by Rebekah Flannery
Has the pandemic strengthened or distanced your relationships?
My friend McGregor, whom I interviewed in February 2021 in a face-to-face interview, answered this question in regards to how she has felt through the pandemic. She was a freshman in college at SCAD University in Georgia and had to leave due to COVID her Spring semester. The way relationships have suffered from the pandemic is a problem just about everybody is facing. McGregor was a perfect example for how college students had to deal with this. She talked about the way all of her friendships she had formulated at college were then distanced.
McGregor’s feelings were put in this way: “The pandemic gave me a strong feeling of isolation, which was the hardest part.” McGregor was fortunately able to meet up with one of her friends for a visit during the pandemic, which was positive for both of them. She moved back home to live with her family, which was a very positive experience as well because McGregor and her family were close knit. They were able to have quality bonding experiences together. For her personally, McGregor also talked about the ways COVID had negatively impacted her life and how they led to reaching out for aid through therapy. COVID did impact many people’s mental health and targeted it in many different ways, which was an obstacle McGregor faced too.
Community is a great need for humans and without it, they feel deprived and isolated. Another disappointing and frustrating loss McGregor had to deal with was the cancelation of her study abroad semester in France. The changes that it brought into her life were unexpected and those losses had to be grieved. These are just one person’s experiences from the lasting effects COVID can leave.
How has the CARES act benefited you during the pandemic?
The part of the CARES act that sends aid to workers and their families is very important and beneficial to many families. Relief is given to many families by the government in the Treasury Department. Money is given to families, the amount varying depending on the amount of income and children. Every individual has to be eligible and are given a certain amount due to economic impacts they are facing.
McGregor shared how her family had received these benefits as well. She has six siblings, so this act benefited her family greatly. It was designed to help families like this, and its effect is very large. My other friend, Amber, whom I recently spoke with, was part of another government aid, which was the unemployment benefits for six weeks where the government provided her money while her workplace was shut down. This was extremely helpful to her as she was having to pay her expenses still.
In the new year, aid is still being offered, “The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 authorized additional payments of up to $600 per adult and up to $600 for each qualifying child” (U.S. Department of the Treasury). The CARES act is being offered still and there has been additions to it in areas that are needing assistance. Many people have felt a loss of control due to the many economic impacts being thrown at them, and the CARES act was a relief they were searching for. From my sources, the government aid programs were talked about very highly.
As health care workers, what kind of masks do you have to wear for your job?
My first interviewee was a labor and delivery nurse whom I talked with face-to-face in February. The masks all of the nurses were told to wear consisted of an N95 mask doubled with a surgical mask on top of it during their shifts which sometimes lasted 24 hours. Amber, who works in a dentist office, had a similar mask situation consisting of either an N95 or K95 mask with an additional surgical mask and a face shield.
The dental workers also had to wear eye protection as well as hair coverings. These mask protocols were difficult for both of them because of the intensity due to their long shifts. Masks have been an adjustment for everybody, but healthcare workers are especially enduring the parts of the mask mandate which are difficult.
As a healthcare professional, what are your thoughts on COVID?
These answers I also got from my friend who is a nurse. She said one thing about the hospital that has been different on her floor is the no-visitors rule. This rule has made it less stressful on the nurse’s side, because they were able to focus more on the patients and the babies. Another difference was how the hospital was cutting many of their labor and delivery nurses’ hours during the pandemic, while failing to provide compensation to them.
There were no bonuses offered to any employees except CEO’s and higher up positions. Hospitals have been through the ringer during the pandemic and the health care workers have been worked to their limit. In addition to the hospitals being understaffed, they also do not always have enough room for all of their patients.
According to the American Hospital Directory, at UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central there are 485 beds available with the total inpatient days at the high number of 108,491. These statistics show the issues hospitals are facing. This was last updated on the 19th of January, 2021.
All of the employees in medical practices have felt the impact of the pandemic greatly. My friends’ views on the vaccine were interesting. In school, she told me they were taught vaccines and new medicines were usually not given out until they were thoroughly tested for five to ten years. She said it worried her to be giving a somewhat unknown vaccine to pregnant women. It was interesting to hear how what is currently happening had contradicted what medical workers were taught in school. The vaccine release has come as a sigh of relief to many people, but has raised concerns for others. Hearing how COVID is seen through the eyes of a healthcare worker was very educational and eye opening. In times of crisis, there is never a perfect protocol to follow, however; the healthcare workers have been working hard and providing care for so many people in need.
As a student, has school been something that is more difficult to you because of the way your school has handled COVID?
McGregor also answered this question because of the vast amount of change she went through with her classes. Her school moved completely online during COVID, which came with many struggles. Being an art major, she had always loved school and was very passionate and interested in all of her classes. Once her classes were moved online, she said many of the professors were struggling with zoom, and it was a learning curve for everybody involved.
McGregor said, “I have had to relearn a lot, and the online format has made it so I do not enjoy school as much”. School is one part of many people’s lives that took a pretty hard hit to COVID. Teaching students online has been a struggle and reintroducing in person classes has been an even greater mountain to climb because of all the risks which come along with it.
Schools have been able to adapt and adjust in a resilient manner during the pandemic, and every student and teacher has done an incredible job of it as well.
American Hospital Directory. (2021, January 19). Free Profile. Ahd.com. https://www.ahd.com/free_profile.php?hcfa_id=9f7e7a88c7557e61bb68296b0bdcc975&ek=aa327d836698113634c3ebf1e7168a7d.
U.S. Department of the Treasury. 2021. U.S. Department of the Treasury, The CARES Act Provides Assistance to Workers and their Families. U.S. Department of the Treasury. https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares/assistance-for-small-businesses.