Sandra Smith Oral History 2020/05/25


Title (Dublin Core)

Sandra Smith Oral History 2020/05/25

Description (Dublin Core)

This interview is the fifth in a collection compiled by Glennda McGann for the COVID-19 Oral History Project
Volunteer researcher for the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute COVID-19 Oral History Project

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Date Submitted (Dublin Core)


Date Modified (Dublin Core)


Interviewer (Bibliographic Ontology)

Glennda McGann

Interviewee (Bibliographic Ontology)

Sandra Smith

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United States

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Transcription (Omeka Classic)

This is not an official transcription, this transcription was created using AI technology.

Interviewer: Glennda McGann
Interviewee: Sandra Smith
Date: May 25, 3030
Location: Milton, Florida

Key words: shut down, quarantine, African American, race, danger, politics, Santa Rosa County, Milton, Florida, economy

Note: This transcript was generated by AI and only very lightly edited and proofed
No abstract was done.

McGann: Well Sandy thank you so much for participating in the COVID-19 oral history project and just for the recording. Would you state the date of this oral history interview.

Smith: It is may 25, 2020.

McGann: Okay and the time.

Smith: 11:09am Central.

McGann: And your name.

Smith: Sandra Smith.

McGann: And what are the primary things that you do on a day to day basis, like your dog your extracurricular activities.

Smith: Well, generally, on a day to day basis for the last couple of months, I've been working from home, I am a para liaison with the Santa Rosa County School District, and basically I work with the liaisons that handle our special needs children and, and it's literally paperwork. It's almost like I'm a secretary for them. And so with our schools closed, I've been working from home. And so normally, I work five days actually, because I found that working from home with all the paperwork, sometimes takes a little longer than when I'm in the office, because there's access to large printers and things like that at the office. In addition on a daily basis, I'm usually working on something for some community volunteer work that I do.

McGann: And where do you live.

Smith: Milton Florida, and it's an actually, it's Santa Rosa County, and we are almost a bedroom community from Pensacola which is the larger city in Escambia County next door. It's a really interesting area that I live in. Santa Rosa county is bisected by a bay and on the north side which is where I live, we have the town of Milton, the community of Pace and on the south side of the bay we have Golf Breeze, and Navarre, which are along the Gulf of Mexico.

McGann: What is it like to live there?

Smith: It's very interesting. It is a beach community more or less, and it's very much a retirement community almost. There's not a lot of industry in Santa Rosa County. So this is an area that a lot of retirees live, and because we have a Whiting field which is a naval airbase in Santa Rosa and then Pensacola Naval Air Station we have quite a few retired military in our area. Young people tend to grow up here tend to go somewhere else when they get into their careers. But it's also very much a family oriented community especially in paste in the bar and golf breeze, and we attract quite a number of people from other states, because our school system isn't a school system. And so, even people that work in Pensacola actually live over here. And because our taxes are lower here. So it's interesting. But the good thing is that it's reachable to quite a few cities
When I first learned about it, it reminded me a little bit of when we had SARS and when they had the Ebola. I was, you know, just trying to figure out how it was transmitted. I didn't just think of it as something from China. That was never in my head that it was something from China or somewhere. Because first of all, the United States is global. And so, you know, whatever happens in Europe or in Asia, nine times out of 10 at some point is going to be here. And so for me and thinking about it, it was basically just hoping that we were able to have the Health Resources and an education about it so that people could figure out about being safe. And I think the more I learned about it and heard about it, for me, especially being in the age group that I'm in, it was I really need to pay attention to. And subsequently, since we've learned so much about it as an African American, even more so.

McGann: How have your thoughts changed since then, do you care to elaborate any more on that progression that you alluded to there at the end?

Smith: I think that we are not really. I don't think people in this country really believe the seriousness of it. I think that it is not going to quote, go away easily. I think it's going, the full potential of it being around for quite a while, is very clear. For me, I have to listen to the scientists, I really, really do. And I don't think we have a handle on it yet, because I don't think they have tested enough people. The fact that a person could walk around and not have any symptoms but can infect other people, is something to think about. And so for me, I am expecting that we're going to have another surge just given the fact that so many people have not taken the safety precautions that our scientists have been recommending. So I will continue to wear a mask. I am not convinced –like I said, I think we're going to have another surge. And so I'm going to continue to take safety precautions for me. Because like I said in Florida last week we had 1200 cases, new cases. And for several days last week we had above, 800, new cases. So that tells me that, given what the CDC has said about level one, level two, level three guidelines, Florida as a state is not going down. We have not had 14 days of lower new cases. And so I just don't think people are believing it enough.

McGann: Are there other issues that are concerning you other than negating and so forth that you just mentioned about the covid 19 pandemic?

Smith: I think that this pandemic is going to have a tremendous effect on our economy, not the big companies, but I'm talking about the small businesses, single proprietorships, the people that own the barber shop or convenience store. That is going to be a shakeout. And there are going to be businesses that will never recover that they will just have to close, because I don't think our economy is going to be the same. And there's not enough help for those people. It concerned me when the stimulus money for businesses was dispersed by government that large companies got money. And that was not right.

Smith: I just didn't agree with that. I know that sometimes large companies. I think they have enough money to weather this and if they don't, then maybe they need to rethink their structure, but the small businesses—the businesses owned by people of color in this country have really struggled. And so I think that that the way our economy looks and works, after this is truly gonna be a little different.

McGann: You mentioned things take longer in your job, are there other ways that COVID-19 has affected your job?

Smith: In our department, we meet with parents, because we help parents plan for the academic needs of their children who have disabilities of various levels. Anything from just a speech issue to children who cannot walk at all, or that are nonverbal or have multiple disabilities, and so all of the meetings are being conducted by virtual meetings or by telephone conferences. The other thing that's different for the people that our department serves is many of them are receiving therapies—occupational, physical, speech therapies, and so the therapists have had to utilize virtual means in order to help work with the parents where the parents is the parent is applying the therapy so that that's been very different. One of the things that I do in my job is, I have to manage the files for all of these kids so I have all these paper documents that have piled up. And one of the issues we have is how to get the signatures for the parents, and for the various people that are part of that meeting that the state government requires.

Smith: So I have sent information to my boss to say I don't know how I'm going to be able to handle these hundreds of IEP forms [IEP stands for Individual Educational Program] that are going to have to be filed in these children's folders and getting signatures on there are up to three pages in everyone that needs signatures of the teachers, the liaison the parents, any therapist any psychologist. And so one of the things I suggested is have the school system 11:46 speak to the state –[and say]. “Can we just as a result of the virus for the rest of this year, use some kind of single sheet with the electronic signatures, so that we can move forward on getting this done?” I have not been back in the school building, since March 216, and our school buildings opens last week, the staff could go in three days, last week in two days this week, but I am not going into the school building because I'm in the high risk group.

Smith: I have an immune system issue with rheumatoid arthritis, and I'm over 65. So, I will go in at some point during the summer, when I think everybody's pretty much finished because the teachers last day to go normally their work date is June 2. So I'm not planning to go into the building until after June 2 when I'll be able to go in by myself. And I'm not engaging with people. My concern is the children going back to school. Our kids are scheduled to go back around the 10th or 12th—something like that. I'm not sure that the schools are prepared for the need for certain safety precautions. Because, like I said, I don't think the COVID-19 will be totally eradicated by the time that kids go back in August. And the ability to have children separated and everything in the school system, I don't know. A a lot of parents, friends of mine that are parents that have children in school and they're saying I really don't want my kids to go back. So that's something I'm sure we will be talking about before school starts: what do we do about the parents who do not want their children to go back and will they be able to do virtual learning which is what we have had?

Smith: I was looking at one program recently and someone that had been involved in education said, truly parents have not been able to do the work. They have not been able to for the last two months, to give their kids but they need it. Well actually almost two and a half months. And so someone suggested, you know, maybe it would be better if all of the kids just repeated their current grade, so they could get caught back up and not go into the school year with a deficit. I know that parents, people would scream about that I'm sure, especially those students that are juniors going into being a senior and especially I'm thinking middle and elementary level. The high school kids were all getting theirs virtually but parents here were sent home packets of work for the elementary, and some of the middle school, and I have seen emails from parents saying, I don't know how you expect for me to do this. I have to work, especially if they were an essential employee. And this is what this woman said I've got a two year old at home. I'm an essential employee, how do you expect me to do this schoolwork. That someone from the school gonna come here and do it. So I think that the children are going to have a loss. And I'm not sure how we make it up, and I'm not sure. The level of parents, comfort, the level of comfort they'll have come August.

McGann: How has COVID-19 changed your employment status.

Smith: It hasn't at all. I mean it's fine. I'm school system. It hasn't affected us at all, because like I said we've all continued to work, at home, and are expected to go back as normal.

McGann: How has the covid 19 pandemic affected the employment of people you know

Smith: It has affected people who work in a like the small businesses around here and the restaurants. There was, you know, we opened the restaurants, especially in though, that those industries have beauty shops barber shops restaurant those, those kinds of places. They opened them first at 25% and outdoor seating you could be outside, or you can have 25% inside. And so we had, employees, some people who work, who said it's not worth me going back when the restaurant is only operating at 25%. And they're not going to make enough money to pay me, and then if I go back, I have to deal with child care. And it's easier for me to just continue to get my unemployment. And there was some feeling that if you choose to do that technically, you're committing fraud because you were asked to come back and I don't know any if anything has happened about that because first of all, so many people in Florida only about 25% of the people who filed for unemployment haven't gotten it yet. And that's been a real issue the state had replaced the person heading up that department back in. Maybe the end of April, but we still have so many people who haven't gotten their first check. And that's been the real issue here. Um, the same thing for people who work at businesses around the beach because those businesses, they're not able to open the open yet. And so their employees are without funds and like I said people. I know a few people that have small restaurants. Food Truck kind of things and, and there's no money. And then, again, qualifying for some of the stimulus money you've got to have the right kind of banking relationship. And I was on. I was on a townhall conference call with the Congressional Black Caucus, talking about the stimulus money and small businesses and businesses of color and they were saying that most businesses of color are, they are their own employee or they may have one employee. They don't have the relationships with the larger banks that's where the money is coming through and the banks are not taking the time to reach out to them. And so, there were people on it from the Small Business Administration who said them. The best way for a lot of those people who should they should be working through credit unions and community banks, because a lot of large banks don't have branches in African American communities anymore. And so it's hard for them to get through the paperwork to get the money because their access is very limited. So, it has affected those people a lot. And of course with people not going out and, you know, people are cooking at home or so, if people decide to order something they're probably going to call someplace like Chili's or supposedly or some of those larger companies, they're not going to call Mr. Jones over here that does Caribbean food out of his food truck.

McGann: How has COVID-19 affected you and or your family's day to day activities,

Smith: lack of social engagement. You know I live in a community that since moving here, I am built really good relations with friends here, and even in the area that I live in my cousin has catty corner across the street and then I have neighbors across the street and up the street. And so we usually get together for a lot of things. And just to share and engage. And so, we have just recently, I would say, two weeks ago, for the first time decided to all beat five of us who all live right here in the same room together. And that was just two weeks ago on a Friday. And, and so we, I just wanted to do some fish one Friday and so then they said well let's just all you know what we've been doing is, if someone cooks something they want us they come to the door with a carry out container and put it in the door. So that was the first time we were all in the room together and the only reason we were comfortable with them being in the room because we have all been not going out we've been wearing our masks you know we stand at the end of our driveways and cry, and talk across the street. So I felt okay for those people, the other four people to come in my house. So that has really limited it it just being able to go out at all to the movie or things like that, eating out is not been a big issue for me because I've cooked at home a lot anyway. For my extended family. It affected, it affected them. My grandson in Ohio, had planned to come down and stay with me for about a month, because he was trying his department was abolished at his job and you know he he was going through outsourcing and he was okay financially. So he had said well I might come down for about a month and stay with you and I can help you with your campaign stuff and stuff voter stuff that you do, but of course now he cannot come and normally family come down in the summer we always try to find a couple holidays where we get together and so what we did was we zoomed, we did a zoom meeting on Mother's Day. And so that was good because my daughter and I'm in Texas and Indiana and Ohio and so we all got on zoom. And of course, you know they were saying we won't be, we weren't aren't going to come down this year. That was that that was different for us. And I normally go up to Ohio at least once during the summer and I had plans to come to Indiana for my youngest grandson's First Communion which was changed, and canceled. So that changed a lot of those kinds of things for me with my family. And we. So now I'm sitting here with two airplane credits, because I was supposed to go to something else. So I have two airplane credits for flights and I don't know when when that will happen because the concern of being on an airplane right now is very high for me. So I don't see me, even flying to visit anyone, maybe by December, maybe it just depends on what happens next when all this opens up over the summer and into the fall and what its gonna look like. So yeah family togetherness is not there so we've just decided we'll do a zoom meeting maybe once a month or every six weeks just to talk to one another that way I mean we're always in contact, but this way we can see each other's faces.

McGann: How are you managing your day to day activities in your household.

Smith: Well, I do go out, I've been going out shopping, maybe once a week, and I go during the senior citizen hours, which is normally from eight to 10, or seven to nine in the morning, depending on what store you're going to. So, when I go I tried to do everything at once. Going into the store, of course I have masked I have my gloves on. And I, and we have one way aisles, up and down in our grocery stores here now. So that helps so no one's coming towards you. So going out once a week for groceries, is that what I am doing day to day is doing little things in the house like I redid my closet because I had extra time and I'm trying to look at more. I'm looking at more TV. I've been reading a lot. Thank God for online books from our local library. So that's been helping but normally I would be out and about, a little bit more, and we can't go to the gym, that's an issue because of the weight gain. I am cooking more comfort food, but I call comfort food. I want. I even decided to bake bread.

Smith: But, there you go, the stores here cannot keep any nice. Everyone's baking, and the flour to go in the store to buy flour and it's half empty you're allowed one bag, and that so I find myself cooking more of things that I just would really like to have that are not good for me, nutritionally like macaroni and cheese and things like that are baking. I, I want to bake I make blueberry coffee cake. I'm the only one eating it and that's bad or things like that so I'm doing more cooking in the house, because it just helps fill up the time, and I don't know just you keep trying to get through the day. Now what is going to be different for me is after this week, I will not have schoolwork to do. So, you know, up until till this point, I considered myself going to work every day at my dining room table. So now I after this week, I won't, I won't be doing schoolwork. At home, so I will have a lot more free time. I am walking now. We finally decided to walk so a neighbor and another friend we're doing three days a week, where we have a circular street in our communities so we just do several rounds of that. We're going to do enough rounds to a we do three miles, three days a week, and another neighbor of the street had posted on Facebook that she was doing Tai Chi. And so that sounded very interesting to me and I might think about going over where is that a community center because this outside, and you don't have, you can social distance. And so that's that's important. So I'm trying to think of things, health wise because I've gained weight and I'm gonna gotta get get with it and quick plan around about that and click cooking things. So that that for my day to day is has changed, and so I look around the house and think of things to do that I normally would probably wait till summer or when I'm home all day. To do so, I've done a few things like that. We had a storm recently that came through here. So a lot of my time has been thinking about had all my trees in the backyard cut down and I don't have any shade back there and so I was sowing grass seed but now I'm trying to make plans on how can I have a decent yard now with no trees in it. And so, those kinds of things I'm researching I Italian gardens. I just want an eye Thai themed backyard. So that's going to keep me busy because I've got to research a lot of stuff on trees and paths and things like that so that's gonna be my project over the summer.

McGann: Ok, what have been your biggest challenges. During this pandemic

Smith: weight gain, lack of exercise. Those are the two biggest challenges for me. The other thing and I don't I don't consider it a challenge, but I'm a member of three organizations. And we all switched over to zoom meetings instead of live meetings. And so I am spending a lot more time at my computer, other than schoolwork, but for the volunteer organizations that are in the political organizations that I'm a part of. And so, I have to make sure that I'm not spending too much time so much time that you know it's you can get here yesterday I spent at least eight hours on the computer, designing a newsletter.

Smith: But I need to not try to do all this stuff myself, you know, so I would say though the biggest challenges for me, have been weight gain and lack of exercise, because I'm not out and about like I normally am and I'm not at school, but the refrigerator is right there.

McGann: What have you and your family and you mentioned a little bit about just starting to walk with your neighbors but are there other things that you've done for recreation, like shows or games, you mentioned the library but anything else you wanted to add there recreation wise.

Smith: No, I'm a big reader, and that's been my saving grace is to be able to get a good book and kind of escape into it.

Smith: I really don't have a good hobby. I've worked on my plants. Now I have been doing gardening with my plants, mostly in pot because of the storm it damaged a lot of my plants and things so I've been resurrecting those and putting in some new, new things. So I have been working on that. and in fact I was thinking today about going to pick up some more plants, but I'm going to wait because I want to do more herbs in the garden. So that's been been something to be doing recreationally and watching a lot of films with subtitles. I love films with subtitles and so I've been able to find between things like Netflix and Amazon Prime I've been able to find some really good movies that are not just traditional movies but, but have some different things and things like that. I'm also have been writing postcards.

Smith: As you know, we're in the middle of an election. And so, as part of our democratic group. We can't go and canvass voters we can't go out and knock on doors. So we've been doing a lot of mailing postcards addressing them to voters with messages and so I've been doing a lot of that, too. Yeah, we've sent all out. I think I've done about 150 and I just got a new packet. This morning delivered to me, for me to address and mail to voters to work on voting by mail we're really working to get people to see that it's especially with the pandemic. It's an option that at least if you sign up for the vote by mail ballot, then you don't have to use it you can still go in person if you choose to but if we have a surge. Then you have something else that you're insured you can still do your civic duty. So that's something I've been working a lot on as well.


McGann: How is the covid 19 outbreak affected your community and you know you can be part of many communities, schools, clubs, churches, your mouths, about any of those you would choose to.

Smith: Well, a couple of things I've been involved in the group that I'm in. We have a young man that is a doctor at the, er, in our Medical Center in our county. And so we you know we we talked to him and so we decided to bring food to the medical workers because we felt like we needed to be able to do something. And so, my cousin and I, we went over and took them. Breakfast pastries and stuff. And then we know that there's a lack of food. There are a lot of people that don't have enough food to eat. And so we, our organization the executive committee and the Black Caucus, we did a fundraiser. We each put up money. And then we were able to get it matched and so we were able to raise 30 $500 to go to feeding the Gulf Coast, so that they could provide food to people in the community, so that those things were really important to us because we know so many people did not have enough to eat. They just had to say. And so the other thing that I worked on as. I'm a hospice volunteer and so a lot of the hospice patients they're getting essential visitors but other things that they normally would do for them, and those of us that are over 65, we were not able to go and do things. So I've been writing cards to hospice patients, that's another thing I worked on to just say I'm thinking about you and I hope you're okay and I hope that you know you're having a good day. So that's what they've asked volunteers to do so I did that bought cards and symbols off to hospice patients things. So that's been you know it's just a lot of little things like that. That from the community standpoint, and at church you met You're making me think of all these things that I didn't consider really overly important, but the church that I've been attending.

Smith: We had gotten because I'm involved with this political politics in the community, the mayor of Milton was, as I was looking for some things to do. And we have. There is a motel that's in. In, not far from my house but over in town. And that's where homeless people live, they have homeless families there, because they're like those, they have those efficiency little hotel rooms with the stove and stuff. And so the mayor was wanting to do some more things so I asked the pastor of our church, I gave her the mayor's number and sent them there let her know that she was going to contact her. So it ended up that the mayor helped with providing food boxes for the people in there and then they did a hotdogs and stuff for the kids, and then craft bags so the kids had crafts that they could take with you know have with them and everything so that ended up being a really good event that came out of just bringing people together who had the desire to do something so yeah we've you know there's just all kinds of little things that we've been doing but you don't think of it as like major is just what you do.

McGann: How have the opinions activities and relationships, of people around you changed in response to this pandemic.

Smith: I think people are more aware of the number of people in our community, that just don't have the resources that they need. Um, I also think that it's made people more health conscious of, you know, just not, not, maybe not washing your hands enough, things like that.

Smith: Also masks, making I know two people who were sewing masks, and that normally did not do that kind of thing. They just jumped in and got out their old sewing machine and started my neighbor across the street and another person I know, have been making mass to distribute through the medical center and through the social service agencies to people. So I think it's made people think again about the community we live in, and the needs and. And again, what is going to be different after the pandemic. And I think is politically, politically, it is just. People don't feel like our country was prepared enough for this. And so people work [?] toilet paper. I mean, honestly. Well, I'll tell you. Normally, every so often, we go to Sam's Club, my cousin's and you know we stocked up. And probably, it was the end of February, maybe she had went to Sam's Club and I had her. Buy me the big pack with 48 rolls of toilet paper. And the big paper towel packet. And, and I already had some, you know, the normal amount you would have but then I do that now I'll have to buy it for almost a year. And it turned out my daughter in Dallas was just having a hard time finding toilet paper, because it's a much bigger city, or they had people price gouging. And so I ended up sending her a box of toilet paper out of because I had this big packet and paper towels, and I just mailed it to her. So things like that you know makes you aware of, you know, if we, if we truly went through this, that our supply chain is not what it needs to be, you know, that you could be cut up and then limitations in the grocery store you know you can only buy one of this, or one of that I don't know if it's everywhere but definitely in our area. You can only buy one packet of meat or one packet of chicken or one packet of hamburger, things like that. I think has made people more aware of supply and demand.

Smith: And also, health healthcare issues, and the health care system, overall, and also the fact that not everyone has access to the same things like testing. Finally, I guess about three weeks ago they started doing tests here for anyone who wanted to test. So, and that's when we started seeing more cases, because it was just anyone who felt like they wanted to test or they had. Yes, you know, want to make sure they hadn't been exposed and they didn't know it. And we started seeing more cases. So, like I said, Milton, the city of Milton has a population of just over 10,000, but it has 200 cases that's high per capita of population for a small city of only just over 10,000. But that only, they only really figured it out after they started testing, more people. So, I know that this weekend, I think I'm going to be more cautious, even more cautious because I see the hundreds of people on the beach, and they're not social distancing and they're not wearing masks. So for me, that means, in the next two weeks, I need to be even more cautious because these people are not doing what they need to do.

McGann: So, speaking of which sell by isolation, flatten the curve, have been two key ideas, emerging during this pandemic. Um, so, how do you see the response to those ideas of self isolation flattening the curve in your family and then in the broader community.

Smith: You know, as far as people, whether that the self isolation was not a problem for any of my family, or any of my friends, either. It was something we needed to do to protect ourselves. And I, and I think that was, that was the feeling of people, it wasn't, I didn't see it as a major problem. I know that maybe for some of the younger people in the family or in community as a whole. Because, you know, as a retiree, you know, you're going to get your retirement checks, and you can be at home. But when you've got younger people and some of whom have the kind of jobs that I like I said are precarious, we don't know what's going to happen with their jobs. And then self isolation for people with children, I have a friend in Ohio. And she has a her grandson and great granddaughter have been staying with her. Well self isolation with a four year old in your house. At our age is different. I mean you know she's like, Oh my God, because you've got to keep this kid occupied and the energy is different than if you were just home by yourself. I think for people who are not used to being on their own or living alone. The self isolation. I think it really caused people that have to get real creative. For me, I'm used to living alone and, you know, I'm the only one in the house 99% of the time so it didn't bother me to be isolated at all, but I think for people with families. It was a totally new experience and you didn't have all these outside things like, you know, going to the restaurant or going to the playground or going to the park or things to occupy your children, and you had to learn how to keep them busy and stay in now.

McGann: What has been your direct experience you or anyone you know with the COVID-19 sickness.

Smith: I don't know anyone personally with COVID-19, my neighbor across the street her daughter up in Atlanta, had kovat. And so, but she got okay. But, you know, I don't know anyone personally that actually had it. And I'm thankful for that. You know, I really am but I feel for the people who have gone through it, because it sounds like a terrible, terrible experience.

McGann: In what ways do you think COVID-19 is affecting people's mental and or physical health you've touched on the exercise issue for people that are sheltering in place.

Smith: Yeah, I think that's a big, big issue for people. I think it's a bigger issue for people who live in cities where they walk a lot like the New York's and places like that here you know we live in a car society, so we could still get in our car and drive. As long as we're not bothered you can just get in your car and go for a long drive. Look at the sun, last year music up if you need to. But I think for other people the stress of it is, is, is much more and, and they need the stress relief. And I think that's the mental health issue is going to be a problem. Also I think the. I know the number of calls around concerns around Domestic Abuse and Child Abuse. We've had a few more cases in our area, but not as many as, probably in some other areas. Yeah.

McGann: What have been your primary sources of news during the pandemic.

Smith: I listen to my local news. I do not watch talking head programs. I will look at CNN, occasionally, but I look at my local news I listened to the press releases by the governor and, and both governors Alabama and Florida because we share TV stations. And then Dr. Fauci. I mean to hear from Dr. Fauci dr Burks. Those are the two people that I listen to. I don't want to hear all these other theories, I don't want to hear the political spin on it. I want to hear from the scientists. So that's been my source of news as far as the pandemic I listened to our local news because they give the case count, an update every day at four o'clock news comes on the health department's report. And then, like I said, you know, the press release, the governor was normally doing a daily press meeting, and I would hear him, but also Dr. Fauci or dr Burks were on talking about the pandemic. I listened I wanted to hear what they had to say. Because I think there's a lot of opinion out there and if you're not a doctor, I'm not interested in hearing what you have to say.

McGann: Oh, I was just gonna say have your news sources changed during the past a lot, not really.

Smith: I mean, because I want to, I have a problem with a lot of the news where they have four or five people up there talking about stuff all the time, because it's only just their opinion I the one other national news source that I do look at is NPR, and NPR I will listen to their news because it's not a lot of frantic. You know, it's feels more factual. So I look at NPR news hour on a national basis. And I look at our local news, and then the 530 national news but that's it, and then NPR but I don't look at the MSNBC sees in the CNN and hear all these people opinion I'm not interested in hearing all of that and then I can read the newspaper. Usually the New York Times Online.

McGann: Are there important issues do you think that the media, may or may not be covered.

Smith: I think they can only cover so much you know, I am not thinking I mostly I feel like they're talking about all the things that are important maybe they don't talk a lot about. I think they're trying to give you good information but also an opportunity to hear some good things here about people being creative people helping other people during that, not for my, you know, our local news and the National 530 or six o'clock, you know, with Norah O'Donnell knows I think they're trying to give us facts but, and also give us hope.

McGann: have municipal leaders and government officials in your community responded to the outbreak, you mentioned your mayor and the homeless folks that were in the motel.

Smith: Yeah, and I think they tried to make things available we have a really good emergency management system here, and the health department. So I think they've responded as best they can. I think that from the state level down. I think there should have been a little more emphasis on mask wearing and making it mandatory and no one has.

Smith: But, you know the social distancing and things like that but they've done the best they can, given what we're working with, you know, they're not pandemic people they're not medical people. The best thing you can do is try to see that people in our community have food. And if they don't have access to it, other than going to the store spending their money, making sure that the medical center is ready to, to take care of people. And so, yeah, I think that's been okay, you know, as far as going to the doctor and things like that you can have a, you can have a telepath meeting with your doctor you don't have to go to the office and they've been pretty accommodating about that when you go into any of the hospitals or things like that immediately at the door your temperature is taken, you know, a mask is given to you, I had to do a doctor's appointment, and that's immediate. So yeah, I think they've done okay lawfully I think they. I think that they have to take some of their shoes from federal. But I think, you know, on a local level I think they've done. Okay.

McGann: Okay. Do you have any other thoughts about the differences in the response among the local, state and federal levels to the crisis.

Smith: You know I think federally. The shutting down, quote unquote shutting down the country.

Smith: I think it was the right thing to do. I know there were people like the protesters who felt like their rights were being taken because they had to stay home or they couldn't go to work, and I think there comes a point when the concept of more people dying versus your freedom to come and go, the health of the nation supersedes it. I absolutely believe that, because if you don't have a nation, that's healthy your economy's not gonna work anyway because you won't have anybody to work. And you're going to have a whole lot of high medical bills that people can't pay, which I know the hospitals have been seeking federal support. I didn't like to see the back and forth between the scientists and the President, I think you you were clear you could clearly see the tension. Which, you know, Americans should not have to see that, and I think it became political to political, this is about taking care of the country, not about, you know, wanting to feather your nest so you get reelected in November and I felt like that, even though the President was talking about covert stuff it was always about him. And what he's doing and what he's done. And I don't think he showed the kind of respect for the scientists that he should have. So for me, he wasn't it for me. I think he could have done a better job and showing respect for those people no one knows what's going on and people's bodies, and what needs to happen with the country. And I felt like this, you know, disrespect that he showed for the scientists was not not appropriate.

McGann: Well, Sandy just three more questions.

McGann: How has your experience transformed how you think about your family your friends and your community.

Smith: Oh, you know, um, I just think we need, you know, for me, I'm appreciative of my family I'm appreciative no one got ill. Number one, that was one thing. Of course my community and friends, you know, I'm just happy that we were here to support one another I think you know this was a time of support, even if it's just on the telephone, you know, an email, Facebook post. I think that that was important. You know that we continue to have that kind of support for one another and checking on one another. what did happen as, aside from this is friends that I normally don't spend much time, you know, we, they live in other parts of the country they're not the closest circle of friends that I heard from people I had not heard from, you know, for maybe a year or even more and and no little talk talk and catch up. And so I've talked to several people that I normally don't talk to that often, you know we're friends but everybody is living their life, you know, but that has been a positive for me, because we've reached out to one another and taught that you know that we just get busy and we don't have time to talk, whereas the friends right here are right here, immediate, but other people in distant places, that's been a very positive thing for me to have conversations with people are one of my friends in Ohio and she said, I'm just calling you because I'm getting bored now. And so let's talk or, you know, stuff like that and that was really great because and, are you okay and how's it going for you. So to know there were still people who cared and we we reconnected in a, in, and that you know was a positive out of the pandemic for me. Yeah.

McGann: Knowing what you know now what do you think that individuals, communities, or governments need to keep in mind for the future.

Smith: I think one of the things we need to keep in mind is that, that we are not invincible. I think that we need to understand that we can be vulnerable to a lot of things, and that we need to be a little more prepared. Personally, you know, like, you know, we need an emergency.

Smith: Maybe people will think more about having an emergency fund. When, when this is an unexpected thing. And I know for a lot of people, and I think God that, not me, personally, but for a lot of people they've depleted their resources, and so that that's gonna be tough to come out I think people will curb, that we need to. We had a session at the end of one of my meetings and, and one of the things that I said was, I have a lot more money in my pocket, because I'm not out and about walking around in the store just, you know, and I'm doing frivolous shopping. You know I'm buying things just because oh I really like that. But do I really need it, and I think this. This situation is going to change some of that. I think people are gonna pay more attention to their resources and the conservation of their resources so that in the future when something like this would happen that you're a little more prepared financially. And I think mentally I think has helped people understand that we can get through things like this and be okay. Because, even with the SARS it. This was country wide really country wide and and affected everybody well, even though you may not have had the covid are, but the because of the COVID you got to change your home lifestyle. And I think it's gonna cause us to change things on a permanent basis certain things on a permanent basis. I know for me I won't, I won't be shopping frivolously my bank account looks better. Because of COVID, and I haven't missed a beat. You know, I still have the things I like. But I just know now that I need, I can live a little smarter with my resources, and then to, I need to pay attention to my health again and not do a slide like this.

McGann: Are there any other thoughts you would like to add Sandy.

Smith: I don't think so. You did a great interview Glenda. I like the fact that they're doing this to hear from people, real people. In this I think it's great. I think have covered it all I'm just thankful that, you know, so far so good but man, the people that I know and I hope it continues. And I just wanna, I just have to wait and see.

McGann: Well thank you, Sandy we're very grateful that you participated

Smith: Thank you for thinking of me, of course, appreciate it. Great.

Date Accepted (Dublin Core)

2020/05/25 1:37:46 PM AST

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