An invitation to share your pandemic stories
On the third anniversary of the COVID-19 outbreak, we’d like to hear from you
Saturday, March 11, marks three years since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. It’s hard to think of anything that hasn’t changed since then.
As of this writing, there have been 758,390,564 confirmed COVID cases worldwide, including 6,859,093 deaths, according to the W.H.O. Political battles have been fought over everything from the origin of the pandemic to the efficacy and safety of masks and vaccines. Global economies, currencies, and financial markets have been roiled and longstanding systemic racial and other inequities newly exposed. For millions of people, video conferencing replaced going to work and school, while millions more moved to a new city, state, or home. The ways we shop, eat, and seek entertainment have been fundamentally altered. For a time, global travel just about stopped.
Those are the pandemic’s big-picture reverberations, the sweeping effects that end up recorded in history books. Documenting those phenomena is, of course, critical to shaping our understanding of the past three years, and many of those broad ideas were explored in Medium posts. More than once, those pieces helped lead the way on how we might think about the pandemic, be it politically, culturally, or scientifically. See, for example, “Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting,” by author and filmmaker Julio Vincent Gambuto, “Fake News Is a Real Public Health Threat,” by New York City Emergency Room physician and global health expert Craig Spencer MD MPH, and, more recently, “Understanding Long COVID,” by former Centers for Disease Control director Dr. Tom Frieden.
What those wide-angle observations don’t always capture, though, is the lived experience of the pandemic, the personal consequences, what three years of almost unimaginable disruption has meant for individual people. The effects on human beings.
Here at Medium, we’ve always placed a high value on individual expertise and personal expression. That’s why we’d like to hear your pandemic stories.
What kinds of stories? Any kind, really, from informational pieces to personal narratives to “what it means” reflections. What’s the most notable thing that’s happened to you or someone you know in the past three years? In what ways has your life changed? Your work? Your community? Your country? The world, in your eyes? Is there practical information you’d like to share? A singular perspective? Improbable as it may be, has anything good come out of this from your point of view?
Many of your stories will likely be serious, perhaps sad even. Given the subject, that’s only fitting. But others may be lighthearted, or out-and-out funny, and those are every bit as valuable. As the novelist Anne Lamott, a master of finding the sweetness in our existence without being saccharine, told an interviewer in 2018, “Laughter is carbonated holiness.”
Regarding the nuts and bolts, tag your posts “Pandemic Stories” and browse the tag page to read other contributors’ pieces. (New and previously published posts are both welcome.) We’ll feature a selection of your stories in this list, on Medium’s homepage, and in an upcoming email. We’ll also feature them on our social media channels, including our new Mastodon instance for Medium members, me.dm.
Thank you in advance for your contributions. We look forward to hearing your stories.