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How Americans Are Dealing With New Coronavirus Normal


How are Americans who haven't gotten sick spending their time during the coronavirus when they're supposed to stay put? Well, we put that question to some of the folks participating in our Outbreak Diaries project. Here's what they told us.

ERIC FUTTERMAN: I'm Eric Futterman, and I live in Richmond, Va. I went outside and dusted off the lawnmower and mowed the lawn in the spring and the sunshine with the birds chirping. And that was pretty glorious. And it wouldn't have been had it not been for this pandemic.

NATASHA SANDERS: My name is Natasha Sanders, and I live in North Hollywood, Calif. I'm stuck inside, and there's nowhere to go. There's nothing to do. I've been baking many, many cookies. That's how I've been coping with this. I have baked so many cookies.

BEN HINCKLE: This is Ben Hinckle in Charlotte, N.C. I really don't have much to do. So naturally, today I'm going to dye my hair because that is what one does when you have nothing to do.


DEBORAH WEPPELMAN: Deborah Weppelman, Friday, April 3, 2020. I'm furloughed indefinitely. My health insurance is still active for now, so I've been cramming and getting all my prescriptions filled. But in the meantime, I've been out in the yard. Right now, I'm walking the cat. You heard that. I'm walking the cat.

ELIZABETH BOBER: This is Elizabeth Bober, and you are about to listen to a few minutes of fun chaos from a Zoom call with extended family in New Jersey.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Where are Nick and Amanda?

STEFF: Hiding, probably.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: I just texted Nicky. He's joining now.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: How are you doing, Steff? How are you feeling?



STEFF: I'm a little stressed, but not too bad.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: Just keep drinking your quarantinis (ph).

AMANDA VILINIO: I have a little wine in my mug right now. I have three tennis balls. Hi. This is Amanda Vilinio. I am currently still unemployed. But right now, my dog and I are in the hallway of our apartment building, waiting for two other quarantine friends who have dogs to meet up. We throw the tennis balls down the hallway. The dogs get to play. And we all just kind of chat and talk.

GWENAFAYE MCCORMICK: This is Gwenafaye McCormick in Tuscaloosa, Ala. I'm living at home with my parents, and we've been self-isolating and just spending time together and with my grandmother and cooking together, making sourdough from our own homemade starter, which has been really fun and delicious and fattening (laughter).

And we've been getting to walk around our neighborhood and meet all of our neighbors more, you know, from 6 feet apart, of course. But it's really complicated, the feelings that I have and that I'm sure a lot of people have who aren't sick and who won't get sick because you just have all this time to do the things that you don't typically get to do.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Complicated feelings from many of us as the pandemic continues. Those were just some of the voices from our Outbreak Diaries project. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.