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International Story Project

People from various countries, you are invited to share a story about an experience you have/had, or the experience someone you know has/had, because of COVID-19. I wish to give readers an inside view of lives affected by COVID-19 in a variety of countries.

Most of us are able to see and hear numerous accounts from political and well-known people on TV, radio, and in written media. This project is to give voice to ordinary citizens of the world as we learn how to live with a "new normal" that continues to evolve.

Will you provide a story to be considered for this project? You may include photographs, art images, or illustrations that are your own, or are free to use without copyright restrictions. If you would like to write a story and remain anonymous, that will be fine.

Many of us have something of value to share, something others will appreciate hearing. I hope you will consider being part of this project. Please send me an email for more information.

Thank you, Donna



Bob McFarland
California, USA

Bob McFarland & Ken Bingham

Our dear friend guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Bob McFarland shares his new song "Tears In Our Eyes" with us. Tragically, Bob's sister died in February 2020, before Americans were being diagnosed with COVID-19. Her symptoms were consistent with the virus and Bob believes she succumbed to COVID-19. Pianist/Bassist Ken Bingham accompanies Bob on this heartfelt recording. We share this song with the hope that it will help to comfort all who hear it. Our love is with the whole world at this devastating time of great suffering and loss of life.

Tears In Our Eyes
By Bob McFarland
© All Rights Reserved 04-18-20


Table of Contents
(More Stories & Countries To Be Added)




Table of Contents
(More Stories & States To Be Added)



California, USA

Tim Christensen
California, USA

06-17-20: COVID-19 has affected almost everyone in one way or another. Its effects have been negative for many, but some positive things have been realized by some. We can never make up for the tragic unnecessary loss of human life that the virus is responsible for taking. However, some positive effects have occurred from people taking this time to evaluate their lives more deeply. They have taken the time to do things that they may not have had time to do before all this.

Our governmental response to this crisis has been dismal at best and criminal at worst. They dropped the ball. Many thousands of deaths could have been prevented had our government been prepared and taken mitigating steps early on. But our leadership was more interested in trying to figure out how to down-play the seriousness of what was happening instead of trying to figure out how to come together in an effort to meet the virus head on and defeat it. While all this has been going on, each of us has been left to try to find our way.

I am a retired high school teacher. I taught primarily English, but I also taught various computer related classes as well. I've been retired a little over ten years. After retiring I started a second career or avocation stemming from my love of music. Since I was a child, I've always loved music. My wife Donna and I ran a music showcase for over twelve years in our local community. We also have been performing in retirement homes, assisted living, and nursing homes for about twelve years as well. I play guitar and sing, and Donna sings. We sing standards of country, folk, and popular music, mostly older music that people in retirement homes would remember and cherish. We have been doing about twelve to fourteen performances per month. This work has been very fulfilling, our music has touched these people deeply who often have little or no contact with people outside their facilities.

COVID-19 has put a stop to all that. As you know, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, retirement homes - all have been prohibited from having outside people, unessential workers of any kind, come into their facilities. The older population is very vulnerable to this disease, and they must be protected.

Now, with having to stay home and isolate, Donna has busied herself with writing projects, and I have been helping her with website projects. I have been closely following the news each day, which can be depressing. But one positive thing I have been doing is recording music, most of which I've been playing for years. Some of the recordings have been video, and some have been audio. A friend of mine started a couple of share sites to post our recordings and share them with each other since we can no longer get together and play. It's been fun to see what each of us come up with, and it's forced me to record, which is one of those things I always meant to get around to but never did. We all want to get back to being together again in the flesh, but for now, this sharing of our music online has been nice.

The hardest part of this whole thing we're going through is the sadness of it all for those who have lost someone or suffered from the virus and survived. We all miss our families and friends that we can't see right now, but the people who have lost loved ones permanently will never be able to see them again in this world. The economy will eventually recover. The virus will some day be defeated with a vaccine. But people who have been taken by COVID-19 will not return.

If you wish to hear some of my songs, please visit this section of our website to see three video recordings that I wrote for my granddaughters.

Be the solution,
Tim Christensen


Robert Evans
California, USA

06-17-20 17: My friend Donna asked people to share stories about a personal experience, or the experience someone they know has had, because of COVID-19. Well, I have nothing personal to share except this. As the number of American people getting COVID-19 increases, it is clear to me that the American economy is more important than what is viewed as a few deaths. I hope those "few deaths" will not include my family members, my friends, or me.

Stay Well,
Robert Evans


D.B. Pacini-Christensen
California, USA

06-19-20: California was one of the first U.S. states to do a serious COVID-19 shutdown. We later learned that COVID-19 was in America much earlier than initially thought. In March 2020 my husband Tim and I decided to self-isolate at home. We ceased visiting with family and friends. The creative arts events we were associated with were cancelled and remain cancelled.

Testing has improved, but America still does not have enough testing or enough contact tracing for COVID-19. It is pathetic how few tests are available, especially for nursing home personnel, nursing home residents, and people of color. Also, our states do not have consistent messaging or similar plans to battle this pandemic.

When COVID-19 first started ravaging the United States, our federal government forced state governors to compete for supplies while a staggering number of our amazing doctors, nurses, and other frontline workers lives were at great risk because they did not have enough (PPE) personal protective equipment. Many states still have shortages of masks, gowns, gloves, ventilators, and other life protecting and life saving supplies.

Our federal government is unwilling to fully invoke the Defense Production Act so this crucial problem could be resolved, in spite of the fact that most states have not completed their "first wave" stage. Our inevitable "second wave" will be predictably impacted by this avoidable problem.

The Defense Production Act gives the federal government the power to direct private businesses to produce essential items for a national emergency.

In America it feels like we have entered Rod Serling's surreal "Twilight Zone" - we are trapped in a distorted reality TV show episode with amateurish actors playing the role of our federal government.

Many in our federal government have a cavalier attitude about COVID-19. Their message seems to be that this pandemic is "magically" over, facemasks aren't needed, and social distancing is unnecessary. When I watch TV and see large numbers of American citizens also behaving like COVID-19 does not concern them, I am stunned.

COVID-19 is not taking a pause as the majority of states are reopening with safety procedures being inconsistently implemented. Many people are not taking precautions. They underestimate their risks and the exposure they can give to others who are more vulnerable.

In spite of the typical flood of fabricated and false information from conspiracy theories, and misinformation in general, our infectious disease specialists, scientists, and epidemiologists say drastic measures are necessary to minimize the COVID-19 impact. Since Memorial Day (05-25-20) many U.S. citizens have not worn facemasks or practiced social distancing. Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 is on an upward climb in several states.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington updated their predictions and now report that there will be 200,000 U.S. deaths from COVID-19 by October 1st. Some medical professionals believe the death toll could be higher. The reason for the update: Americans have increased their mobility during and after Memorial Day weekend, we have sizeable gatherings in some states without facemasks and social distancing, and we have large, prolonged gatherings at protest demonstrations.

COVID-19 is enormously politicized in America, but it infects across the political spectrum, it has no boundaries worldwide, and it does not discriminate.

The Lancet is a respected weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal. It is among the world's oldest and best-known medical journals. The Lancet measured the usefulness of facemasks, social distancing, and eye protection. Their study determined that without a facemask, social distancing, or any other preventive measures, the risk of transmitting COVID-19 is 17.4 percent.

Some people think that 17.4 percent is relatively low. I ask this: Imagine that I have a bowl of 100 jellybeans. I offer them to you, but I admit that 17 of them could make you ill, and they may kill you. Would you eat any of the jellybeans?

I recently read, "If you hate wearing a facemask, you really won't like wearing a ventilator." That statement breaks my heart. Before we get a vaccine, many people will eat the damn jellybeans. Unfortunately, some will die.

On 02-23-20, National Security Council Advisor Peter Navarro sent a memo to Trump warning that the COVID-19 pandemic could result in a loss of life as high as 1.2 million American souls. The next day Trump tweeted, "The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA."

As of 06-19-20, (almost four months after 02-23-20) the U.S. has had more than 2,297,000 COVID-19 cases, more than 1,219,000 active cases, and more than 121,000 related deaths, according to Worldometer. Worldometer was voted as one of the best free reference websites by the American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest library association in the world. Scroll down on their web-page to review Worldometer's updated COVID-19 statistics, per country. They update their statistics each day.

As of 06-19-20, twenty-three states have an alarming upward surge in record-high new cases and increased hospitalizations. It is currently believed that Florida will likely be the next U.S. COVID-19 epicenter with catastrophic consequences. Twenty-three states equal almost one-half of our country, yet our federal government continues to insist that COVID-19 is dying out in the U.S.


"One of the problems we face in the United States is that unfortunately, there is a combination of an anti-science bias that people are -- for reasons that sometimes are, you know, inconceivable and not understandable -- they just don't believe science and they don't believe authority."

Dr. Anthony Fauci
U.S. Department of Health and Human Service Podcast
(The Learning Curve 06-17-20 episode.)


Because Tim and I are retired, and because we do not have children in our home, it is easier for us to physically and financially cope with isolating. We miss our family and friends, but we believe that it is not time to stop social distancing. Tim has been recording a great deal of music since March. I have done writing and other artistic projects.

Three winters ago I had pneumonia. Each breath I took was excruciating. I was terrified. My harrowing pneumonia experience triggers an increased fear of COVID-19 for me. However, COVID-19's deadliness amplifies my fear too.

In America we desperately need two vaccines, one for COVID-19 and one for our epidemic of racism. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley is the first African American woman elected to represent Massachusetts in Congress.

In the wake of George Floyd's tragic murder she says it is not enough for white people to say they are not racists. She says white people need to be anti-racist and need to intentionally, deliberately, and unapologetically help dismantle structural racism and systemic oppression. That means not being afraid to call it what it is: white supremacy. I agree 100 percent.

We have a front row seat as history is being documented before our eyes. Our dangerous and incompetent federal government will have a devastating account recorded in future history books that will be well-deserved.

In spite of our federal government, we each can individually do something to help our frontline workers, who are indeed our heroes during this COVID-19 pandemic. In spite of our federal government, we each can individually do something to dismantle racism.

When my grandchildren and great-grandchildren read what will be recorded in future history books, I want them to know that I was not apathetic or passive. I want them to know I diligently did my part to constructively battle COVID-19 and racism. I want to inspire them to always do their part to protect and defend the health and the rights of all people.

Today is Juneteenth Day, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Liberation Day. It is a very important holiday celebrating the liberation of those who had been held as slaves in the United States.

Thank you for reading my story. Take care and please stay safe.
D.B. Pacini-Christensen


California, USA

07-10-20: The coronavirus means isolation to me ....... no hugging, no shaking hands, not seeing family or friends. It makes you feel like a leper. Maybe you look like no one wants to associate with you. I love my peace and quiet times, but if you can't see family or friends or hold hands or hug, then life seems to stand still. When I read the bible or think of the bible study classes that I used to facilitate, it brings back to me what Jesus went through before they crucified him. He was all alone and even his trusted friend sold him for some silver coins. Money is something we need for buying food, paying rent, buying transportation ....... these are all immediate needs ....... life is short ....... heaven or hell are forever. Being healthy and happy are gifts. I hope someday to fly with the Angels ....... God gives us many trials in life ....... I pray I make the right decisions and learn to fly.

May God bless and protect you from the coronavirus,
Ann Clark Vanderheiden

***** ********


Donald R. Anderson
California, USA


Joe Weed
California, USA

Howard Rains - Artist

08-07-20: I'm Joe Weed, musician, composer, and producer in the Bay Area in Northern California. Since March of 2020, I haven't had anyone in the studio, due to the isolation required for avoiding COVID-19. So, in addition to missing the wonderful interactions from working with others, my income has been severely impacted. But like many musicians, I'm still writing, practicing, and recording. In late June I released this collaboration with 31 other musicians around the planet performing my "Waltz Violindo." Its message of inclusion and mutual support has clearly struck a note with the over 22,000 viewers that watched "Waltz Violindo" on YouTube and Facebook as of 08-07-20.


Michigan, USA

Jill Wellington
Michigan, USA


New York, USA

NYC, New York, USA

COVID-19 & The Holocaust
By An Anonymous Jewish Person

06-19-20: A couple of years ago I heard on television that a lot of people in European countries, Canada, and America had never heard of the Holocaust, 1941-1945. A large number of young people did not know what Auschwitz was. They could not name one Holocaust concentration camp.

Regardless of your age or your country, if you don't know much about the Holocaust, I think you should take time to study what happened and why it happened. One third of the world's Jewish population was murdered and more than one million were children.

COVID-19 may take millions of innocent lives. I know they say young people won't die from COVID-19 as easily as old people, but don't be fooled, young people will die too.

1945 was seventy-five years ago. In seventy-five years a large number of people may not know much about COVID-19. They may not know what happened and why it happened.

I know what the Holocaust did to Jewish people. I also know what COVID-19 will do to the world. Even people who are trying very hard to be careful can get COVID-19. But, too many people cannot tolerate having to be cooped up at home away from their friends. They don't want to wear facemasks or to stay six feet away from others. Many people have died and more will die because scores of people will not do the right thing to fight this pandemic.


Oregon, USA

My COVID-19 Story
Oregon, USA

07-23-20: I was prepared because I knew it would happen eventually. I came out of a store with my mask on after being very careful to keep my distance for at least six feet from everyone. I unloaded my cart to my car while still wearing my mask. A woman parked next to me and got out of her car with no mask on. She smirked and said, "Let me guess - you're a liberal. That mask ain't gonna do anything for you except make you look stupid."

I walked close to her, took off my mask, and said face-to-face, "Look, I woke up with a temperature of 103 this morning, my best friend came down with COVID-19 and was hospitalized yesterday, I work with people in close quarters, I had to go shopping today, and my mask is to protect people from me, not to protect me from them."

Then I coughed in her face, pretended to get dizzy, and slumped down to the ground. Horrified, she started to walk away. I grabbed her foot and then pulled her leg, like I am pulling yours.



Daniel Gumiero

Daniel Gumiero - Illustrator

06-23-20: Greetings to everyone from Brazil. I am happy to contribute a story to this project. My name is Daniel Gumiero. I am a Brazilian, vegan, photographer, and designer. I am passionate about nature and art. I also do my best to help cure the planet. Six years ago my father died because of another global pandemic (H1N1) after 34 days of bravely fighting for his life in the hospital. My heart and soul were destroyed, but I keep myself strong to give peace and support to my mother and brother. Since COVID-19 first started in China, I began a diligent personal effort to alert family, friends, people in my community, people on social media, and the authorities about the deadly risks of this virus. I did my best, but my earnest efforts were not enough to help my country avoid the devastation it endures because of COVID-19. I will keep doing my best to fight against COVID-19. I hope I can help people around the world understand that we must join together to battle this pandemic. We are in this together - all across the globe. On Pixabay I share my portfolio for free. The donations I receive on Pixabay are used to purchase basic food and essentials for poor families in Brazil. I won't give up. None of us should. We all can do something, and we all must. Thank you.


Silvana Andrade

Maria Albani
(Silvana Andrade's Mother)

07-15-20: I said goodbye to Mom, physically, believing she had pneumonia - she had a fever, shortness of breath, and body aches. I remember her getting on the elevator and me saying, "Mom, I love you. Don't worry; it'll be all right."

When people contract the COVID-19 virus, they leave their homes and often go into a black hole. I spent three days without being able to obtain information. I didn't even know which Hospital's ICU she was in or the name of the doctor who was taking care of her.

After countless attempts to make contact, I finally managed to speak to the ICU doctor. He told me my mother had been intubated without me being consulted. This had been approved because she was lucid. According to him, my mother had authorized her own intubation. She was sedated and put into an induced coma. I started calling every day.

We had lost my father a month earlier. Mom and Dad were glued together; you have no idea. In the past year she had four femur surgeries - in each of them, the stems and prostheses moved out of place. Damn doctor! My father stayed by my mother's side the entire time, even when she was convalescing in bed, until she had two urinary infections and had to return to the hospital in February. Dad became sicker and sicker, and then he died. Mom was hospitalized and learned of his death two weeks later. When she was finally discharged and returned home, she kept asking repeatedly, "Why did he leave me alone?"

When I was young, the slightest idea about the possibility of my parents dying would make me lose my breath. Look now, I lost them both at the same time. I can't explain the amount of pain I feel, but I assure you that my grief has been eased a bit because we have managed to secure a bill project. Now, it needs to be voted on by the Congress.

In April 2020, the Health Department of the State of Pernambuco had access to the statement I had made on my Facebook page, and they turned my idea of a bill project into a public program. In public health units in the state, visits via video calls have become a reality through this bill. I want people to be afforded the decency of being allowed a farewell with their loved ones. They deserve that opportunity. We all deserve that opportunity.

I thought of this when my mom's doctor, after 15 days, told me that her condition had worsened significantly. The next day, when I called to ask the doctor about how my mother was, a nurse told me he was not in the hospital. I would need to wait for him to return to receive any news about my mother. I asked the nurse to take the phone to my mom.

"It's impossible, ma'am," was the nurse's reply. She told me that she was not authorized to enter the ICU with a phone. I suggested that it didn't need to be a personal phone. It could be a tablet or some type of corporate device. Again, she said that would be impossible. I collapsed.

I felt all the pain a person could personally feel, but I also felt the collective pain of the world, the anguish all family members and friends feel who are experiencing separation from their loved ones because of COVID-19. It is a devastating and shared universal grief that washes over those of us who are denied our humanitarian right to say goodbye to our loved ones. It is the shock and confusion people experience when they don't even know that they should always have this basic right.

I broke down into tears with a sorrow that you cannot imagine. I called the nurse repeatedly, pleading to be allowed to speak with my mother. My requests we denied. I told her that she did not understand. I told her I would go to whatever lengths necessary to be able to speak with my mother. I told her that being denied this opportunity was beyond cruelty.

I was not informed that my mother had died. After her death a nurse called and asked for my mom's documents. I was stunned and bewildered. I said, "What? What do you mean? What are you saying? Did my mother die?"

The nurse replied, "I don't know, you'll have to ask the doctor." Can you imagine hearing something like that? I called the doctor, and he confirmed that my mother had died.

I believe we eperience two different states of anguish. The first and immediate is loss by disappearance. The person you love simply disappears - they are gone. One day, they are by your side and then suddenly, they are no longer present. You can never see them again. It is utter disappearance. Can you imagine the depth of this instant pain? My emotions were raw.

Despite the pain I was enduring, I was relieved that because of my persistent efforts, I had been able to finally speak with my mother for about fifteen minutes two days before she died. I could look at her. I could see her. I said what I wished to say to her even though she was unconscious, sedated, and intubated. Perhaps she was able to hear me.

The opportunity to speak with my mother made all the difference in the world for me. It helped me more than words can express. For her, in memoriam, I decided to dedicate myself to fight for this bill. If approved, guess what it will be called? It will be the Maria Albani Law - in my mother's honor.

The second state of anguish is dealing with the death of someone you love. It is an acceptance of anguish when you are still heartbroken, but you understand that your loved one is gone, and you must learn to carry on without them.

What I want is a protocol that will be instituted in a systematic way, not only during the COVID-19 pandemic, but at all times for any patient with a contagious disease that requires him or her to be isolated from their loved ones. People should have the opportunity to speak with these patients via video calls. This opportunity should be available to immediate family members and also to family and friends regardless of where those people may be. We must compassionately humanize the end-of-life time for everyone.

My mother had a unique joy for life that was greater than any passion for life that I have ever seen. I know she would want this opportunity provided to all people, and she would be humbly honored to have this bill in her name.

Stay Safe,
Silvana Andrade




07-27-20: I recently learned about this story project and would like to share my story. I am 17. My parents are in the medical profession. They have told me things that I will not repeat because they are too heartbreaking to put into written words. People who have COVID-19 suffer so much. They are all ages, not just old people who are forty and older. Some are much younger. My parents are strict with my brother who is 12. He has asthma, and they will not allow him to visit with any of his friends. I am allowed to see my cousin because she is my age and because she is not seeing anyone else. This is serious. It has changed the whole world. My grandparents say that never in their lives has anything been so bad. I am young, and I can say the same thing. I don't know when this will end and when we can live our lives again. Thank you for letting teens write stories for this project.

Take Care,



Sebastian Flegl

07-13-20: Hi, I live in a town near Munich in Germany. When the COVID-19 crisis started, the state Bavaria took action very fast. As a result, all pupils got more or less home-schooled for about three months. It was a very tough time to stay in one place for a quarter of a year. It was difficult to always have the same people around, and to have no chance to see friends for over 90 days.

Despite these negative aspects coming with the lock-down and the restrictions, I am glad they existed for health/safety reasons. While my family and I luckily stayed healthy, a friend of my mother lost her son and her husband. A patient of my father told him he wouldn't be able to come to the next appointment because he has to attend four COVID-19 funerals.

All in all, I have to thank all the nurses, doctors, and of course all the people who helped others in this devastating time.

Everyone stay safe,
Sebastian Flegl



Eszter Hornyai

06-18-20: When the pandemic of COVID-19 started in Hungary, I self-quarantined and set up a home office. After the fears of the first days, I realized that I had a lot of free time. What was I to do after work, cooking, and lots of bad news about COVID-19? Well, to start, I decided to do a "Big Clean Up" in my house!

I found a forgotten and hidden away cardboard box in a dark corner of a closet. It was full of my old photographs. Many years ago I was an enthusiastic professional photographer, but my life changed, and I gave up that profession. Of course, I continued to take photographs occasionally because I never lost my passion for photography.

When I opened the cardboard box, wonderful memories came flooding back. I immediately felt an irresistible yearning to embrace photography again.

I am concerned about COVID-19, but I am not paralyzed by fear. I am using the increased free time that I now have in a creative way that is encouraging me during self-isolation.

I now take pictures each day. Also, I created a Facebook page for my old and new photographs. If you wish, you can review my photographs on Facebook and also on Pixabay.

Here is a photograph of the cardboard box filled with photographs that I found in my closet. I hope that you can find creative ways to use free time that you may have during this pandemic.

Eszter Hornyai - Photographer

The first case in Hungary that a cesarean section was performed on a COVID-19 pregnant woman occurred on 06-18-20. The mother, infected with COVID-19, gave birth to her premature baby via cesarean section, with procedures to minimize the risk of the COVID-19 infection being transferred to the baby. After birth, both mother and child are in stable condition and the newborn did not become infected with COVID-19.

Be well and stay safe.

Warm Regards,
Eszter Hornyai



Adrian Ivanov

07-29-20: Hello, my name is Adrian Ivanov. I do not have a photograph to accompany this story. Please use one of your own. I approve that. My wife would like a flower. She would be happy if you used a flower to offer hope. My story is not big, but it is my story. My family has not suffered from COVID-19 other than our being worried about it. We know families who have lost people to COVID-19. One woman we know lost two family members. Her grief has paralized her. Her soul has died from the grief. She will not eat, and she is in a difficult condition, very bad. Another person we know lost one uncle. No matter where you are in the world, you can be in danger. Until there is a vaccine, we must do our duty to not infect other people. I am sorry for everyone who is suffering. For those who are not suffering but are very worried, I am with you in heart. I do worry each day. Be wise until there is a vaccine. Then we can dance together and celebrate this tragedy finally ending.

Adrian Ivanov


S O U T H - A U S T R A L I A

Sylvia Anders
South Australia

05-26 26-20: Greetings to you from the state of South Australia! We are currently COVID-19 free. Our last COVID-19 case left hospital on Friday 22nd May 2020. On 26th May, a new case was identified. It was the first new case in South Australia in 19 days.

A lot of teamwork went into getting us to this point. When COVID-19 reached Australia's shores, a command centre was quickly physically built here in South Australia, where key South Australian health officials and other key decision makers could come together daily, monitor the crisis, make day-by-day decisions, and hold media conferences.

Our Department of Health IT Section was inundated with all kinds of requests, such as enabling people to work from home, granting access to additional hospital staff, and setting up shared mailboxes and email distribution lists to facilitate communication specifically relating to COVID-19. I myself was one of the first IT staff members to work from home.

The government TV channel, and our major newspaper here in South Australia, provided daily updates, including the number of active COVID-19 cases, clusters of where they were occurring, and what kind of restrictions were in place for all of us.

At Easter time, everyone received a message on their mobile phones from the government stating, "Stay at Home This Easter and Save Lives." This message went to all phones, regardless of the service providers.

We have lovely weather here at Easter time and it is tradition for many families to go camping. However, because of social distancing requirements, this Easter we were encouraged to stay home.

On ANZAC Day, when Australians and New Zealanders nowadays usually hold a dawn ceremony at a war memorial to commemorate casualties of wars and conflicts, our social distancing rules meant that people stood in their driveways at dawn instead and watched a ceremony online. I took this photograph of the dramatic atmosphere that morning.

Sylvia Anders, Photographer

Schools shut early and before scheduled holidays, but only for a while. When it was discovered that children rarely infect one another with COVID-19, schools were reopened. Attendance was optional for those who wanted to go back to classrooms rather than continue with home schooling.

Our government has been very supportive during this time, providing money to senior citizens so they could spend it and help stimulate the economy, and providing money to business owners who had to close their businesses so the owners could continue to pay their employees. Now there are plans for additional stimulus packages to help speed economic recovery.

I think having health officials leading the way with decisions regarding necessary restrictions, having our government support and value our health officials, and having our government provide economic stimulus packages has given South Australians confidence and has motivated us to respect the restrictions.

Only now are there calls for restrictions to be lifted so Australian football can be played, although the audience will only be viewing games from home. Also, there are calls for our pubs to be reopened.

I have heard of complaints in some other countries that the restrictions were unnecessary and a threat to democracy. Yet, here we are used to quarantines. For example, it is illegal to bring fruit into South Australia from other states, because it can contain fruit fly. We are dealing with an outbreak right now from fruit that was brought in illegally. This little fly can devastate a whole industry.

As in other countries, there has been a lot of panic buying in the beginning of COVID-19. Tissues, toilet paper, sugar, flour, pasta, hand sanitizer, soap, facial masks - all were in short supply in the beginning with some people even driving for an hour or more out of the city and into the country to purchase these items. Now things are more normal again and these items are back on the shelves, although future shortages may occur.

Here are lyrics to a song I wish to include with this story. I wrote the song years ago.

Simple Things
By Sylvia Anders
© All Rights Reserved

Dearest children, what can you see
A beautiful garden or a tall strong tree;
A mountain peak that is ever so high;
Or a shimmering lake, that's reflecting the sky?

Dearest Children, what can you hear,
An owl in the night, hooting loud and clear;
The rustling of leaves as a lizard darts by;
Wind among the pines or a seabird's cry?

Dearest children, can you smell scents sublime
Have your hands brushed through mint, rosemary or thyme?
Are there sweet-scented flowers nearby?
Yet what shall we do when things go awry?

For there will be times for all of us when
Life will not be easy and then
May we find new strength in such simple things:
A sunset that glows or a bird that sings,
The delicate beauty of butterfly wings
And the peace in our hearts that kindness brings.

Strength can be found in the simplest ways
May love and nature, bring strength to your days.
So when things go wrong, please remember this song
And seek simple things that will help you be strong.
Seek simple things that will help you be strong.

Simple Things

Lyrics by Sylvia Anders
Music By Tim Christensen
© All Rights Reserved

Through my workplace, I recently learned that there is an astonishing 90 percent drop in influenza (flu) cases this year compared to the same time last year. I'm sure social distancing and the focus on hand washing hygiene has helped, as has the focus on cough and sneeze etiquette.

For those (in South Australia) who are interested, here is information about South Australia's COVIDSafe Awards.

Wishing you all the best,
Sylvia Anders


U N I T E D - K I N G D O M

Jim Coote
(Hertfordshire, England)

08-07-20: My name is Jim Coote. After 39 years as a research scientist for GSK I put my hand up for redundancy to explore videography as a means to stimulate progress in science and healthcare. To that end I started Mutual Awareness Ltd, but sadly have only found limited paid work. It's a tough field to break into, but at least I've enjoyed developing many nonprofit video projects. These have supported various charities and local events.

Another upside has been learning entirely new animation skills to go with my more ingrained expertise with a video camera. The final pleasure has been to discover the lyricist lurking within my soul that remained dormant for more than 60 years. My first effort at song writing is a track titled, "Accidental Suicide," designed to highlight the critical Climate Emergency we all face.

Unfortunately, although I have a gift for lyrics, I have no tone in my voice. My junior school teacher called me a 'vocal cripple'. He was unkind, but candid and truthful. My friends say my voice reminded them of English singer-songwriter Ian Dury. I guess that's why they are called friends. Anyway, I did not think I would ever write a song about a more important subject than Climate Emergency. I was wrong. Along came COVID-19.

As a scientist I worked on a flu project for two years. I was involved in immunology for the majority of my time. I knew exactly what was likely to happen with COVID-19. I was frustrated and annoyed that many politicians and people in general in the UK, most of Europe, and in the US, were so slow to initiate lockdowns or to put in place what was needed from all of us to combat this widespread disease. I felt a desire and obligation to write, "Stay at Home," to help support the lockdown, albeit a slow down that came much too slowly.

I decided that speed to get the song out there was more important than variety, and therefore, I used the same music I created for "Accidental Suicide." Also, although lyrics come to me quite easily and quickly, music does not. I only have the ability to cobble loops together on Garage Band, rather than play the simplest instrument. It would be quicker to train a horse. Even this attempt was a struggle; hence "Stay at Home" only has original lyrics. I made versions of the song with the lyrics translated into Russian, Portuguese, and Swedish, because these countries were hit quite severely with COVID-19. I was not adventurous enough to sing in those languages. I can barely sing in English, and I thought the world would suffer enough with that one rendition!

As the lockdown was eased in the UK, I made another version in the same style and same music, with different lyrics and images. This third song is titled, "Stay Alert at All Times."

The title, "Stay Alert at All Times" sums up the lyrics and the song was inspired by the words of our Prime Minister. He isn't a man I greatly admire, but it annoyed me when people pretended his "stay alert" message was "too vague." To me that seemed disingenuous and a weak attempt at the kind of political point scoring that we can live without. If either of my COVID-19 songs can save just one life, I'll consider my efforts worthwhile.

Overall, I remain very optimistic about the future regarding our battle against Covid-19. My scientific knowledge gives me insight into the many positive aspects of the quest to create a safe and effective vaccine, along with developing drugs that may support recovery. It is my mission to pass on this confidence via a series of videos on a news channel that will highlight the encouraging aspects of this difficult battle.

The lyrics and music to my songs are all copyrighted. Copyrights were secured to prevent others from using the songs for personal profit. I am keen to allow the use of my songs by any organisation battling COVID-19. Ideally, I hope the lyrics will attract the attention of someone with actual musical talent who will use my songs to raise money for nonprofit organizations and charitable causes.

Everyone, continue to stay alert,
Jim Coote