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Life In Lockdown Continues In New Zealand During Coronavirus Pandemic Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

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Bloody Elbow’s COVID-19 Diaries: Entry 2

The Bloody Elbow staff details how they’re going through this global pandemic.

Here at Bloody Elbow, we’ve been trying to continue covering combat sports and give you various updates, news and content during these troubled times. Like everyone else though, our lives have also been affected by the coronavirus outbreak, so on this feature we’re peeling back the curtain quite a bit. We’ve got a diverse staff spread across the globe, and while we normally highlight other people, we’ve now decided to share some of our own personal stories on how each of us are dealing with this pandemic.

The following is the BE staff’s second entries on our COVID-19 Diaries. Part 1 can be read here.

If it can serve as a release and help you deal with this situation better, we also encourage you to do the same on the comments.

Writer: Anton Tabuena
Location: Metro Manila, Philippines

Entry 2: It’s been 23 days since house arrest. I only know because I just checked, but it actually feels like the 86th of March.

Since my last entry, things have only gone weirder in my neck of the woods. Lockdown will be extended, but there isn’t a definite end date yet — I’ll just assume it’s until the 65th of April. Either way, I fear that with the state of this country, more people will die of hunger than the virus.

Instead of encouraging actions, our esteemed President just had all these weird, late night press-conferences literally looking like he’s intoxicated and completely out of it (again). I don’t understand the goal of those national broadcasts, but Duterte has gone from threatening to shoot people, to just having all these bizarre, incoherent ramblings while cursing out political rivals.

Not that I expected better, but the rich and powerful just keep bickering and playing petty politics from their beautiful palaces (pun intended), while the masses are dying from sickness and hunger.

I have also been worrying about people’s mental health. I’ve reached out to some friends, letting them know I’m here if they need anything, and that I’m awake at weird hours in case their go-to people might be asleep. But with the world going to shit and people stuck at home for long stretches, how much can that actually help?

As for my own well-being, Netflix Party dates, Zoom drinking sessions, and Slack conversations with BE staff have all been great. The best solution I have found though, is to simply unfollow all news outlets on social media.

This way, I only stress — about things like government incompetence, corruption, death, sickness, la casa de papel spoilers, fake news, and pandemic deniers — when I check those news profiles eight times a day, when someone else has the TV on, when people retweet things, when friends and family rant, or when boomers send me secret info from their friend’s wife’s brother’s co-worker’s cousin...

Anywayyy... it’s been two weeks since my last entry. I still worry and I’m still angry. I’ve been trying to help others in my own small ways, but I still feel helpless because that’s just a drop in the bucket. I’m still one of the lucky ones here, so I’ll be fine, but I also know countless other Filipinos won’t be.

But hey, at least my twitter has less negativity now!

Writer: Tim Bissell
Location: Greater Toronto Area, Canada

Entry 2: Since my last entry, our lockdown in Ontario has gotten even more strict. Our government released projections yesterday estimating between 3,000 and 15,000 deaths over the next 18 months in our province. Life inside the house is similar to how it was a week ago, but our essential trips have become far more stressful and anxiety inducing. We went grocery shopping recently and along with the line-ups, security screening, and shortages, we had to deal with this incredibly foreboding atmosphere. Everyone feels frightened. I’ve never experienced anything like this and, though it definitely makes being inside a little easier, it’s challenging — mentally — to not let that seep into me and fall into a despair over how long this might last and whether or not the worst manifestations of this disease will affect me and my loved ones directly.

With the loss of most things that felt normal, what I am grieving most is the ability to visit and spend time with friends and family. It’s hard staying away from people you love. My parents and parents-in-law are people we need to protect by keeping distant from, but they are also the kind of people we want to be around in times like this. Same goes for our closest friends, who we used to see often - especially for games night.

Games night is something we’ve carried forwards. Allow me to put on my nerd hat… one second… I GM a homebrew Dungeons & Dragon campaign. My wife and our best friends are the players. We moved the game over to skype. It’s extremely challenging, but a lot of fun. It feels fantastic to do something social that we used to do before COVID-19. In our last session, the brave adventurers fought off over 100 zombies and skeletons. That was pretty rad.

Even though we are having some fun times in quarantine, more often than not my thoughts are with those who have far more pressing anxieties than I do; people who are sick, people who have loved ones who are sick or have passed, people who are being financially pushed to the brink by this crisis. Please do what you can to help these people and, of course, take care of yourself. Stay inside.

Writer: Zane Simon
Location: Seattle, USA

Entry 2: I suppose it’s a blessing and a curse that I don’t have more interesting updates to report. But having been in a state of quarantine for somewhere around three weeks now, it’s mostly just getting dull. For a lot of us out here in the PNW, it seems as though the stay-at-home novelty has worn off and we’re settling into self-isolation as our new normal. Either that or going increasingly stir crazy. Outside of the large amount of handwashing and the constant social distancing, I’m finally starting to let more dramatic day-to-day options seep into my mind. Something like wearing a facemask outside the house seemed ridiculous a couple weeks ago, now suddenly I’m shopping for patterns. Who wants to go everywhere with a pair of medical-grade rubber gloves on? Suddenly I do!

Honestly, as an inveterate movie fanatic, it’s a little surprising that the saving grace of my sanity hasn’t really been deep diving into my film collection. Instead, gaming has made a major comeback in my life after more than a decade away. I bought a RetroPie emulator with about 5,000 games on it and I’ve just systematically been playing all of them. Lemme tell you, the 80s was on some weird shit. The only other thing has been that I’m starting to find small ways to still be social beyond just video chatting. Doing things like bringing our own chairs and drinks to sit outside and chat with our neighbors (from a safe distance, of course). Or, for my parents, trying to find a way to make it safe to visit my grandmother and help her with day to day tasks. Now that we’re all fully looking down the barrel of the possibility that this could be our ‘new normal’ for the next few months - assuming the govt. absolutely doesn’t get it shit sorted with testing in the meantime - we’ve gotta start finding some ways to make that life a little more normal long term.

That’s really the bulk of it for me at this point. There’s a chance things could change dramatically for the better sometime in the coming weeks. But, it’s a chance I’m not seeing on any immediate horizon. And if that’s not going to happen, we’ve got to start planning for how our next few months are going to look—not just the novelty of a couple weeks at home. That’s a much different proposition and, as of yet, I’m not really sure how to tackle it.

Writer: Tim Burke
Location: Burnaby, BC, Canada

Honestly, not much has changed from a work or COVID perspective. We are apparently doing a good job of “flattening the curve” (I already hate that tagline) in BC, but any sign of hope or positivity can be damaging. A small segment of the population sees one article that offers cautious optimism, and they just think this is all over and they’re back in parks or on the beach, not understanding (or caring) that this is an ongoing thing still.

My other issue is one I never really expected. I didn’t quite realize how social I was, and how large my social circle was. I work from home, so not much has changed from that perspective. I travel a lot as well, so I’m used to going long periods of time not seeing my friends. Or I thought I was. This forced isolation is magnifying the fact that...holy hell, do I miss a lot of people that I care about.

One of my closest friends came by a few days ago briefly, at a distance, to leave some puzzles and stuff for me. It was a sweet gesture, because she’s a sweet girl. We just stood there, 10 feet apart, unable to hug or interact like we normally do. It was great to see her pretty face, but it also made both of us really sad that we can’t be ourselves due to all of this.

We’re all just trying to adjust. I used FaceTime for the first time ever (I’m old, shut it) because my best friend insisted that it would help us with how down we are about not being able to hang out. I normally spend a lot of my non-work time with her, and this has been really difficult on both of us. While the FaceTime thing was great and I’m so glad I got to see her (sort of) and laugh at her goofy weirdness, it’s not the same. The group chat on Facebook with 18 of my friends is not the same as having a pint with them all at the pub. No group dog walks. No patio Friday nights at my other best friend’s house. No dominating bar trivia with my buddy and drinking for free every week.

Somehow, seeing two of my favorite people (in a sense) made me even more aware of how much this all sucks.

It’s not the same.

Writer: Mookie Alexander
Location: Portland Metro Area, Oregon, USA

Entry 2: Not much has changed in this area. Last diary entry we had the stay-at-home order implemented in Oregon. We have over 1,000 cases out of 20,000+ tests conducted (and 27 deaths as of April 5th), albeit with no testing for anyone who’s asymptomatic. I’ve barely gone out over the past few weeks, and that’s only to get groceries or order food. Toilet paper and paper towels at my local supermarket have been this empty for a solid month. Ditto hand sanitizer and hand soap, although I’m in good supply for all of these things.

Meanwhile at home I’ve just been working and watching movies, classic sports events, and significantly increasing my naps. Guess this isn’t going away any time soon, and the goal for the rest of this year is to live to see 2021.

Writer: Stephie Haynes
Location: San Antonio, TX, USA

Entry 2: Day 9345.85 of quarantine. To give an update on my first entry, a few positives and a huge negative have happened since.

  1. We found my cat (Iris). She was hiding somewhere in our house, but we don’t know where. She stayed in hiding for three days before just showing up in the middle of our bedroom. It took us three additional tries over the last 10 days to finally catch her, crate her and get her to the vet. She is fine, and now vaccinated.
  2. Lily is currently at the vet today for her first set of chest X-Rays. We can’t get the ECG for a while because it isn’t covered under our plan and $600 is an expense we can’t afford right now.
  3. My husband’s layoff was extended indefinitely and after Sunday (April 5th), it is unpaid. He is eligible to apply for unemployment, but not until April 15th, and it will be about ⅓ what he makes.
  4. My little Bath & Body business is giving us some relief, but it is just me doing the formulations and wax pouring, etc. Hubby does things to help out, but the brunt of the work is on me, in addition to my regular job here, which takes priority.
  5. My cousin that was in the ER with COVID-19 symptoms was thankfully negative for it. She just had garden variety, run-of-the-mill pneumonia. She is doing much better now after a round of antibiotics.

I am incredibly grateful to still have my job here in these tough times. It’s so very stressful to read how many are unemployed right now. It weighs on my mind constantly how many people are dying, and how susceptible I am to catching this thing, but I think we’re all susceptible to it, as new information is hitting every day, with people in the “safe” category now contracting the virus with devastating results. The “Rona” doesn’t really have a preference, it just wants bodies to invade and then discard.

These lockdowns/quarantines/shelter-in-place orders are bringing out the best in people, though, our team especially. Creative ideas, more audio content and everyone trying to go the extra mile to help keep our little online karate magazine running is really uplifting for battered souls like mine. I don’t know if I’d call it a silver lining, but maybe you could say it’s got silver buttons that are keeping it from coming undone at the seams. I find some small measure of solace in that.

My current Netflix binge is Star Trek TNG. After trying unsuccessfully to watch Tiger King (we couldn’t stomach it after just 10 minutes), my husband, a diehard Trekkie, convinced me to start TNG from the beginning. Boy oh boy, that is a rough season, but it’s also hilarious. Bad acting, terrible storylines, terrible special effects, terrible fight choreography, terrible Yar! But it’s unintentional comedy at its best. For an episode or two a day (all I can manage), it’s an escape, a desperately needed one.

Hope you’re all safe and sound.

Writer: Alex Scaffidi
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Entry 1: It is currently 03:45am on April 4th while I am writing this on an overnight shift at work. I didn’t enter a first diary submission because truthfully, life has been chaotic to say the least. In the span of three weeks I have:

  • Moved back home after my university residence gave us 48-hours notice to move out due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Started a new job where I’ve been tasked with receiving and organizing PPE donations for a few hospitals, due to the impact the pandemic has had on meeting equipment demands.
  • Changed positions at an agency I work for, so instead of supporting drop-in programs for at-risk youth, I’ll be supporting residential, human trafficking, and emergent housing programs for youth.
  • Struggled with the online schooling transition.

I said to myself that if I was going to be lucky enough to be working during this pandemic, I wanted to ensure I was going to be supporting those in need during this time. Personally, my biggest issue these days is time management and getting enough sleep. I feel lucky to be getting 4-6 hours/night at best. So I’m still working on that.

Apart from that, I’m mostly spending my time on video calls with friends, using Netflix party (even if it barely works), and going on some social distancing walks. I’m actually pretty lucky that where I live there is an abundance of empty trails in my backyard. I know that’s a luxury during these times, so I’m utilizing them as much as I can.

4:06am and I’m going to finish this tomorrow after my shift...

Writer: Jordan Breen
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Entry 1: It kinda goes without saying that it has been a weird month. During trying times, I normally fall back on old haunts and nostalgia. I’ve played through Final Fantasy 4, 5 and 6, and Earthbound, too. I was also thrilled to log in to Netflix for the first time in months, only to discover there’s a second season of the Kominsky Method. Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin have such brilliant old man chemistry. It blows me away that a guy like Chuck Lorre could have come out with something like this after almost single handedly ruining network sitcoms forever.

I think about my parents a lot. A situation like this makes you consider things differently. I’m now at an age where I don’t take them for granted, I just worry about them. They’re both still actively working and in professions that I think could be a medical liability. My father turns 60 in a few days; my entire life I’ve thought of him as indefatigable, unconquerable. Now I just wonder when he’s working a 12-hour day if he’s going to come into contact with someone that will make him ill. I can sense his shiftless boredom, too. We now have regular phone calls where we argue about politics and obscure blues rock acts from the 1970’s. The other day, he called me out of nowhere just to rant about the Mahamuni Buddha Temple in Myanmar. At this point, I’m just excited to see what bizarre cause celebre he comes up with.

As a vegan, grocery shopping can be tedious at the best of times, but moments like this make me realize just how annoyingly expensive it is. I spent three hours going around the city trying to find a place that sold nutritional yeast and veganaise. I’m tired of tofu scramble.

Randomly, I ended up speaking with an ex-girlfriend from many moons ago. She’s an in-home care provider, and pregnant with her second child, so she’s got a lot of downtime to banter back and forth with me. Even though we hadn’t spoken in almost a decade, we still get along famously. Also, I’ve grown a love for her daughter, who is an incredibly amusing little weirdo. She informed me that her daughter told her that she wanted her unborn sibling to be named “Africa” or “Cheeser”, which made me laugh harder than anything in Tom Segura or Bert Kreischer’s latest specials. I’ve now taken to referring to all babies and toddlers as “cheesers”.

If not for cooking tutorials and British panel shows on Youtube, I’d be bored out of my skull by now. I’m wondering how long it will be before I just end up watching all 93 episodes of Tales from the Crypt on loop, the ultimate last resort comfort. I wonder each way how to entertain myself, knowing that eventually I will have seen every episode of 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and Better Call Saul is coming up on the season finale. I guess there’s always World Star fight compilations, though. Thanks, Steve Alien.

Writer: June M. Williams
Location: East Moline, Illinois on the Mississippi River, bordering IA in the Quad Cities

Entry 1: I have been fortunate enough to be with SB Nation for going on ten years now (started as Assistant Manager at Cageside Seats back in 2010). I am lucky and grateful to have my work from home gig with Vox to supplement my disability.

I am one of the immunocompromised, but I initially felt this whole thing was kinda overblown so didn’t really make many big changes in my life until the Illinois Gaming Board Shut down all 10 of the State’s Casinos… my area is like a mini-Las-Vegas, Casinos on both sides of the River, a huge source of employment and slot bars on almost every corner of most cities. My mom is 77 with respiratory disease and although she is retired she works full time to supplement her income at our local Casino. They ordered the doors shut on March 13th. She was already considering taking all her paid time off to limit her exposure. For me that’s when shit got real.

I live with my 23 year old daughter who is in an online grad school program, and her 28 month old daughter. Although I still work online and she still has assignments and tests online, we no longer have 3 days a week daycare, so I am now trying to make a routine for a little one who is bouncing off the walls crazy. We all ventured as a trio into our local Wal-mart a couple weeks ago to get basic stuff, not planning on stocking up cause it still didn’t feel all that real or serious. There was no toilet paper, wipes, diapers, canned goods, meat, eggs, bread, sanitizer of any kind, aisle after aisle was just empty and people, lots of people wandering around looking for anything to buy to eat or clean their homes. It seemed absurd to me that people bought in bulk like that and that the store didn’t limit them. No one was social distancing and hardly anyone was even wiping down their carts. We went to several other area Wal-marts and grocery stores and it was the same situation there. Luckily we had TP already.

Then IL Governor J.B. Pritzker issued the Shelter in Place/Stay at Home order on March 20th. At that time Illinois had reached 585 confirmed cases across 25 counties, with 5 deaths from COVID-19. In Chicago, police officers were instructed to verify if any group of 10 or more in sight had a vital reason for congregating, but we were told we are not under martial law “because the state and national guard do not have the resources for enforcing it and arrest is only a very, very last resort because this is not intended to be a criminal order”.

As of mid-April it is predicted by the CDC that Chicago, IL will become the national epi-centre of the pandemic, with many residents of that county fleeing to their secondary homes in other parts of the state, spreading the virus with them, if they are asymptomatic carriers. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city could see as many as 40,000 patients needing acute care, adding that number of hospitalizations would “break our healthcare system. This will push our city to the brink.”

I live on the border of the Mississippi River and am literally a bridge drive from Scott County, Iowa. Several cities on each side of the river make up what is called the Quad Cities, so even though there is a state border we are all one big city here. Iowa has 614 confirmed cases, 11 deceased.

In our area people are out-and-about way more than I expected them to be. Our local Hobby Lobby, Michael’s Crafts, JoAnn Fabrics are all still open with curbside delivery or in-store shopping. (Cause crafting & art & sewing is “essential to homeschooling children”). Okay.

In the stores, people are not social distancing, lots of workers in stores and drive-thrus are not wearing gloves, places like Lowe’s and Wal-mart constantly have full parking lots. I overheard a couple elderly ladies in a Dollar Tree store (I was there to get construction paper to make hearts for our windows and see if they had toilet paper or spaghettios) they were saying how it’s all overblown and ridiculous and kids should be in school and we are going to look back and see the liberals set us all into an unnecessary panic. I just quickly got away from them before going off on them.

I worry it is going to get much worse here before it gets better. They just extended our shelter in place and school closings through the end of April… as of today, April 6th we now have 12,262 cases in Illinois with 307 deaths - but I suspect it will get worse and shelter in place will go well beyond the end of April, perhaps things will ease up over the summer, but like the Spanish flu I worry it will spike again in the fall and winter, which worries the shit out of me, people will be lax by then, it could get even worse than it is now heading into 2021.

Also, worth mentioning, my daughter is going stir-crazy and is still attending her weekly D & D get-together with 5 friends and their kids in Iowa, all bringing their own pieces, dice and snacks and sitting far apart, I told her I think they need to move the game to zoom or something else online or table the game for now, she was not happy with me but they agreed to stop meeting from now on. It seems social distancing and staying home is even less adhered to across the river in Iowa, traffic over there is nearly the same volume as before, lots of places are open, people are out and about everywhere you look.

On the other side of the fence, I have a sister who is a scientist. She is a wildlife biologist for the local Zoo. She lives with my elderly mother and has confined herself to their property since early February. She is working from home on the Zoo database. But she is all over my Mom if she leaves the house. Everything they have is delivered to their door or their car, every item is unpackaged with gloves outside and sprayed down and left to dry in the sun before coming into the house. Mom is to change clothes and shower when coming in from being out and about. Hand sanitizer is all over the house (guess she stockpiled a bunch before it got public that you would need such things) and she does not want my mom to even leave the house anymore, even for take-out or a ride to sit or walk by the river. She wears a facemask and surgical gloves even in the yard. We aren’t allowed to visit other than to drop an item in the driveway and holler from the car window across the yard at her. Her take on this as a scientist is hardcore and has been long before anyone else in the country was taking this seriously, she is terrified of my Mom’s plan to return to the Casino when they open again, she wants her to quit her job. I thought she was being an alarmist, now I am starting to see her point of view.

One of my other side businesses, besides graphics clients, is selling Sculptures. That has died down a lot because people don’t have the money to spend or they are social distancing and not wanting to meet up off fb marketplace anymore. Right now I am delivering items within an hours drive of my home and leaving them sanitized, then wrapped and in a box on the person’s porch and picking up the cash for them in an envelope they put in their mailbox for me and then handing the envelope to the bank drive thru or handling it with gloves. I have a ton of Easter-themed items: Bunnies and Eggs and Chicks and such… they aren’t selling other than online on eBay, poshmark and Mercari. If not for those sources, I would nearly be at a total standstill with this, I now have almost 200 items sitting in inventory not selling, I have stopped making/acquiring anymore items. I worry about bringing packages in from USPS/UPS/FedEx, I have started wiping them down.

I have bi-polar disease and this is a bad time of year for me with the seasons changing, being under quarantine with a terrifying global pandemic is making me very emotional and I’ve been in a funk. The 2-year-old is going crazy and it is hard to find her a structure and routine. My daughter misses going to the bars for karaoke and taco night and seeing her friends. I can’t force her to stay home, but worry about her going into stores and visiting people and what she may bring to them or bring home to us. All of us in one little house for weeks on end is not going as horrifically as it could be, for the most part we all get along and work well as a team. We are bingeing a lot of shows and playing games when we are not working or doing homework or playing with the wee one.

I worry for my Mom. I worry for my friend in Georgia who tested positive and had double pneumonia and a fever within 48 hrs of being fine. People I know have lost people they were close to. I know people across the globe through work and fb and the stories I hear from elsewhere, and read here in our staff diaries scare me, it makes me feel we are not doing anywhere near enough in our area of the country. I have been having nightmares and pondering how to write my will, and what I will do if something happens to me, my daughter or my grandbaby, or my Mom. I worry about the economy, small businesses, theatres, bars, restaurants, how they will survive when this is all over. The tiny tot and I are no longer going in stores at all, we send in my daughter and make her sanitize when getting back in the car.

Despite all that, I am truly grateful to have my job here at SB Nation, I am very fortunate. I hope this all ends soon though, as I want to go back to producing podcasts and content that are all about the fights and not be typing tags for coronavirus and COVID-19 in everything I post.

Writer: Derek Schott
Location: St. Louis Missouri, USA

Entry 2: While Illinois has had things on lock for the most part since this whole thing started, across the river in Missouri... yeah not so much. Gov Mike Parson spent Thursday wanting a cookie for signing his 6th executive order to help combat COVID19. And what did that EO do? It waived all late fees for people who haven’t renewed their CCP’s (conceal carry permits) yet, because that was putting such a strain on resources. It wasn’t until the next day when he finally pulled his head out of his ass, after firmly shoving it up there in early March, and issued a statewide lockdown order that will go into effect on Monday. His reason for waiting so long was that doing so would be too “difficult” and that safety was really your own personal responsibility, so if you get sick it’s all your fault.

He’s requested 2.5 billion (with a B) in federal aid, up from 30 million he originally asked for, and I’d love to know if he actually has any plans to use it to help people. His constituents are dropping dead around him and he doesn’t seem to care.

Rural Missouri is an area that’s going to be hit very very hard. There are many towns where there just flat out is no hospital to go to, the best you can hope for is a small clinic that’s just someone’s two story house. If they do have a hospital then it was shut down years ago for one reason or another. So if someone gets sick these people are looking at having to drive at least an hour, if not more, to get checked out.

There’s been outbreaks at at least 6 different nursing homes in the area, because the employees were not following the basic guidelines to help prevent the spread. I say at least because they’re now refusing to announce any new cases that crop up. In St. Louis out of 10,000 hospital beds 6,500 of them are already in use, as are half of the 2,000 ventilators in the entire state. They’re drawing up plans to turn the old TWA Dome into a makeshift hospital, but even if they can find the medical equipment I don’t know where they’re going to find enough medical professionals to help out.

As an aside, if anyone from Illinois is reading this and is a licensed healthcare worker, please go to and sign up if you’re able to help out, they need it.

There are a few local nutbags who are going around town deliberately trying to expose themselves and others as much as they possibly can. Some are doing it because they think it’s funny or it’s all a hoax, but there are others who think it’s god’s will that everyone gets sick and dies, so they want to help further the cause. These people terrify me.

With the exception of the normal essential places like grocery stores (and car dealerships for some reason?) just about everything is shut down, and no one knows if the small mom & pop shops will ever come back once this is over. Some businesses and churches stayed open in violation of the lockdown order and 50 such places have been cited as a result. At least it appears most are not being stupid and staying home, since when I am forced to leave the house for something, traffic is very very light.

For as long as we’re doing these diaries, it’s going to be my goal to end my portion with something positive, so here it is for this entry. A few days ago two local musicians were itching to play in a bad way, so they decided to take a walk and serenade their neighborhood. With their tuba and trombone.

One of the songs they played was Ben E King’s Stand By Me, which was captured on video. If you listen closely you can hear the neighborhood not just cheering them on but singing along. This small thing they did just for themselves wound up also lifting the spirits of so many other people at the same time. It reminds us that we’re all in this together and that’s how we’re going to get through it, together. Just remember not to get too close right now, save it for when this has all passed.

Writer: Shakiel Mahjouri
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Entry 2: I’ve been holding onto an irrational hope that all this will clear up in time for music festival season this summer, but that wishful thinking is quickly being extinguished. The documented spread here in Canada has been far slower than our neigbors down south. According to, Canada currently has the 13th highest total confirmed cases with nearly 17,000; meanwhile, the U.S. has surpassed 360,000.Cabin fever is definitely sinking in. My physical fitness has taken a nose dive, but I’ve made more time for hikes. Vancouver is a treasure trove of trails and pathways behind every corner so there has been plenty to explore. Being couped up in a 700-square-foot space with my girlfriend and our hyper-active puppy is beginning to take its toll. My girlfriend is suffering from unrelated stomach issues that are taking a significant impact on her emotional and physical wellbeing. Being the primary support system is taxing on me. Fortunately, we’re both aware these challenges are a reflection of our circumstances and not us as individuals.

I’ve had occasional distant contact with my father, which has been nice. I do my best to video chat with my grandparents every week or two. For years they have alternated between living in Iran for a year and visiting us for a year. They recently started selling their belongings in preparation for a long-awaited permanent move to Canada in April. Unfortunately, that is no longer viable because of the pandemic. My grandfather’s health has taken a dip in recent years. He recently expressed to my dad how he wants to be buried with his children one day, so I’m keeping my fingers-crossed he can hold out until all this passes.To end on a positive note, I’ve discovered a bounty of great horror movies and video games. My girlfriend recently introduced me to The Orphanage which was phenomenal, and I have been sinking serious hours into the real-time strategy game XCOM 2.

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