserving candidates. Several new mediums of advertising are opening therefore making it a lucrative career choice. Students can pursue various copywriter courses such as Journalism , Advertising , Marketing Management . Here, we have discussed how to become a freelance copywriter, copywriter career path, how to become a copywriter in India, and copywriting career outlook. 

Careers in journalism are filled with excitement as well as responsibilities. One cannot afford to miss out on the details. As it is the small details that provide insights into a story. Depending on those insights a journalist goes about writing a news article. A journalism career can be stressful at times but if you are someone who is passionate about it then it is the right choice for you. If you want to know more about the media field and journalist career then continue reading this article.

For publishing books, newspapers, magazines and digital material, editorial and commercial strategies are set by publishers. Individuals in publishing career paths make choices about the markets their businesses will reach and the type of content that their audience will be served. Individuals in book publisher careers collaborate with editorial staff, designers, authors, and freelance contributors who develop and manage the creation of content.

In a career as a vlogger, one generally works for himself or herself. However, once an individual has gained viewership there are several brands and companies that approach them for paid collaboration. It is one of those fields where an individual can earn well while following his or her passion. 

Ever since internet costs got reduced the viewership for these types of content has increased on a large scale. Therefore, a career as a vlogger has a lot to offer. If you want to know more about the Vlogger eligibility, roles and responsibilities then continue reading the article. 

Individuals in the editor career path is an unsung hero of the news industry who polishes the language of the news stories provided by stringers, reporters, copywriters and content writers and also news agencies. Individuals who opt for a career as an editor make it more persuasive, concise and clear for readers. In this article, we will discuss the details of the editor's career path such as how to become an editor in India, editor salary in India and editor skills and qualities.

Content Writer

Content writing is meant to speak directly with a particular audience, such as customers, potential customers, investors, employees, or other stakeholders. The main aim of professional content writers is to speak to their targeted audience and if it is not then it is not doing its job. There are numerous kinds of the content present on the website and each is different based on the service or the product it is used for.

Individuals who opt for a career as a reporter may often be at work on national holidays and festivities. He or she pitches various story ideas and covers news stories in risky situations. Students can pursue a BMC (Bachelor of Mass Communication) , B.M.M. (Bachelor of Mass Media) , or  MAJMC (MA in Journalism and Mass Communication) to become a reporter. While we sit at home reporters travel to locations to collect information that carries a news value.  

Linguistic meaning is related to language or Linguistics which is the study of languages. A career as a linguistic meaning, a profession that is based on the scientific study of language, and it's a very broad field with many specialities. Famous linguists work in academia, researching and teaching different areas of language, such as phonetics (sounds), syntax (word order) and semantics (meaning). 

Other researchers focus on specialities like computational linguistics, which seeks to better match human and computer language capacities, or applied linguistics, which is concerned with improving language education. Still, others work as language experts for the government, advertising companies, dictionary publishers and various other private enterprises. Some might work from home as freelance linguists. Philologist, phonologist, and dialectician are some of Linguist synonym. Linguists can study French , German , Italian . 

Production Manager

Quality controller.

A quality controller plays a crucial role in an organisation. He or she is responsible for performing quality checks on manufactured products. He or she identifies the defects in a product and rejects the product. 

A quality controller records detailed information about products with defects and sends it to the supervisor or plant manager to take necessary actions to improve the production process.

Metrologist

You might be googling Metrologist meaning. Well, we have an easily understandable Metrologist definition for you. A metrologist is a professional who stays involved in measurement practices in varying industries including electrical and electronics. A Metrologist is responsible for developing processes and systems for measuring objects and repairing electrical instruments. He or she also involved in writing specifications of experimental electronic units. 

Production Worker

A production worker is a vital part of any manufacturing operation, as he or she plays a leading role in improving the efficiency of the production process. Career as a Production Worker  requires ensuring that the equipment and machinery used in the production of goods are designed to meet the needs of the customers.

Azure Administrator

An Azure Administrator is a professional responsible for implementing, monitoring, and maintaining Azure Solutions. He or she manages cloud infrastructure service instances and various cloud servers as well as sets up public and private cloud systems. 

AWS Solution Architect

An AWS Solution Architect is someone who specializes in developing and implementing cloud computing systems. He or she has a good understanding of the various aspects of cloud computing and can confidently deploy and manage their systems. He or she troubleshoots the issues and evaluates the risk from the third party. 

ITSM Manager

Information security manager.

Individuals in the information security manager career path involves in overseeing and controlling all aspects of computer security. The IT security manager job description includes planning and carrying out security measures to protect the business data and information from corruption, theft, unauthorised access, and deliberate attack 

Computer Programmer

Careers in computer programming primarily refer to the systematic act of writing code and moreover include wider computer science areas. The word 'programmer' or 'coder' has entered into practice with the growing number of newly self-taught tech enthusiasts. Computer programming careers involve the use of designs created by software developers and engineers and transforming them into commands that can be implemented by computers. These commands result in regular usage of social media sites, word-processing applications and browsers.

Computer System Analyst

Individuals in the computer systems analyst career path study the hardware and applications that are part of an organization's computer systems, as well as how they are used. They collaborate closely with managers and end-users to identify system specifications and business priorities, as well as to assess the efficiency of computer systems and create techniques to boost IT efficiency. Individuals who opt for a career as a computer system analyst support the implementation, modification, and debugging of new systems after they have been installed.

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  • Volume 76, Issue 2
  • COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on social relationships and health
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  • http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1512-4471 Emily Long 1 ,
  • Susan Patterson 1 ,
  • Karen Maxwell 1 ,
  • Carolyn Blake 1 ,
  • http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7342-4566 Raquel Bosó Pérez 1 ,
  • Ruth Lewis 1 ,
  • Mark McCann 1 ,
  • Julie Riddell 1 ,
  • Kathryn Skivington 1 ,
  • Rachel Wilson-Lowe 1 ,
  • http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4409-6601 Kirstin R Mitchell 2
  • 1 MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit , University of Glasgow , Glasgow , UK
  • 2 MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, Institute of Health & Wellbeing , University of Glasgow , Glasgow , UK
  • Correspondence to Dr Emily Long, MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G3 7HR, UK; emily.long{at}glasgow.ac.uk

This essay examines key aspects of social relationships that were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It focuses explicitly on relational mechanisms of health and brings together theory and emerging evidence on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to make recommendations for future public health policy and recovery. We first provide an overview of the pandemic in the UK context, outlining the nature of the public health response. We then introduce four distinct domains of social relationships: social networks, social support, social interaction and intimacy, highlighting the mechanisms through which the pandemic and associated public health response drastically altered social interactions in each domain. Throughout the essay, the lens of health inequalities, and perspective of relationships as interconnecting elements in a broader system, is used to explore the varying impact of these disruptions. The essay concludes by providing recommendations for longer term recovery ensuring that the social relational cost of COVID-19 is adequately considered in efforts to rebuild.

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This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ .

https://doi.org/10.1136/jech-2021-216690

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Introduction

Infectious disease pandemics, including SARS and COVID-19, demand intrapersonal behaviour change and present highly complex challenges for public health. 1 A pandemic of an airborne infection, spread easily through social contact, assails human relationships by drastically altering the ways through which humans interact. In this essay, we draw on theories of social relationships to examine specific ways in which relational mechanisms key to health and well-being were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Relational mechanisms refer to the processes between people that lead to change in health outcomes.

At the time of writing, the future surrounding COVID-19 was uncertain. Vaccine programmes were being rolled out in countries that could afford them, but new and more contagious variants of the virus were also being discovered. The recovery journey looked long, with continued disruption to social relationships. The social cost of COVID-19 was only just beginning to emerge, but the mental health impact was already considerable, 2 3 and the inequality of the health burden stark. 4 Knowledge of the epidemiology of COVID-19 accrued rapidly, but evidence of the most effective policy responses remained uncertain.

The initial response to COVID-19 in the UK was reactive and aimed at reducing mortality, with little time to consider the social implications, including for interpersonal and community relationships. The terminology of ‘social distancing’ quickly became entrenched both in public and policy discourse. This equation of physical distance with social distance was regrettable, since only physical proximity causes viral transmission, whereas many forms of social proximity (eg, conversations while walking outdoors) are minimal risk, and are crucial to maintaining relationships supportive of health and well-being.

The aim of this essay is to explore four key relational mechanisms that were impacted by the pandemic and associated restrictions: social networks, social support, social interaction and intimacy. We use relational theories and emerging research on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic response to make three key recommendations: one regarding public health responses; and two regarding social recovery. Our understanding of these mechanisms stems from a ‘systems’ perspective which casts social relationships as interdependent elements within a connected whole. 5

Social networks

Social networks characterise the individuals and social connections that compose a system (such as a workplace, community or society). Social relationships range from spouses and partners, to coworkers, friends and acquaintances. They vary across many dimensions, including, for example, frequency of contact and emotional closeness. Social networks can be understood both in terms of the individuals and relationships that compose the network, as well as the overall network structure (eg, how many of your friends know each other).

Social networks show a tendency towards homophily, or a phenomenon of associating with individuals who are similar to self. 6 This is particularly true for ‘core’ network ties (eg, close friends), while more distant, sometimes called ‘weak’ ties tend to show more diversity. During the height of COVID-19 restrictions, face-to-face interactions were often reduced to core network members, such as partners, family members or, potentially, live-in roommates; some ‘weak’ ties were lost, and interactions became more limited to those closest. Given that peripheral, weaker social ties provide a diversity of resources, opinions and support, 7 COVID-19 likely resulted in networks that were smaller and more homogenous.

Such changes were not inevitable nor necessarily enduring, since social networks are also adaptive and responsive to change, in that a disruption to usual ways of interacting can be replaced by new ways of engaging (eg, Zoom). Yet, important inequalities exist, wherein networks and individual relationships within networks are not equally able to adapt to such changes. For example, individuals with a large number of newly established relationships (eg, university students) may have struggled to transfer these relationships online, resulting in lost contacts and a heightened risk of social isolation. This is consistent with research suggesting that young adults were the most likely to report a worsening of relationships during COVID-19, whereas older adults were the least likely to report a change. 8

Lastly, social connections give rise to emergent properties of social systems, 9 where a community-level phenomenon develops that cannot be attributed to any one member or portion of the network. For example, local area-based networks emerged due to geographic restrictions (eg, stay-at-home orders), resulting in increases in neighbourly support and local volunteering. 10 In fact, research suggests that relationships with neighbours displayed the largest net gain in ratings of relationship quality compared with a range of relationship types (eg, partner, colleague, friend). 8 Much of this was built from spontaneous individual interactions within local communities, which together contributed to the ‘community spirit’ that many experienced. 11 COVID-19 restrictions thus impacted the personal social networks and the structure of the larger networks within the society.

Social support

Social support, referring to the psychological and material resources provided through social interaction, is a critical mechanism through which social relationships benefit health. In fact, social support has been shown to be one of the most important resilience factors in the aftermath of stressful events. 12 In the context of COVID-19, the usual ways in which individuals interact and obtain social support have been severely disrupted.

One such disruption has been to opportunities for spontaneous social interactions. For example, conversations with colleagues in a break room offer an opportunity for socialising beyond one’s core social network, and these peripheral conversations can provide a form of social support. 13 14 A chance conversation may lead to advice helpful to coping with situations or seeking formal help. Thus, the absence of these spontaneous interactions may mean the reduction of indirect support-seeking opportunities. While direct support-seeking behaviour is more effective at eliciting support, it also requires significantly more effort and may be perceived as forceful and burdensome. 15 The shift to homeworking and closure of community venues reduced the number of opportunities for these spontaneous interactions to occur, and has, second, focused them locally. Consequently, individuals whose core networks are located elsewhere, or who live in communities where spontaneous interaction is less likely, have less opportunity to benefit from spontaneous in-person supportive interactions.

However, alongside this disruption, new opportunities to interact and obtain social support have arisen. The surge in community social support during the initial lockdown mirrored that often seen in response to adverse events (eg, natural disasters 16 ). COVID-19 restrictions that confined individuals to their local area also compelled them to focus their in-person efforts locally. Commentators on the initial lockdown in the UK remarked on extraordinary acts of generosity between individuals who belonged to the same community but were unknown to each other. However, research on adverse events also tells us that such community support is not necessarily maintained in the longer term. 16

Meanwhile, online forms of social support are not bound by geography, thus enabling interactions and social support to be received from a wider network of people. Formal online social support spaces (eg, support groups) existed well before COVID-19, but have vastly increased since. While online interactions can increase perceived social support, it is unclear whether remote communication technologies provide an effective substitute from in-person interaction during periods of social distancing. 17 18 It makes intuitive sense that the usefulness of online social support will vary by the type of support offered, degree of social interaction and ‘online communication skills’ of those taking part. Youth workers, for instance, have struggled to keep vulnerable youth engaged in online youth clubs, 19 despite others finding a positive association between amount of digital technology used by individuals during lockdown and perceived social support. 20 Other research has found that more frequent face-to-face contact and phone/video contact both related to lower levels of depression during the time period of March to August 2020, but the negative effect of a lack of contact was greater for those with higher levels of usual sociability. 21 Relatedly, important inequalities in social support exist, such that individuals who occupy more socially disadvantaged positions in society (eg, low socioeconomic status, older people) tend to have less access to social support, 22 potentially exacerbated by COVID-19.

Social and interactional norms

Interactional norms are key relational mechanisms which build trust, belonging and identity within and across groups in a system. Individuals in groups and societies apply meaning by ‘approving, arranging and redefining’ symbols of interaction. 23 A handshake, for instance, is a powerful symbol of trust and equality. Depending on context, not shaking hands may symbolise a failure to extend friendship, or a failure to reach agreement. The norms governing these symbols represent shared values and identity; and mutual understanding of these symbols enables individuals to achieve orderly interactions, establish supportive relationship accountability and connect socially. 24 25

Physical distancing measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 radically altered these norms of interaction, particularly those used to convey trust, affinity, empathy and respect (eg, hugging, physical comforting). 26 As epidemic waves rose and fell, the work to negotiate these norms required intense cognitive effort; previously taken-for-granted interactions were re-examined, factoring in current restriction levels, own and (assumed) others’ vulnerability and tolerance of risk. This created awkwardness, and uncertainty, for example, around how to bring closure to an in-person interaction or convey warmth. The instability in scripted ways of interacting created particular strain for individuals who already struggled to encode and decode interactions with others (eg, those who are deaf or have autism spectrum disorder); difficulties often intensified by mask wearing. 27

Large social gatherings—for example, weddings, school assemblies, sporting events—also present key opportunities for affirming and assimilating interactional norms, building cohesion and shared identity and facilitating cooperation across social groups. 28 Online ‘equivalents’ do not easily support ‘social-bonding’ activities such as singing and dancing, and rarely enable chance/spontaneous one-on-one conversations with peripheral/weaker network ties (see the Social networks section) which can help strengthen bonds across a larger network. The loss of large gatherings to celebrate rites of passage (eg, bar mitzvah, weddings) has additional relational costs since these events are performed by and for communities to reinforce belonging, and to assist in transitioning to new phases of life. 29 The loss of interaction with diverse others via community and large group gatherings also reduces intergroup contact, which may then tend towards more prejudiced outgroup attitudes. While online interaction can go some way to mimicking these interaction norms, there are key differences. A sense of anonymity, and lack of in-person emotional cues, tends to support norms of polarisation and aggression in expressing differences of opinion online. And while online platforms have potential to provide intergroup contact, the tendency of much social media to form homogeneous ‘echo chambers’ can serve to further reduce intergroup contact. 30 31

Intimacy relates to the feeling of emotional connection and closeness with other human beings. Emotional connection, through romantic, friendship or familial relationships, fulfils a basic human need 32 and strongly benefits health, including reduced stress levels, improved mental health, lowered blood pressure and reduced risk of heart disease. 32 33 Intimacy can be fostered through familiarity, feeling understood and feeling accepted by close others. 34

Intimacy via companionship and closeness is fundamental to mental well-being. Positively, the COVID-19 pandemic has offered opportunities for individuals to (re)connect and (re)strengthen close relationships within their household via quality time together, following closure of many usual external social activities. Research suggests that the first full UK lockdown period led to a net gain in the quality of steady relationships at a population level, 35 but amplified existing inequalities in relationship quality. 35 36 For some in single-person households, the absence of a companion became more conspicuous, leading to feelings of loneliness and lower mental well-being. 37 38 Additional pandemic-related relational strain 39 40 resulted, for some, in the initiation or intensification of domestic abuse. 41 42

Physical touch is another key aspect of intimacy, a fundamental human need crucial in maintaining and developing intimacy within close relationships. 34 Restrictions on social interactions severely restricted the number and range of people with whom physical affection was possible. The reduction in opportunity to give and receive affectionate physical touch was not experienced equally. Many of those living alone found themselves completely without physical contact for extended periods. The deprivation of physical touch is evidenced to take a heavy emotional toll. 43 Even in future, once physical expressions of affection can resume, new levels of anxiety over germs may introduce hesitancy into previously fluent blending of physical and verbal intimate social connections. 44

The pandemic also led to shifts in practices and norms around sexual relationship building and maintenance, as individuals adapted and sought alternative ways of enacting sexual intimacy. This too is important, given that intimate sexual activity has known benefits for health. 45 46 Given that social restrictions hinged on reducing household mixing, possibilities for partnered sexual activity were primarily guided by living arrangements. While those in cohabiting relationships could potentially continue as before, those who were single or in non-cohabiting relationships generally had restricted opportunities to maintain their sexual relationships. Pornography consumption and digital partners were reported to increase since lockdown. 47 However, online interactions are qualitatively different from in-person interactions and do not provide the same opportunities for physical intimacy.

Recommendations and conclusions

In the sections above we have outlined the ways in which COVID-19 has impacted social relationships, showing how relational mechanisms key to health have been undermined. While some of the damage might well self-repair after the pandemic, there are opportunities inherent in deliberative efforts to build back in ways that facilitate greater resilience in social and community relationships. We conclude by making three recommendations: one regarding public health responses to the pandemic; and two regarding social recovery.

Recommendation 1: explicitly count the relational cost of public health policies to control the pandemic

Effective handling of a pandemic recognises that social, economic and health concerns are intricately interwoven. It is clear that future research and policy attention must focus on the social consequences. As described above, policies which restrict physical mixing across households carry heavy and unequal relational costs. These include for individuals (eg, loss of intimate touch), dyads (eg, loss of warmth, comfort), networks (eg, restricted access to support) and communities (eg, loss of cohesion and identity). Such costs—and their unequal impact—should not be ignored in short-term efforts to control an epidemic. Some public health responses—restrictions on international holiday travel and highly efficient test and trace systems—have relatively small relational costs and should be prioritised. At a national level, an earlier move to proportionate restrictions, and investment in effective test and trace systems, may help prevent escalation of spread to the point where a national lockdown or tight restrictions became an inevitability. Where policies with relational costs are unavoidable, close attention should be paid to the unequal relational impact for those whose personal circumstances differ from normative assumptions of two adult families. This includes consideration of whether expectations are fair (eg, for those who live alone), whether restrictions on social events are equitable across age group, religious/ethnic groupings and social class, and also to ensure that the language promoted by such policies (eg, households; families) is not exclusionary. 48 49 Forethought to unequal impacts on social relationships should thus be integral to the work of epidemic preparedness teams.

Recommendation 2: intelligently balance online and offline ways of relating

A key ingredient for well-being is ‘getting together’ in a physical sense. This is fundamental to a human need for intimate touch, physical comfort, reinforcing interactional norms and providing practical support. Emerging evidence suggests that online ways of relating cannot simply replace physical interactions. But online interaction has many benefits and for some it offers connections that did not exist previously. In particular, online platforms provide new forms of support for those unable to access offline services because of mobility issues (eg, older people) or because they are geographically isolated from their support community (eg, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth). Ultimately, multiple forms of online and offline social interactions are required to meet the needs of varying groups of people (eg, LGBTQ, older people). Future research and practice should aim to establish ways of using offline and online support in complementary and even synergistic ways, rather than veering between them as social restrictions expand and contract. Intelligent balancing of online and offline ways of relating also pertains to future policies on home and flexible working. A decision to switch to wholesale or obligatory homeworking should consider the risk to relational ‘group properties’ of the workplace community and their impact on employees’ well-being, focusing in particular on unequal impacts (eg, new vs established employees). Intelligent blending of online and in-person working is required to achieve flexibility while also nurturing supportive networks at work. Intelligent balance also implies strategies to build digital literacy and minimise digital exclusion, as well as coproducing solutions with intended beneficiaries.

Recommendation 3: build stronger and sustainable localised communities

In balancing offline and online ways of interacting, there is opportunity to capitalise on the potential for more localised, coherent communities due to scaled-down travel, homeworking and local focus that will ideally continue after restrictions end. There are potential economic benefits after the pandemic, such as increased trade as home workers use local resources (eg, coffee shops), but also relational benefits from stronger relationships around the orbit of the home and neighbourhood. Experience from previous crises shows that community volunteer efforts generated early on will wane over time in the absence of deliberate work to maintain them. Adequately funded partnerships between local government, third sector and community groups are required to sustain community assets that began as a direct response to the pandemic. Such partnerships could work to secure green spaces and indoor (non-commercial) meeting spaces that promote community interaction. Green spaces in particular provide a triple benefit in encouraging physical activity and mental health, as well as facilitating social bonding. 50 In building local communities, small community networks—that allow for diversity and break down ingroup/outgroup views—may be more helpful than the concept of ‘support bubbles’, which are exclusionary and less sustainable in the longer term. Rigorously designed intervention and evaluation—taking a systems approach—will be crucial in ensuring scale-up and sustainability.

The dramatic change to social interaction necessitated by efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 created stark challenges but also opportunities. Our essay highlights opportunities for learning, both to ensure the equity and humanity of physical restrictions, and to sustain the salutogenic effects of social relationships going forward. The starting point for capitalising on this learning is recognition of the disruption to relational mechanisms as a key part of the socioeconomic and health impact of the pandemic. In recovery planning, a general rule is that what is good for decreasing health inequalities (such as expanding social protection and public services and pursuing green inclusive growth strategies) 4 will also benefit relationships and safeguard relational mechanisms for future generations. Putting this into action will require political will.

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Twitter @karenmaxSPHSU, @Mark_McCann, @Rwilsonlowe, @KMitchinGlasgow

Contributors EL and KM led on the manuscript conceptualisation, review and editing. SP, KM, CB, RBP, RL, MM, JR, KS and RW-L contributed to drafting and revising the article. All authors assisted in revising the final draft.

Funding The research reported in this publication was supported by the Medical Research Council (MC_UU_00022/1, MC_UU_00022/3) and the Chief Scientist Office (SPHSU11, SPHSU14). EL is also supported by MRC Skills Development Fellowship Award (MR/S015078/1). KS and MM are also supported by a Medical Research Council Strategic Award (MC_PC_13027).

Competing interests None declared.

Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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Read these 12 moving essays about life during coronavirus

Artists, novelists, critics, and essayists are writing the first draft of history.

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sample of expository essay on covid 19

The world is grappling with an invisible, deadly enemy, trying to understand how to live with the threat posed by a virus . For some writers, the only way forward is to put pen to paper, trying to conceptualize and document what it feels like to continue living as countries are under lockdown and regular life seems to have ground to a halt.

So as the coronavirus pandemic has stretched around the world, it’s sparked a crop of diary entries and essays that describe how life has changed. Novelists, critics, artists, and journalists have put words to the feelings many are experiencing. The result is a first draft of how we’ll someday remember this time, filled with uncertainty and pain and fear as well as small moments of hope and humanity.

At the New York Review of Books, Ali Bhutto writes that in Karachi, Pakistan, the government-imposed curfew due to the virus is “eerily reminiscent of past military clampdowns”:

Beneath the quiet calm lies a sense that society has been unhinged and that the usual rules no longer apply. Small groups of pedestrians look on from the shadows, like an audience watching a spectacle slowly unfolding. People pause on street corners and in the shade of trees, under the watchful gaze of the paramilitary forces and the police.

His essay concludes with the sobering note that “in the minds of many, Covid-19 is just another life-threatening hazard in a city that stumbles from one crisis to another.”

Writing from Chattanooga, novelist Jamie Quatro documents the mixed ways her neighbors have been responding to the threat, and the frustration of conflicting direction, or no direction at all, from local, state, and federal leaders:

Whiplash, trying to keep up with who’s ordering what. We’re already experiencing enough chaos without this back-and-forth. Why didn’t the federal government issue a nationwide shelter-in-place at the get-go, the way other countries did? What happens when one state’s shelter-in-place ends, while others continue? Do states still under quarantine close their borders? We are still one nation, not fifty individual countries. Right?

Award-winning photojournalist Alessio Mamo, quarantined with his partner Marta in Sicily after she tested positive for the virus, accompanies his photographs in the Guardian of their confinement with a reflection on being confined :

The doctors asked me to take a second test, but again I tested negative. Perhaps I’m immune? The days dragged on in my apartment, in black and white, like my photos. Sometimes we tried to smile, imagining that I was asymptomatic, because I was the virus. Our smiles seemed to bring good news. My mother left hospital, but I won’t be able to see her for weeks. Marta started breathing well again, and so did I. I would have liked to photograph my country in the midst of this emergency, the battles that the doctors wage on the frontline, the hospitals pushed to their limits, Italy on its knees fighting an invisible enemy. That enemy, a day in March, knocked on my door instead.

In the New York Times Magazine, deputy editor Jessica Lustig writes with devastating clarity about her family’s life in Brooklyn while her husband battled the virus, weeks before most people began taking the threat seriously:

At the door of the clinic, we stand looking out at two older women chatting outside the doorway, oblivious. Do I wave them away? Call out that they should get far away, go home, wash their hands, stay inside? Instead we just stand there, awkwardly, until they move on. Only then do we step outside to begin the long three-block walk home. I point out the early magnolia, the forsythia. T says he is cold. The untrimmed hairs on his neck, under his beard, are white. The few people walking past us on the sidewalk don’t know that we are visitors from the future. A vision, a premonition, a walking visitation. This will be them: Either T, in the mask, or — if they’re lucky — me, tending to him.

Essayist Leslie Jamison writes in the New York Review of Books about being shut away alone in her New York City apartment with her 2-year-old daughter since she became sick:

The virus. Its sinewy, intimate name. What does it feel like in my body today? Shivering under blankets. A hot itch behind the eyes. Three sweatshirts in the middle of the day. My daughter trying to pull another blanket over my body with her tiny arms. An ache in the muscles that somehow makes it hard to lie still. This loss of taste has become a kind of sensory quarantine. It’s as if the quarantine keeps inching closer and closer to my insides. First I lost the touch of other bodies; then I lost the air; now I’ve lost the taste of bananas. Nothing about any of these losses is particularly unique. I’ve made a schedule so I won’t go insane with the toddler. Five days ago, I wrote Walk/Adventure! on it, next to a cut-out illustration of a tiger—as if we’d see tigers on our walks. It was good to keep possibility alive.

At Literary Hub, novelist Heidi Pitlor writes about the elastic nature of time during her family’s quarantine in Massachusetts:

During a shutdown, the things that mark our days—commuting to work, sending our kids to school, having a drink with friends—vanish and time takes on a flat, seamless quality. Without some self-imposed structure, it’s easy to feel a little untethered. A friend recently posted on Facebook: “For those who have lost track, today is Blursday the fortyteenth of Maprilay.” ... Giving shape to time is especially important now, when the future is so shapeless. We do not know whether the virus will continue to rage for weeks or months or, lord help us, on and off for years. We do not know when we will feel safe again. And so many of us, minus those who are gifted at compartmentalization or denial, remain largely captive to fear. We may stay this way if we do not create at least the illusion of movement in our lives, our long days spent with ourselves or partners or families.

Novelist Lauren Groff writes at the New York Review of Books about trying to escape the prison of her fears while sequestered at home in Gainesville, Florida:

Some people have imaginations sparked only by what they can see; I blame this blinkered empiricism for the parks overwhelmed with people, the bars, until a few nights ago, thickly thronged. My imagination is the opposite. I fear everything invisible to me. From the enclosure of my house, I am afraid of the suffering that isn’t present before me, the people running out of money and food or drowning in the fluid in their lungs, the deaths of health-care workers now growing ill while performing their duties. I fear the federal government, which the right wing has so—intentionally—weakened that not only is it insufficient to help its people, it is actively standing in help’s way. I fear we won’t sufficiently punish the right. I fear leaving the house and spreading the disease. I fear what this time of fear is doing to my children, their imaginations, and their souls.

At ArtForum , Berlin-based critic and writer Kristian Vistrup Madsen reflects on martinis, melancholia, and Finnish artist Jaakko Pallasvuo’s 2018 graphic novel Retreat , in which three young people exile themselves in the woods:

In melancholia, the shape of what is ending, and its temporality, is sprawling and incomprehensible. The ambivalence makes it hard to bear. The world of Retreat is rendered in lush pink and purple watercolors, which dissolve into wild and messy abstractions. In apocalypse, the divisions established in genesis bleed back out. My own Corona-retreat is similarly soft, color-field like, each day a blurred succession of quarantinis, YouTube–yoga, and televized press conferences. As restrictions mount, so does abstraction. For now, I’m still rooting for love to save the world.

At the Paris Review , Matt Levin writes about reading Virginia Woolf’s novel The Waves during quarantine:

A retreat, a quarantine, a sickness—they simultaneously distort and clarify, curtail and expand. It is an ideal state in which to read literature with a reputation for difficulty and inaccessibility, those hermetic books shorn of the handholds of conventional plot or characterization or description. A novel like Virginia Woolf’s The Waves is perfect for the state of interiority induced by quarantine—a story of three men and three women, meeting after the death of a mutual friend, told entirely in the overlapping internal monologues of the six, interspersed only with sections of pure, achingly beautiful descriptions of the natural world, a day’s procession and recession of light and waves. The novel is, in my mind’s eye, a perfectly spherical object. It is translucent and shimmering and infinitely fragile, prone to shatter at the slightest disturbance. It is not a book that can be read in snatches on the subway—it demands total absorption. Though it revels in a stark emotional nakedness, the book remains aloof, remote in its own deep self-absorption.

In an essay for the Financial Times, novelist Arundhati Roy writes with anger about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s anemic response to the threat, but also offers a glimmer of hope for the future:

Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.

From Boston, Nora Caplan-Bricker writes in The Point about the strange contraction of space under quarantine, in which a friend in Beirut is as close as the one around the corner in the same city:

It’s a nice illusion—nice to feel like we’re in it together, even if my real world has shrunk to one person, my husband, who sits with his laptop in the other room. It’s nice in the same way as reading those essays that reframe social distancing as solidarity. “We must begin to see the negative space as clearly as the positive, to know what we don’t do is also brilliant and full of love,” the poet Anne Boyer wrote on March 10th, the day that Massachusetts declared a state of emergency. If you squint, you could almost make sense of this quarantine as an effort to flatten, along with the curve, the distinctions we make between our bonds with others. Right now, I care for my neighbor in the same way I demonstrate love for my mother: in all instances, I stay away. And in moments this month, I have loved strangers with an intensity that is new to me. On March 14th, the Saturday night after the end of life as we knew it, I went out with my dog and found the street silent: no lines for restaurants, no children on bicycles, no couples strolling with little cups of ice cream. It had taken the combined will of thousands of people to deliver such a sudden and complete emptiness. I felt so grateful, and so bereft.

And on his own website, musician and artist David Byrne writes about rediscovering the value of working for collective good , saying that “what is happening now is an opportunity to learn how to change our behavior”:

In emergencies, citizens can suddenly cooperate and collaborate. Change can happen. We’re going to need to work together as the effects of climate change ramp up. In order for capitalism to survive in any form, we will have to be a little more socialist. Here is an opportunity for us to see things differently — to see that we really are all connected — and adjust our behavior accordingly. Are we willing to do this? Is this moment an opportunity to see how truly interdependent we all are? To live in a world that is different and better than the one we live in now? We might be too far down the road to test every asymptomatic person, but a change in our mindsets, in how we view our neighbors, could lay the groundwork for the collective action we’ll need to deal with other global crises. The time to see how connected we all are is now.

The portrait these writers paint of a world under quarantine is multifaceted. Our worlds have contracted to the confines of our homes, and yet in some ways we’re more connected than ever to one another. We feel fear and boredom, anger and gratitude, frustration and strange peace. Uncertainty drives us to find metaphors and images that will let us wrap our minds around what is happening.

Yet there’s no single “what” that is happening. Everyone is contending with the pandemic and its effects from different places and in different ways. Reading others’ experiences — even the most frightening ones — can help alleviate the loneliness and dread, a little, and remind us that what we’re going through is both unique and shared by all.

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Writing about COVID-19 in a college admission essay

by: Venkates Swaminathan | Updated: September 14, 2020

Print article

Writing about COVID-19 in your college admission essay

For students applying to college using the CommonApp, there are several different places where students and counselors can address the pandemic’s impact. The different sections have differing goals. You must understand how to use each section for its appropriate use.

The CommonApp COVID-19 question

First, the CommonApp this year has an additional question specifically about COVID-19 :

Community disruptions such as COVID-19 and natural disasters can have deep and long-lasting impacts. If you need it, this space is yours to describe those impacts. Colleges care about the effects on your health and well-being, safety, family circumstances, future plans, and education, including access to reliable technology and quiet study spaces. Please use this space to describe how these events have impacted you.

This question seeks to understand the adversity that students may have had to face due to the pandemic, the move to online education, or the shelter-in-place rules. You don’t have to answer this question if the impact on you wasn’t particularly severe. Some examples of things students should discuss include:

  • The student or a family member had COVID-19 or suffered other illnesses due to confinement during the pandemic.
  • The candidate had to deal with personal or family issues, such as abusive living situations or other safety concerns
  • The student suffered from a lack of internet access and other online learning challenges.
  • Students who dealt with problems registering for or taking standardized tests and AP exams.

Jeff Schiffman of the Tulane University admissions office has a blog about this section. He recommends students ask themselves several questions as they go about answering this section:

  • Are my experiences different from others’?
  • Are there noticeable changes on my transcript?
  • Am I aware of my privilege?
  • Am I specific? Am I explaining rather than complaining?
  • Is this information being included elsewhere on my application?

If you do answer this section, be brief and to-the-point.

Counselor recommendations and school profiles

Second, counselors will, in their counselor forms and school profiles on the CommonApp, address how the school handled the pandemic and how it might have affected students, specifically as it relates to:

  • Grading scales and policies
  • Graduation requirements
  • Instructional methods
  • Schedules and course offerings
  • Testing requirements
  • Your academic calendar
  • Other extenuating circumstances

Students don’t have to mention these matters in their application unless something unusual happened.

Writing about COVID-19 in your main essay

Write about your experiences during the pandemic in your main college essay if your experience is personal, relevant, and the most important thing to discuss in your college admission essay. That you had to stay home and study online isn’t sufficient, as millions of other students faced the same situation. But sometimes, it can be appropriate and helpful to write about something related to the pandemic in your essay. For example:

  • One student developed a website for a local comic book store. The store might not have survived without the ability for people to order comic books online. The student had a long-standing relationship with the store, and it was an institution that created a community for students who otherwise felt left out.
  • One student started a YouTube channel to help other students with academic subjects he was very familiar with and began tutoring others.
  • Some students used their extra time that was the result of the stay-at-home orders to take online courses pursuing topics they are genuinely interested in or developing new interests, like a foreign language or music.

Experiences like this can be good topics for the CommonApp essay as long as they reflect something genuinely important about the student. For many students whose lives have been shaped by this pandemic, it can be a critical part of their college application.

Want more? Read 6 ways to improve a college essay , What the &%$! should I write about in my college essay , and Just how important is a college admissions essay? .

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Editor in Chief's Introduction to Essays on the Impact of COVID-19 on Work and Workers

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 was a global pandemic, indicating significant global spread of an infectious disease ( World Health Organization, 2020 ). At that point, there were 118,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in 110 countries. China had been the first country with a widespread outbreak in January, and South Korea, Iran and Italy following in February with their own outbreaks. Soon, the virus was in all continents and over 177 countries, and as of this writing, the United States has the highest number of confirmed cases and, sadly, the most deaths. The virus was extremely contagious and led to death in the most vulnerable, particularly those older than 60 and those with underlying conditions. The most critical cases led to an overwhelming number being admitted into the intensive care units of hospitals, leading to a concern that the virus would overwhelm local health care systems. Today, in early May 2020, there have been nearly 250,000 deaths worldwide, with over 3,500,000 confirmed cases ( Hopkins, 2020 ). The human toll is staggering, and experts are predicting a second wave in summer or fall.

As the deaths rose from the virus that had no known treatment or vaccine countries shut their borders, banned travel to other countries and began to issue orders for their citizens to stay at home, with no gatherings of more than 10 individuals. Schools and universities closed their physical locations and moved education online. Sporting events were canceled, airlines cut flights, tourism evaporated, restaurants, movie theaters and bars closed, theater productions canceled, manufacturing facilities, services, and retail stores closed. In some businesses and industries, employees have been able to work remotely from home, but in others, workers have been laid off, furloughed, or had their hours cut. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that there was a 4.5% reduction in hours in the first quarter of 2020, and 10.5% reduction is expected in the second quarter ( ILO, 2020a ). The latter is equivalent to 305 million jobs ( ILO, 2020a ).

Globally, over 430 million enterprises are at risk of disruption, with about half of those in the wholesale and retail trades ( ILO, 2020a ). Much focus in the press has been on the impact in Europe and North America, but the effect on developing countries is even more critical. An example of the latter is the Bangladeshi ready-made-garment sector ( Leitheiser et al., 2020 ), a global industry that depends on a supply chain of raw material from a few countries and produces those garments for retail stores throughout North America and Europe. But, in January 2020, raw material from China was delayed by the shutdown in China, creating delays and work stoppages in Bangladesh. By the time Bangladeshi factories had the material to make garments, in March, retailers in Europe and North American began to cancel orders or put them on hold, canceling or delaying payment. Factories shut down and workers were laid off without pay. Nearly a million people lost their jobs. Overall, since February 2020, the factories in Bangladesh have lost nearly 3 billion dollars in revenue. And, the retail stores that would have sold the garments have also closed. This demonstrates the ripple effect of the disruption of one industry that affects multiple countries and sets of workers, because consider that, in turn, there will be less raw material needed from China, and fewer workers needed there. One need only multiply this example by hundreds to consider the global impact of COVID-19 across the world of work.

The ILO (2020b) notes that it is difficult to collect employment statistics from different countries, so a total global unemployment rate is unavailable at this time. However, they predict significant increase in unemployment, and the number of individuals filing for unemployment benefits in the United States may be an indicator of the magnitude of those unemployed. In the United States, over 30 million filed for unemployment between March 11 and April 30 ( Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020 ), effectively this is an unemployment rate of 18%. By contrast, in February 2020, the US unemployment rate was 3.5% ( Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020 ).

Clearly, COVID-19 has had an enormous disruption on work and workers, most critically for those who have lost their employment. But, even for those continuing to work, there have been disruptions in where people work, with whom they work, what they do, and how much they earn. And, as of this writing, it is also a time of great uncertainty, as countries are slowly trying to ease restrictions to allow people to go back to work--- in a “new normal”, without the ability to predict if they can prevent further infectious “spikes”. The anxieties about not knowing what is coming, when it will end, or what work will entail led us to develop this set of essays about future research on COVID-19 and its impact on work and workers.

These essays began with an idea by Associate Editor Jos Akkermans, who noted to me that the global pandemic was creating a set of career shocks for workers. He suggested writing an essay for the Journal . The Journal of Vocational Behavior has not traditionally published essays, but these are such unusual times, and COVID-19 is so relevant to our collective research on work that I thought it was a good idea. I issued an invitation to the Associate Editors to submit a brief (3000 word) essay on the implications of COVID-19 on work and/or workers with an emphasis on research in the area. At the same time, a group of international scholars was coming together to consider the effects of COVID-19 on unemployment in several countries, and I invited that group to contribute an essay, as well ( Blustein et al., 2020 ).

The following are a set of nine thoughtful set of papers on how the COVID-19 could (and perhaps will) affect vocational behavior; they all provide suggestions for future research. Akkermans, Richardson, and Kraimer (2020) explore how the pandemic may be a career shock for many, but also how that may not necessarily be a negative experience. Blustein et al. (2020) focus on global unemployment, also acknowledging the privileged status they have as professors studying these phenomena. Cho examines the effect of the pandemic on micro-boundaries (across domains) as well as across national (macro) boundaries ( Cho, 2020 ). Guan, Deng, and Zhou (2020) drawing from cultural psychology, discuss how cultural orientations shape an individual's response to COVID-19, but also how a national cultural perspective influences collective actions. Kantamneni (2020) emphasized the effects on marginalized populations in the United States, as well as the very real effects of racism for Asians and Asian-Americans in the US. Kramer and Kramer (2020) discuss the impact of the pandemic in the perceptions of various occupations, whether perceptions of “good” and “bad” jobs will change and whether working remotely will permanently change where people will want to work. Restubog, Ocampo, and Wang (2020) also focused on individual's responses to the global crisis, concentrating on emotional regulation as a challenge, with suggestions for better managing the stress surrounding the anxiety of uncertainty. Rudolph and Zacher (2020) cautioned against using a generational lens in research, advocating for a lifespan developmental approach. Spurk and Straub (2020) also review issues related to unemployment, but focus on the impact of COVID-19 specifically on “gig” or flexible work arrangements.

I am grateful for the contributions of these groups of scholars, and proud of their ability to write these. They were able to write constructive essays in a short time frame when they were, themselves, dealing with disruptions at work. Some were home-schooling children, some were worried about an absent partner or a vulnerable loved one, some were struggling with the challenges that Restubog et al. (2020) outlined. I hope the thoughts, suggestions, and recommendations in these essays will help to stimulate productive thought on the effect of COVID-19 on work and workers. And, while, I hope this research spurs to better understand the effects of such shocks on work, I really hope we do not have to cope with such a shock again.

  • Akkermans J., Richardson J., Kraimer M. The Covid-19 crisis as a career shock: Implications for careers and vocational behavior. Journal of Vocational Behavior. 2020; 119 [ PMC free article ] [ PubMed ] [ Google Scholar ]
  • Blustein D.L., Duffy R., Ferreira J.A., Cohen-Scali V., Cinamon R.G., Allan B.A. Unemployment in the time of COVID-19: A research agenda. Journal of Vocational Behavior. 2020; 119 [ PMC free article ] [ PubMed ] [ Google Scholar ]
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics (2020). Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey. Retrieved May 6, 2020 from https://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymost .
  • Cho E. Examining boundaries to understand the impact of COVID-19 on vocational behaviors. Journal of Vocational Behavior. 2020; 119 [ PMC free article ] [ PubMed ] [ Google Scholar ]
  • Guan Y., Deng H., Zhou X. Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on career development: Insights from cultural psychology. Journal of Vocational Behavior. 2020; 119 [ PMC free article ] [ PubMed ] [ Google Scholar ]
  • Johns Hopkins (2020) Coronavirus Outbreak Mapped: Retrieved May 5, 2020 from https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html .
  • International Labor Organization ILO monitor: COVID-19 and the world of work. Third edition updated estimates and analysis. 2020. https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@dcomm/documents/briefingnote/wcms_743146.pdf Retrieved May 5, 2020 from:
  • International Labor Organization (2020b) COVID-19 impact on the collection of labour market statistics. Retrieved May 6, 2020 from: https://ilostat.ilo.org .
  • Kantamneni, N. (2020). The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on marginalized populations in the United States: A research agenda. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 119 . [ PMC free article ] [ PubMed ]
  • Kramer A., Kramer K.Z. The potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on occupational status, work from home, and occupational mobility. Journal of Vocational Behavior. 2020; 119 [ PMC free article ] [ PubMed ] [ Google Scholar ]
  • Leitheiser, E., Hossain, S.N., Shuvro, S., Tasnim, G., Moon, J., Knudsen, J.S., & Rahman, S. (2020). Early impacts of coronavirus on Bangladesh apparel supply chains. https://www.cbs.dk/files/cbs.dk/risc_report_-_impacts_of_coronavirus_on_bangladesh_rmg_1.pdf .
  • Restubog S.L.D., Ocampo A.C., Wang L. Taking control amidst the Chaos: Emotion regulation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Vocational Behavior. 2020; 119 [ PMC free article ] [ PubMed ] [ Google Scholar ]
  • Rudolph C.W., Zacher H. COVID-19 and careers: On the futility of generational explanations. Journal of Vocational Behavior. 2020; 119 [ PMC free article ] [ PubMed ] [ Google Scholar ]
  • Spurk D., Straub C. Flexible employment relationships and careers in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Vocational Behavior. 2020; 119 [ PMC free article ] [ PubMed ] [ Google Scholar ]
  • World Health Organization (2020). World Health Organization Coronavirus Update. Retrieved May 5, 2020 from: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 .

Students’ Essays on Infectious Disease Prevention, COVID-19 Published Nationwide

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As part of the BIO 173: Global Change and Infectious Disease course, Professor Fred Cohan assigns students to write an essay persuading others to prevent future and mitigate present infectious diseases. If students submit their essay to a news outlet—and it’s published—Cohan awards them with extra credit.

As a result of this assignment, more than 25 students have had their work published in newspapers across the United States. Many of these essays cite and applaud the University’s Keep Wes Safe campaign and its COVID-19 testing protocols.

Cohan, professor of biology and Huffington Foundation Professor in the College of the Environment (COE), began teaching the Global Change and Infectious Disease course in 2009, when the COE was established. “I wanted very much to contribute a course to what I saw as a real game-changer in Wesleyan’s interest in the environment. The course is about all the ways that human demands on the environment have brought us infectious diseases, over past millennia and in the present, and why our environmental disturbances will continue to bring us infections into the future.”

Over the years, Cohan learned that he can sustainably teach about 170 students every year without running out of interested students. This fall, he had 207. Although he didn’t change the overall structure of his course to accommodate COVID-19 topics, he did add material on the current pandemic to various sections of the course.

“I wouldn’t say that the population of the class increased tremendously as a result of COVID-19, but I think the enthusiasm of the students for the material has increased substantially,” he said.

To accommodate online learning, Cohan shaved off 15 minutes from his normal 80-minute lectures to allow for discussion sections, led by Cohan and teaching assistants. “While the lectures mostly dealt with biology, the discussions focused on how changes in behavior and policy can solve the infectious disease problems brought by human disturbance of the environment,” he said.

Based on student responses to an introspective exam question, Cohan learned that many students enjoyed a new hope that we could each contribute to fighting infectious disease. “They discovered that the solution to infectious disease is not entirely a waiting game for the right technologies to come along,” he said. “Many enjoyed learning about fighting infectious disease from a moral and social perspective. And especially, the students enjoyed learning about the ‘socialism of the microbe,’ how preventing and curing others’ infections will prevent others’ infections from becoming our own. The students enjoyed seeing how this idea can drive both domestic and international health policies.”

A sampling of the published student essays are below:

Alexander Giummo ’22 and Mike Dunderdale’s ’23  op-ed titled “ A National Testing Proposal: Let’s Fight Back Against COVID-19 ” was published in the Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Conn.

They wrote: “With an expansive and increased testing plan for U.S. citizens, those who are COVID-positive could limit the number of contacts they have, and this would also help to enable more effective contact tracing. Testing could also allow for the return of some ‘normal’ events, such as small social gatherings, sports, and in-person class and work schedules.

“We propose a national testing strategy in line with the one that has kept Wesleyan students safe this year. The plan would require a strong push by the federal government to fund the initiative, but it is vital to successful containment of the virus.

“Twice a week, all people living in the U.S. should report to a local testing site staffed with professionals where the anterior nasal swab Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, used by Wesleyan and supported by the Broad Institute, would be implemented.”

Kalyani Mohan ’22 and Kalli Jackson ’22 penned an essay titled “ Where Public Health Meets Politics: COVID-19 in the United States ,” which was published in Wesleyan’s Arcadia Political Review .

They wrote: “While the U.S. would certainly benefit from a strengthened pandemic response team and structural changes to public health systems, that alone isn’t enough, as American society is immensely stratified, socially and culturally. The politicization of the COVID-19 pandemic shows that individualism, libertarianism and capitalism are deeply ingrained in American culture, to the extent that Americans often blind to the fact community welfare can be equivalent to personal welfare. Pandemics are multifaceted, and preventing them requires not just a cultural shift but an emotional one amongst the American people, one guided by empathy—towards other people, different communities and the planet. Politics should be a tool, not a weapon against its people.”

Sydnee Goyer ’21 and Marcel Thompson’s ’22  essay “ This Flu Season Will Be Decisive in the Fight Against COVID-19 ” also was published in Arcadia Political Review .

“With winter approaching all around the Northern Hemisphere, people are preparing for what has already been named a “twindemic,” meaning the joint threat of the coronavirus and the seasonal flu,” they wrote. “While it is known that seasonal vaccinations reduce the risk of getting the flu by up to 60% and also reduce the severity of the illness after the contamination, additional research has been conducted in order to know whether or not flu shots could reduce the risk of people getting COVID-19. In addition to the flu shot, it is essential that people remain vigilant in maintaining proper social distancing, washing your hands thoroughly, and continuing to wear masks in public spaces.”

An op-ed titled “ The Pandemic Has Shown Us How Workplace Culture Needs to Change ,” written by Adam Hickey ’22 and George Fuss ’21, was published in Park City, Utah’s The Park Record .

They wrote: “One review of academic surveys (most of which were conducted in the United States) conducted in 2019 found that between 35% and 97% of respondents in those surveys reported having attended work while they were ill, often because of workplace culture or policy which generated pressure to do so. Choosing to ignore sickness and return to the workplace while one is ill puts colleagues at risk, regardless of the perceived severity of your own illness; COVID-19 is an overbearing reminder that a disease that may cause mild, even cold-like symptoms for some can still carry fatal consequences for others.

“A mandatory paid sick leave policy for every worker, ideally across the globe, would allow essential workers to return to work when necessary while still providing enough wiggle room for economically impoverished employees to take time off without going broke if they believe they’ve contracted an illness so as not to infect the rest of their workplace and the public at large.”

Women's cross country team members and classmates Jane Hollander '23 and Sara Greene '23

Women’s cross country team members and classmates Jane Hollander ’23 and Sara Greene ’23 wrote a sports-themed essay titled “ This Season, High School Winter Sports Aren’t Worth the Risk ,” which was published in Tap into Scotch Plains/Fanwood , based in Scotch Plains, N.J. Their essay focused on the risks high school sports pose on student-athletes, their families, and the greater community.

“We don’t propose cutting off sports entirely— rather, we need to be realistic about the levels at which athletes should be participating. There are ways to make practices safer,” they wrote. “At [Wesleyan], we began the season in ‘cohorts,’ so the amount of people exposed to one another would be smaller. For non-contact sports, social distancing can be easily implemented, and for others, teams can focus on drills, strength and conditioning workouts, and skill-building exercises. Racing sports such as swim and track can compete virtually, comparing times with other schools, and team sports can focus their competition on intra-team scrimmages. These changes can allow for the continuation of a sense of normalcy and team camaraderie without the exposure to students from different geographic areas in confined, indoor spaces.”

Brook Guiffre ’23 and Maddie Clarke’s ’22  op-ed titled “ On the Pandemic ” was published in Hometown Weekly,  based in Medfield, Mass.

“The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was recorded on January 20th, 2020. For the next month and a half, the U.S. continued operating normally, while many other countries began their lockdown,” they wrote. “One month later, on February 29th, 2020, the federal government approved a national testing program, but it was too little too late. The U.S. was already in pandemic mode, and completely unprepared. Frontline workers lacked access to N-95 masks, infected patients struggled to get tested, and national leaders informed the public that COVID-19 was nothing more than the common flu. Ultimately, this unpreparedness led to thousands of avoidable deaths and long-term changes to daily life. With the risk of novel infectious diseases emerging in the future being high, it is imperative that the U.S. learn from its failure and better prepare for future pandemics now. By strengthening our public health response and re-establishing government organizations specialized in disease control, we have the ability to prevent more years spent masked and six feet apart.”

In addition, their other essay, “ On Mass Extinction ,” was also published by Hometown Weekly .

“The sixth mass extinction—which scientists have coined as the Holocene Extinction—is upon us. According to the United Nations, around one million plant and animal species are currently in danger of extinction, and many more within the next decade. While other extinctions have occurred in Earth’s history, none have occurred at such a rapid rate,” they wrote. “For the sake of both biodiversity and infectious diseases, it is in our best interest to stop pushing this Holocene Extinction further.”

An essay titled “ Learning from Our Mistakes: How to Protect Ourselves and Our Communities from Diseases ,” written by Nicole Veru ’21 and Zoe Darmon ’21, was published in My Hometown Bronxville, based in Bronxville, N.Y.

“We can protect ourselves and others from future infectious diseases by ensuring that we are vaccinated,” they wrote. “Vaccines have high levels of success if enough people get them. Due to vaccines, society is no longer ravaged by childhood diseases such as mumps, rubella, measles, and smallpox. We have been able to eradicate diseases through vaccines; smallpox, one of the world’s most consequential diseases, was eradicated from the world in the 1970s.

“In 2000, the U.S. was nearly free of measles, yet, due to hesitations by anti-vaxxers, there continues to be cases. From 2000–2015 there were over 18 measles outbreaks in the U.S. This is because unless a disease is completely eradicated, there will be a new generation susceptible.

“Although vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing infection, if we continue to get vaccinated, we protect ourselves and those around us. If enough people are vaccinated, societies can develop herd immunity. The amount of people vaccinated to obtain herd immunity depends on the disease, but if this fraction is obtained, the spread of disease is contained. Through herd immunity, we protect those who may not be able to get vaccinated, such as people who are immunocompromised and the tiny portion of people for whom the vaccine is not effective.”

Dhruvi Rana ’22 and Bryce Gillis ’22 co-authored an op-ed titled “ We Must Educate Those Who Remain Skeptical of the Dangers of COVID-19 ,” which was published in Rhode Island Central .

“As Rhode Island enters the winter season, temperatures are beginning to drop and many studies have demonstrated that colder weather and lower humidity are correlated with higher transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” they wrote. “By simply talking or breathing, we release respiratory droplets and aerosols (tiny fluid particles which could carry the coronavirus pathogen), which can remain in the air for minutes to hours.

“In order to establish herd immunity in the US, we must educate those who remain skeptical of the dangers of COVID-19.  Whether community-driven or state-funded, educational campaigns are needed to ensure that everyone fully comprehends how severe COVID-19 is and the significance of airborne transmission. While we await a vaccine, it is necessary now more than ever that we social distance, avoid crowds, and wear masks, given that colder temperatures will likely yield increased transmission of the virus.”

Danielle Rinaldi ’21 and Verónica Matos Socorro ’21 published their op-ed titled “ Community Forum: How Mask-Wearing Demands a Cultural Reset ” in the Ewing Observer , based in Lawrence, N.J.

“In their own attempt to change personal behavior during the pandemic, Wesleyan University has mandated mask-wearing in almost every facet of campus life,” they wrote. “As members of our community, we must recognize that mask-wearing is something we are all responsible and accountable for, not only because it is a form of protection for us, but just as important for others as well. However, it seems as though both Covid fatigue and complacency are dominating the mindsets of Americans, leading to even more unwillingness to mask up. Ultimately, it is inevitable that this pandemic will not be the last in our lifespan due to global warming creating irreversible losses in biodiversity. As a result, it is imperative that we adopt the norm of mask-wearing now and undergo a culture shift of the abandonment of an individualistic mindset, and instead, create a society that prioritizes taking care of others for the benefit of all.”

Dollinger

Shayna Dollinger ’22 and Hayley Lipson ’21  wrote an essay titled “ My Pandemic Year in College Has Brought Pride and Purpose. ” Dollinger submitted the piece, rewritten in first person, to Jewish News of Northern California . Read more about Dollinger’s publication in this News @ Wesleyan article .

“I lay in the dead grass, a 6-by-6-foot square all to myself. I cheer for my best friend, who is on the stage constructed at the bottom of Foss hill, dancing with her Bollywood dance group. Masks cover their ordinarily smiling faces as their bodies move in sync. Looking around at friends and classmates, each in their own 6-by-6 world, I feel an overwhelming sense of normalcy.

“One of the ways in which Wesleyan has prevented outbreaks on campus is by holding safe, socially distanced events that students want to attend. By giving us places to be and things to do on the weekends, we are discouraged from breaking rules and causing outbreaks at ‘super-spreader’ events.”

An op-ed written by Luna Mac-Williams ’22 and Daëlle Coriolan ’24 titled “ Collectivist Practices to Combat COVID-19 ” was published in the Wesleyan Argus .

“We are embroiled in a global pandemic that disproportionately affects poor communities of color, and in the midst of a higher cultural consciousness of systemic inequities,” they wrote. “A cultural shift to center collectivist thought and action not only would prove helpful in disease prevention, but also belongs in conversation with the Black Lives Matter movement. Collectivist models of thinking effectively target the needs of vulnerable populations including the sick, the disenfranchised, the systematically marginalized. Collectivist systems provide care, decentering the capitalist, individualist system, and focusing on how communities can work to be self-sufficient and uplift our own neighbors.”

An essay written by Maria Noto ’21 , titled “ U.S. Individualism Has Deadly Consequences ,” is published in the Oneonta Daily Star , based in Oneonta, N.Y.

She wrote, “When analyzing the cultures of certain East Asian countries, several differences stand out. For instance, when people are sick and during the cold and flu season, many East Asian cultures, including South Korea, use mask-wearing. What is considered a threat to freedom by some Americans is a preventive action and community obligation in this example. This, along with many other cultural differences, is insightful in understanding their ability to contain the virus.

“These differences are deeply seeded in the values of a culture. However, there is hope for the U.S. and other individualistic cultures in recognizing and adopting these community-centered approaches. Our mindset needs to be revolutionized with the help of federal and local assistance: mandating masks, passing another stimulus package, contact tracing, etc… However, these measures will be unsuccessful unless everyone participates for the good of a community.”

Madison Szabo '23, Caitlyn Ferrante '23

A published op-ed by Madison Szabo ’23 , Caitlyn Ferrante ’23 ran in the Two Rivers Times . The piece is titled “ Anxiety and Aspiration: Analyzing the Politicization of the Pandemic .”

John Lee ’21 and Taylor Goodman-Leong ’21 have published their op-ed titled “ Reassessing the media’s approach to COVID-19 ” in Weekly Monday Cafe 24 (Page 2).

An essay by Eleanor Raab ’21 and Elizabeth Nefferdorf ’22 titled “ Preventing the Next Epidemic ” was published in The Almanac .

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Essay on COVID-19 Pandemic

As a result of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, daily life has been negatively affected, impacting the worldwide economy. Thousands of individuals have been sickened or died as a result of the outbreak of this disease. When you have the flu or a viral infection, the most common symptoms include fever, cold, coughing up bone fragments, and difficulty breathing, which may progress to pneumonia. It’s important to take major steps like keeping a strict cleaning routine, keeping social distance, and wearing masks, among other things. This virus’s geographic spread is accelerating (Daniel Pg 93). Governments restricted public meetings during the start of the pandemic to prevent the disease from spreading and breaking the exponential distribution curve. In order to avoid the damage caused by this extremely contagious disease, several countries quarantined their citizens. However, this scenario had drastically altered with the discovery of the vaccinations. The research aims to investigate the effect of the Covid-19 epidemic and its impact on the population’s well-being.

There is growing interest in the relationship between social determinants of health and health outcomes. Still, many health care providers and academics have been hesitant to recognize racism as a contributing factor to racial health disparities. Only a few research have examined the health effects of institutional racism, with the majority focusing on interpersonal racial and ethnic prejudice Ciotti et al., Pg 370. The latter comprises historically and culturally connected institutions that are interconnected. Prejudice is being practiced in a variety of contexts as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. In some ways, the outbreak has exposed pre-existing bias and inequity.

Thousands of businesses are in danger of failure. Around 2.3 billion of the world’s 3.3 billion employees are out of work. These workers are especially susceptible since they lack access to social security and adequate health care, and they’ve also given up ownership of productive assets, which makes them highly vulnerable. Many individuals lose their employment as a result of lockdowns, leaving them unable to support their families. People strapped for cash are often forced to reduce their caloric intake while also eating less nutritiously (Fraser et al, Pg 3). The epidemic has had an impact on the whole food chain, revealing vulnerabilities that were previously hidden. Border closures, trade restrictions, and confinement measures have limited farmer access to markets, while agricultural workers have not gathered crops. As a result, the local and global food supply chain has been disrupted, and people now have less access to healthy foods. As a consequence of the epidemic, many individuals have lost their employment, and millions more are now in danger. When breadwinners lose their jobs, become sick, or die, the food and nutrition of millions of people are endangered. Particularly severely hit are the world’s poorest small farmers and indigenous peoples.

Infectious illness outbreaks and epidemics have become worldwide threats due to globalization, urbanization, and environmental change. In developed countries like Europe and North America, surveillance and health systems monitor and manage the spread of infectious illnesses in real-time. Both low- and high-income countries need to improve their public health capacities (Omer et al., Pg 1767). These improvements should be financed using a mix of national and foreign donor money. In order to speed up research and reaction for new illnesses with pandemic potential, a global collaborative effort including governments and commercial companies has been proposed. When working on a vaccine-like COVID-19, cooperation is critical.

The epidemic has had an impact on the whole food chain, revealing vulnerabilities that were previously hidden. Border closures, trade restrictions, and confinement measures have limited farmer access to markets, while agricultural workers have been unable to gather crops. As a result, the local and global food supply chain has been disrupted, and people now have less access to healthy foods (Daniel et al.,Pg 95) . As a consequence of the epidemic, many individuals have lost their employment, and millions more are now in danger. When breadwinners lose their jobs, the food and nutrition of millions of people are endangered. Particularly severely hit are the world’s poorest small farmers and indigenous peoples.

While helping to feed the world’s population, millions of paid and unpaid agricultural laborers suffer from high levels of poverty, hunger, and bad health, as well as a lack of safety and labor safeguards, as well as other kinds of abuse at work. Poor people, who have no recourse to social assistance, must work longer and harder, sometimes in hazardous occupations, endangering their families in the process (Daniel Pg 96). When faced with a lack of income, people may turn to hazardous financial activities, including asset liquidation, predatory lending, or child labor, to make ends meet. Because of the dangers they encounter while traveling, working, and living abroad; migrant agricultural laborers are especially vulnerable. They also have a difficult time taking advantage of government assistance programs.

The pandemic also has a significant impact on education. Although many educational institutions across the globe have already made the switch to online learning, the extent to which technology is utilized to improve the quality of distance or online learning varies. This level is dependent on several variables, including the different parties engaged in the execution of this learning format and the incorporation of technology into educational institutions before the time of school closure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. For many years, researchers from all around the globe have worked to determine what variables contribute to effective technology integration in the classroom Ciotti et al., Pg 371. The amount of technology usage and the quality of learning when moving from a classroom to a distant or online format are presumed to be influenced by the same set of variables. Findings from previous research, which sought to determine what affects educational systems ability to integrate technology into teaching, suggest understanding how teachers, students, and technology interact positively in order to achieve positive results in the integration of teaching technology (Honey et al., 2000). Teachers’ views on teaching may affect the chances of successfully incorporating technology into the classroom and making it a part of the learning process.

In conclusion, indeed, Covid 19 pandemic have affected the well being of the people in a significant manner. The economy operation across the globe have been destabilized as most of the people have been rendered jobless while the job operation has been stopped. As most of the people have been rendered jobless the living conditions of the people have also been significantly affected. Besides, the education sector has also been affected as most of the learning institutions prefer the use of online learning which is not effective as compared to the traditional method. With the invention of the vaccines, most of the developed countries have been noted to stabilize slowly, while the developing countries have not been able to vaccinate most of its citizens. However, despite the challenge caused by the pandemic, organizations have been able to adapt the new mode of online trading to be promoted.

Ciotti, Marco, et al. “The COVID-19 pandemic.”  Critical reviews in clinical laboratory sciences  57.6 (2020): 365-388.

Daniel, John. “Education and the COVID-19 pandemic.”  Prospects  49.1 (2020): 91-96.

Fraser, Nicholas, et al. “Preprinting the COVID-19 pandemic.”  BioRxiv  (2021): 2020-05.

Omer, Saad B., Preeti Malani, and Carlos Del Rio. “The COVID-19 pandemic in the US: a clinical update.”  Jama  323.18 (2020): 1767-1768.

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Essay On Covid-19: 100, 200 and 300 Words

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Essay on Covid-19

COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, is a global pandemic that has affected people all around the world. It first emerged in a lab in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 and quickly spread to countries around the world. This virus was reportedly caused by SARS-CoV-2. Since then, it has spread rapidly to many countries, causing widespread illness and impacting our lives in numerous ways. This blog talks about the details of this virus and also drafts an essay on COVID-19 in 100, 200 and 300 words for students and professionals. 

This Blog Includes:

Essay on covid-19 in english 100 words, essay on covid-19 in 200 words, essay on covid-19 in 300 words.

Also Read – Essay on Music

COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, is a global pandemic. It started in late 2019 and has affected people all around the world. The virus spreads very quickly through someone’s sneeze and respiratory issues.

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our lives, with lockdowns, travel restrictions, and changes in daily routines. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, we should wear masks, practice social distancing, and wash our hands frequently. 

People should follow social distancing and other safety guidelines and also learn the tricks to be safe stay healthy and work the whole challenging time. 

COVID-19 also known as coronavirus, became a global health crisis in early 2020 and impacted mankind around the world. This virus is said to have originated in Wuhan, China in late 2019. It belongs to the coronavirus family and causes flu-like symptoms. It impacted the healthcare systems, economies and the daily lives of people all over the world. 

The most crucial aspect of COVID-19 is its highly spreadable nature. It is a communicable disease that spreads through various means such as coughs from infected persons, sneezes and communication. Due to its easy transmission leading to its outbreaks, there were many measures taken by the government from all over the world such as Lockdowns, Social Distancing, and wearing masks. 

There are many changes throughout the economic systems, and also in daily routines. Other measures such as schools opting for Online schooling, Remote work options available and restrictions on travel throughout the country and internationally. Subsequently, to cure and top its outbreak, the government started its vaccine campaigns, and other preventive measures. 

In conclusion, COVID-19 tested the patience and resilience of the mankind. This pandemic has taught people the importance of patience, effort and humbleness. 

Also Read – Essay on My Best Friend

COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, is a serious and contagious disease that has affected people worldwide. It was first discovered in late 2019 in Cina and then got spread in the whole world. It had a major impact on people’s life, their school, work and daily lives. 

COVID-19 is primarily transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets produced and through sneezes, and coughs of an infected person. It can spread to thousands of people because of its highly contagious nature. To cure the widespread of this virus, there are thousands of steps taken by the people and the government. 

Wearing masks is one of the essential precautions to prevent the virus from spreading. Social distancing is another vital practice, which involves maintaining a safe distance from others to minimize close contact.

Very frequent handwashing is also very important to stop the spread of this virus. Proper hand hygiene can help remove any potential virus particles from our hands, reducing the risk of infection. 

In conclusion, the Coronavirus has changed people’s perspective on living. It has also changed people’s way of interacting and how to live. To deal with this virus, it is very important to follow the important guidelines such as masks, social distancing and techniques to wash your hands. Getting vaccinated is also very important to go back to normal life and cure this virus completely. As we continue to battle this pandemic, it is crucial for everyone to do their part to protect themselves and their communities. 

to write an essay on COVID-19, understand your word limit and make sure to cover all the stages and symptoms of this disease. You need to highlight all the challenges and impacts of COVID-19. Do not forget to conclude your essay with positive precautionary measures.

Writing an essay on COVID-19 in 200 words requires you to cover all the challenges, impacts and precautions of this disease. You don’t need to describe all of these factors in brief, but make sure to add as many options as your word limit allows.

The full form for COVID-19 is Corona Virus Disease of 2019.

Hence, we hope that this blog has assisted you in comprehending what an essay on COVID-19 in English 200 words must include. For more such essays, check our category essay writing .

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Home > History Community Special Collections > Remembering COVID-19 Community Archive > Community Reflections > 21

Remembering COVID-19 Community Archive

Community Reflections

My life experience during the covid-19 pandemic.

Melissa Blanco Follow

Document Type

Class Assignment

Publication Date

Affiliation with sacred heart university.

Undergraduate, Class of 2024

My content explains what my life was like during the last seven months of the Covid-19 pandemic and how it affected my life both positively and negatively. It also explains what it was like when I graduated from High School and how I want the future generations to remember the Class of 2020.

Class assignment, Western Civilization (Dr. Marino).

Recommended Citation

Blanco, Melissa, "My Life Experience During the Covid-19 Pandemic" (2020). Community Reflections . 21. https://digitalcommons.sacredheart.edu/covid19-reflections/21

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children with masks showing thumbs up

COVID-19 photo essay: We’re all in this together

About the author, department of global communications.

The United Nations Department of Global Communications (DGC) promotes global awareness and understanding of the work of the United Nations.

23 June 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic has  demonstrated the interconnected nature of our world – and that no one is safe until everyone is safe.  Only by acting in solidarity can communities save lives and overcome the devastating socio-economic impacts of the virus.  In partnership with the United Nations, people around the world are showing acts of humanity, inspiring hope for a better future. 

Everyone can do something    

Rauf Salem, a volunteer, instructs children on the right way to wash their hands

Rauf Salem, a volunteer, instructs children on the right way to wash their hands, in Sana'a, Yemen.  Simple measures, such as maintaining physical distance, washing hands frequently and wearing a mask are imperative if the fight against COVID-19 is to be won.  Photo: UNICEF/UNI341697

Creating hope

man with guitar in front of colorful poster

Venezuelan refugee Juan Batista Ramos, 69, plays guitar in front of a mural he painted at the Tancredo Neves temporary shelter in Boa Vista, Brazil to help lift COVID-19 quarantine blues.  “Now, everywhere you look you will see a landscape to remind us that there is beauty in the world,” he says.  Ramos is among the many artists around the world using the power of culture to inspire hope and solidarity during the pandemic.  Photo: UNHCR/Allana Ferreira

Inclusive solutions

woman models a transparent face mask designed to help the hard of hearing

Wendy Schellemans, an education assistant at the Royal Woluwe Institute in Brussels, models a transparent face mask designed to help the hard of hearing.  The United Nations and partners are working to ensure that responses to COVID-19 leave no one behind.  Photo courtesy of Royal Woluwe Institute

Humanity at its best

woman in protective gear sews face masks

Maryna, a community worker at the Arts Centre for Children and Youth in Chasiv Yar village, Ukraine, makes face masks on a sewing machine donated by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and civil society partner, Proliska.  She is among the many people around the world who are voluntarily addressing the shortage of masks on the market. Photo: UNHCR/Artem Hetman

Keep future leaders learning

A mother helps her daughter Ange, 8, take classes on television at home

A mother helps her daughter Ange, 8, take classes on television at home in Man, Côte d'Ivoire.  Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, caregivers and educators have responded in stride and have been instrumental in finding ways to keep children learning.  In Côte d'Ivoire, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) partnered with the Ministry of Education on a ‘school at home’ initiative, which includes taping lessons to be aired on national TV and radio.  Ange says: “I like to study at home.  My mum is a teacher and helps me a lot.  Of course, I miss my friends, but I can sleep a bit longer in the morning.  Later I want to become a lawyer or judge."  Photo: UNICEF/UNI320749

Global solidarity

People in Nigeria’s Lagos State simulate sneezing into their elbows

People in Nigeria’s Lagos State simulate sneezing into their elbows during a coronavirus prevention campaign.  Many African countries do not have strong health care systems.  “Global solidarity with Africa is an imperative – now and for recovering better,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.  “Ending the pandemic in Africa is essential for ending it across the world.” Photo: UNICEF Nigeria/2020/Ojo

A new way of working

Henri Abued Manzano, a tour guide at the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) in Vienna, speaks from his apartment.

Henri Abued Manzano, a tour guide at the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) in Vienna, speaks from his apartment.  COVID-19 upended the way people work, but they can be creative while in quarantine.  “We quickly decided that if visitors can’t come to us, we will have to come to them,” says Johanna Kleinert, Chief of the UNIS Visitors Service in Vienna.  Photo courtesy of Kevin Kühn

Life goes on

baby in bed with parents

Hundreds of millions of babies are expected to be born during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Fionn, son of Chloe O'Doherty and her husband Patrick, is among them.  The couple says: “It's all over.  We did it.  Brought life into the world at a time when everything is so uncertain.  The relief and love are palpable.  Nothing else matters.”  Photo: UNICEF/UNI321984/Bopape

Putting meals on the table

mother with baby

Sudanese refugee Halima, in Tripoli, Libya, says food assistance is making her life better.  COVID-19 is exacerbating the existing hunger crisis.  Globally, 6 million more people could be pushed into extreme poverty unless the international community acts now.  United Nations aid agencies are appealing for more funding to reach vulnerable populations.  Photo: UNHCR

Supporting the frontlines

woman handing down box from airplane to WFP employee

The United Nations Air Service, run by the World Food Programme (WFP), distributes protective gear donated by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Group, in Somalia. The United Nations is using its supply chain capacity to rapidly move badly needed personal protective equipment, such as medical masks, gloves, gowns and face-shields to the frontline of the battle against COVID-19. Photo: WFP/Jama Hassan  

David is speaking with colleagues

S7-Episode 2: Bringing Health to the World

“You see, we're not doing this work to make ourselves feel better. That sort of conventional notion of what a do-gooder is. We're doing this work because we are totally convinced that it's not necessary in today's wealthy world for so many people to be experiencing discomfort, for so many people to be experiencing hardship, for so many people to have their lives and their livelihoods imperiled.”

Dr. David Nabarro has dedicated his life to global health. After a long career that’s taken him from the horrors of war torn Iraq, to the devastating aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami, he is still spurred to action by the tremendous inequalities in global access to medical care.

“The thing that keeps me awake most at night is the rampant inequities in our world…We see an awful lot of needless suffering.”

:: David Nabarro interviewed by Melissa Fleming

Ballet Manguinhos resumes performing after a COVID-19 hiatus with “Woman: Power and Resistance”. Photo courtesy Ana Silva/Ballet Manguinhos

Brazilian ballet pirouettes during pandemic

Ballet Manguinhos, named for its favela in Rio de Janeiro, returns to the stage after a long absence during the COVID-19 pandemic. It counts 250 children and teenagers from the favela as its performers. The ballet group provides social support in a community where poverty, hunger and teen pregnancy are constant issues.

Nazira Inoyatova is a radio host and the creative/programme director at Avtoradio FM 102.0 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Photo courtesy Azamat Abbasov

Radio journalist gives the facts on COVID-19 in Uzbekistan

The pandemic has put many people to the test, and journalists are no exception. Coronavirus has waged war not only against people's lives and well-being but has also spawned countless hoaxes and scientific falsehoods.

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Ross Douthat

What the news and the pews have in common.

Illustration of a person looking at a personal digital device while kneeling at a pew.

By Ross Douthat

Opinion Columnist

In the past few weeks, both The Atlantic and The New Yorker used the phrase “extinction-level event” to headline stories about the fate of the media business. Both pieces, one by Paul Farhi and the other by Clare Malone , emphasized the dire implications of watching layoffs and closings sweep over the news industry in what is otherwise a high-employment economy. Both implied that we’re nearing a point where it makes sense to talk about, as Malone wrote, “the end of the mass-media era.”

And what lies beyond that endpoint? Farhi talks hopefully and implausibly about tax incentives for news gathering. Malone focuses on precarity and uncertainty, the industry’s inevitable reliance on “rich idiots” and the hope that idealism and curiosity will keep sending people into journalism. Meanwhile, Politico’s Jack Shafer, likewise playing around with mass-extinction imagery, emphasizes smallness : “Like the animals that persisted after the great comet struck the earth, most publications will be tiny and eke out an existence in the shadows.”

Bleak stuff, this. But I’m not sure pure bleakness quite captures the full transformation. And I think there might be an interesting similarity between the media’s current trajectory and the unfolding fate of American religion. Like the legacy media, institutional Christianity in America is facing serious disruption, with formerly powerful religious bodies losing members and influence at an accelerating pace. And as with journalism’s challenges, the emptying of American churches has prompted a lot of anxiety about the implications of the trend and what to do about it — along with a lot of indifference, shading into schadenfreude, among those who think that either the mainstream press or the country’s major churches deserved a reckoning.

Alongside simple religious decline, however, there’s also religious transformation, as more and more people who do practice a faith are moving out of the traditional denominational structure of American Protestantism — making “nondenominational” Christianity grow rapidly even as the Southern Baptists and the United Methodists follow the Episcopalians and Congregationalists into decline.

And if there’s at least an interesting resemblance (if not a precise parallel) between the fate of the Protestant mainline, long a taken-for-granted pillar of the American social order, and the tribulations within legacy media, there’s also some resemblance between the growth of nondenominational religion and the flourishing of personalized, individually branded, deinstitutionalized media.

Take two representative media success stories of the internet age: Joe Rogan, the populist enthusiast who dominates the podcasting world, and Heather Cox Richardson , the liberal historian who dominates the Substack rankings. They aren’t often considered together because their fan bases couldn’t be more different, but they are both examples of what you might call the “nondenominational” trend in the commentariat: They’re like megachurch pastors who run their own start-up churches without any connection to the traditional world of Presbyterianism or Lutheranism, seminaries and general conventions and the like. And they aren’t doing a small business: Rogan is the bigger figure by far (he recently re-signed with Spotify for a reported quarter-billion dollars), but Richardson’s daily newsletter has well over a million subscribers.

Most independent media figures don’t have that reach, of course, just as most nondenominational churches aren’t especially big outside their local communities. But just as nondenominational Christianity as a whole is getting bigger than many established churches, the overall audience for “nondenominational” media content adds up to something much larger than just a few mammals skittering in the postapocalyptic landscape. Taken together, the world of newsletters and podcasts and YouTube content creation has a potentially sweeping, society-spanning reach.

But Shafer’s line about this world being “in the shadows” still seems apt, since one of the key features of the new media landscape is what you might call its illegibility — meaning the difficulty of ever knowing, via some reasonably quick survey, what kind of narratives most people are absorbing, who is really influencing public opinion, what forces and figures are shaping what Americans believe.

Big institutions are good for legibility. In my youth, you could still read a few newspapers, subscribe to a few key magazines and political journals, watch a few news programs and basically have your finger on the pulse of what both elite America and mass America thought was happening at any given moment. In a similar way, as a writer who often covers religion, I’ve always found it much easier to limn trends and important developments within my own hierarchical and centralized Catholic Church — and when I’m writing about Protestantism, it’s easier to cover debates within the Southern Baptist Convention or the Episcopal Church than to make definitive statements about the entirety of what we call Evangelicalism or Pentecostalism.

So the emerging nondenominational landscape, to say nothing of post-Christian forms of spirituality — the complex of paganism and pantheism and spiritual-but-not-religious explorations that I also try to write about — is making any coherent sense of what’s happening in American religion ever more elusive. And the same is true of a journalistic landscape where a historian on Substack has a bigger audience than many voices in traditional media. The media as a feature of American culture doesn’t have to face an extinction-level event to become much harder to analyze, generalize about and reasonably critique.

What I’m describing with religious phrases is similar to the distinction drawn in a recent essay by the critic Ted Gioia (another Substacker), who describes how the old America of “macroculture” doesn’t understand the new America of “microculture” — meaning, mostly, that big lumbering enterprises like movie studios and media companies and Ivy League universities are working uphill to adapt to a world where a YouTube star they didn’t know about till yesterday can matter more than Oscar votes, a well-reviewed book or a Harvard imprimatur. At one point, Gioia paraphrases another critic, Ryan Broderick, arguing that there’s increasingly a “real internet” and the “media’s idea of the internet,” implying that traditional media isn’t working hard enough to understand or learn from the microcultures that are quickly taking over.

But what Gioia and Broderick frame as a critique of old-media myopia seems more like an inherent feature of the emerging landscape, an inherent problem for cultural critics and corporate executives alike. From whatever vantage point, it’s going to be harder to look out across a very online, very post-institutional society and grasp either the whole of things or pick out the most important features of the landscape.

You can find some purchase by focusing on the remaining places of consolidation, which often look even bigger by comparison with their microcultural surroundings: Just ask Taylor Swift or the N.F.L.

But when it comes to understanding the nondenominational tangle or the realms of bespoke spirituality, or keeping track of all the YouTube stars and TikTok trends, I don’t think it’s just my middle-aged cluelessness that makes it hard to generalize, or know which generalizations to trust.

The internet makes everything much more visible but considerably less legible. We see our own culture through our screens, darkly, and the things that matter most may be somewhere back in the shadows, just beyond our sight.

Christopher Caldwell reconsiders Milton Friedman.

Nate Hochman autopsies the DeSantis campaign.

Paul Griffiths rejects human flourishing.

Keith Gessen keeps his marriage vows.

Kat Rosenfield defends difficult men.

The daffy genius of Dakota Johnson.

When Hobbits make you cry.

This Week in Decadence

— Adam Kotsko, “ The Loss of Things I Took for Granted ,” Slate (Feb. 11)

I have been teaching in small liberal arts colleges for over 15 years now, and in the past five years, it’s as though someone flipped a switch. For most of my career, I assigned around 30 pages of reading per class meeting as a base line expectation — sometimes scaling up for purely expository readings or pulling back for more difficult texts. (No human being can read 30 pages of Hegel in one sitting, for example.) Now students are intimidated by anything over 10 pages and seem to walk away from readings of as little as 20 pages with no real understanding. Even smart and motivated students struggle to do more with written texts than extract decontextualized takeaways. Considerable class time is taken up simply establishing what happened in a story or the basic steps of an argument — skills I used to be able to take for granted.

Ross Douthat has been an Opinion columnist for The Times since 2009. He is the author, most recently, of “The Deep Places: A Memoir of Illness and Discovery.” @ DouthatNYT • Facebook

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Professional Development & Training

What you will learn, tools & materials.

sample of expository essay on covid 19

Expository Writing &amp; Embedded Grammar Instruction

This teacher professional development course teaches you the entire writing process as you support your 4th-8th grade students in expository writing. You will explore the fundamentals of the writing process before diving into how you will teach students to plan for and draft their essays. Later, you will learn about creating mini-lessons, scheduling student conferences, and teaching revising and editing strategies to your students. Lastly, you will learn about how to assess student progress in writing. You will leave the course with an expository writing lesson plan ready to implement and multiple resources that support your planning and your student’s writing. 

  • The Difference Between Expository and Narrative Writing
  • Five Different Expository Writing Structures
  • An Overview of the Writing Process
  • How to introduce and teach each of the five expository writing structures
  • How to analyze a writing prompt and choose an appropriate structure
  • Several general tips to encourage your students to begin the drafting stage
  • A Basic Lesson Structure You Can Use For Any Writing Mini-Lesson
  • Five Sample Lessons You Can Incorporate Immediately Into Your Writing Instruction
  • How To Manage Your Time So You Can Conference Privately with Each Student
  • The Four Key Parts of a Writing Conference
  • How to Track the Content of Your Conferences
  • The ARMS Acronym for Revising
  • Several Strategies You Can Teach to Help Your Students with Revising
  • How To Use a Checklist to Encourage Your Students to Peer-Revise
  • Why Grammar is So Important
  • How Grammar Used to Be taught and Why That Method is Not Effective
  • A Strategy to Teach Grammar with Mentor Sentences
  • How to Apply This Strategy in Your Own Classroom
  • The CUPS Acronym for Editing
  • Several Strategies You Can Teach to Help Your Students with Editing
  • How to Use a Checklist to Encourage Your Students to Peer-Edit
  • How to Score Expository Writing
  • How to Use the Data You Collect from Scoring
  • Three Intervention Strategies to Use with Your Struggling Writers
  • Using the sample provided, build your own expository writing lesson plan for an upcoming lesson.
  • Get ideas on how to implement the concepts into your classroom, find a list of online resources that provide additional strategies for expository writing, and read the research behind collaboration and student engagement that supports this evidence-based professional development.

Requirements:

Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook device.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 10 or later operating systems.
  • Mac: OS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox is preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Microsoft Word Online
  • Editing of a Microsoft Word document is required in this course. You may use a free version of Microsoft Word Online, or Google Docs if you do not have Microsoft Office installed on your computer. Model Teaching can provide support for this.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.
  • Other: Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online. 

Expository Writing & Embedded Grammar Instruction

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  19. My Life Experience During the Covid-19 Pandemic

    My content explains what my life was like during the last seven months of the Covid-19 pandemic and how it affected my life both positively and negatively. It also explains what it was like when I graduated from High School and how I want the future generations to remember the Class of 2020. Class assignment, Western Civilization (Dr. Marino).

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    Essay on How Covid-19 Has Changed My Life Cite This Essay Download As COVID-19 continues to spread, high schools and universities around the world are closing, and students will stay at home. Isolation can be isolated, but stories like this can change this situation. My name is Kylee Pemberton and I am an isolated high school student.

  21. Argumentative Essay about Covid 19

    Argumentative Essay about Covid 19. This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples. COVID-19 is an emerging public health problem, which started in China at the end of 2019 and gradually affected the majority of countries including India (1).

  22. COVID-19 photo essay: We're all in this together

    Hundreds of millions of babies are expected to be born during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fionn, son of Chloe O'Doherty and her husband Patrick, is among them. The couple says: "It's all over. We did ...

  23. Opinion

    For most of my career, I assigned around 30 pages of reading per class meeting as a base line expectation — sometimes scaling up for purely expository readings or pulling back for more difficult ...

  24. Expository Writing & Embedded Grammar Instruction

    Using the sample provided, build your own expository writing lesson plan for an upcoming lesson. Applying What You Have Learned Get ideas on how to implement the concepts into your classroom, find a list of online resources that provide additional strategies for expository writing, and read the research behind collaboration and student ...

  25. Impacts of COVID-19 on Students Life

    Place Order. This is something that has never happened in my known history and could be a big example of the impact of COVID-19 on student's life. Whether the strategy employed by the examination council is effective or not is yet to be seen, but certainly, it absolutely was a giant blow to those students who had the habit of studying only ...