social distancing, corona, virus-4621687.jpgPlease think for a moment about the following question: WHEN WAS YOUR PANDEMIC DAY? The day you realized the pandemic had arrived and things had definitely changed. Although we talk about COVID-19, it was in the year 2020 that the global epidemic got serious and altered the course of our actions and relationships. That happened differently for each of us–but it eventually happened to everyone. Let me talk about my pandemic day. I was with my wife in Chapel Hill, a charming town in North Carolina, working as visiting scholars at the University of North Carolina when we received a notice to stay home for another week during Spring Break in March 2020. Up until that point, the virus was something that scared me more on the news than in real life. But when I opened the door to my house and saw (or rather didn’t see) anyone on the sidewalks, I could feel something serious was happening. I knew at that very moment that the pandemic had caught up with me. That day became the starting point for my academic text about the pandemic, conditions of scarcity, and justice – link.

easter, corona, easter bunny-4976728.jpgYou have probably already noticed that this section is not the most theoretical part of this project, but it is perhaps the most human part, as it reflects how we were and still are affected by COVID-19. Given COVID’s global scale, we are all in the same boat and share a common destiny within this new reality. My purpose here is to present some brief “pandemic day” testimonies from the lives of ordinary people – like you and me – around the world. 

These are just the first testimonials. If you are interested, please share your experience with us.

Some Stories from a Pandemic Day

Thaís Alves Costa, Rio Grande do Sul – Brazil

It was a sunny day, and I rode my bike to the university. The campus was a meeting place for different reasons. Even on Sundays or holidays, there were people around walking, talking, and hanging out. However, on that day in March 2020, the campus was empty. I stopped in front of my building, and the only thing I found was a notice that said:

“Remove all your personal belongings from your offices immediately. This building is closed indefinitely.” 

I neve saw my classmates again. I returned home, pedaling as fast as I could. I felt the virus was behind me, trying at all costs to catch up with me with each pedal stroke.

COVID Vaccine
Immunity Passport

Back to the future with new habits: masks and vaccination passport in hand for in-person classes.

1st In-Person Undergraduate Class – (August, 01 – 2022) Federal University of Pelotas – Brazil
1st In-Person Graduate Class – (August, 02 – 2022) Federal University of Pelotas – Brazil

Vicki Behrens, New Mexico – USA

I remember exactly when I realized how much our lives were about to change—it was March of 2020. My birthday is March 29, and we were trying to think of something fun to do to celebrate. The first COVID case in New Mexico was March 11, and mass gatherings were banned on March 12. On March 19, restaurants were restricted to take-out and delivery only, and on March 25, all non-essential businesses were ordered to close. The first reported death in the state was March 25.

Everyone was scared, of course, but at that time, the idea of staying home and not going out sounded almost like a little vacation—taking a break from ordinary things. We decided that for my birthday, we would go for a hike in an isolated area in the mountains north of us, in an area called the Valles Caldera. We packed everything we would need so that we would not have to stop anywhere or encounter anyone. Partway through that hike—during which we never saw anyone else—I realized that this was how things were going to be—maybe for a long time. We would not be seeing people. We would not be going out anywhere except the wilderness (but I was so, so grateful that that was an option for us—I can’t imagine what it was like for people who live in cities and could not leave). We would need to be as independent as possible, and all of our normal rituals and habits were going to change dramatically. I am attaching a picture of that hike, with Brett walking ahead of me. It was still cold in the mountains, and although it was beautiful, it was also very bleak. By the time we got home from the hike, the pandemic had become very real and personal for me.

Empty Campus at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, USA

“I noticed that outside there were no people on the street. I watched on the news people shopping at the supermarket, in lines wearing masks. It shocked me a lot.”

Ketli Barbosa, Florianópolis – Brazil
Social Life and Masks


Maracanã Stadium – Soccer match without Fans, Brazil
Empty Avenue – Tokyo, Japan

Rania Chelala, Dovadola, Forlì- Cesena, Italy.

It was 2019 when ‘that virus’ was in China, and then you fast forward to Sunday, February 22, 2020, in a little Italian town. That evening, I got two similar text messages from the kindergarten and the elementary schools of my two kids. That Monday and the rest of February, I had to take a sick day from work because the babysitter was too scared to come over, and the tv and social media were blaring inaccuracies and mass hysteria. For the next days, weeks, months, and year everyone was asked to stay home and wait.
I only left the house because of my work, and my kids learned super fast to juggle online lessons and babysitting themselves for six days a week since march 2020. It will only be for a week or so, they said. Fast forward to march 2020, and the kids were still home suffering through a horribly managed online DAD (didattica a distanza). The school year ended in June, and my kids never returned to school to pick up their notebooks and belongings. (I was handed those in sanitized bags, but I don’t recall when ). My youngest never graduated from his kindergarten that year. Come to think of it, he returned to school and was put in random quarantines every time someone tested positive in their school in 2020/21 and 2021/22. My youngest is now in third grade and is a mini version of Adrian Monk. I keep saying to my friends: I will need to apologize to my children’s future friends for their obsessive behavior with disinfectant, personal spaces, and facial masks. But I know their friends will have those far-from-normal behaviors as common grounds. Time will tell. We are summer 2022, and it is stinky hot, and the virus and its variants are still creating havoc around us. Nothing is back to normal…just yet.