Fears of COVID from within the archive

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Fears of COVID from within the archive

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Yesterday was my first official day as a curator at A Journal of the Plague Year. The only feelings I had were of complete joy and gratitude to be able to have a job, one where I get to do something that interests me, at that. But as the day went on, I began to feel something that many have tweeted about. I started to feel achy and I was coughing. Some have tweeted something like, "is it allergies or COVID?", and while I should have reflected on the fact that I had not taken my crucial allergy medicine in two days (I am severely allergic to dogs, yet I have two of them in my small apartment), I spent a good hour bundled up and lying in bed. By the afternoon, I felt completely fine.
It was one thing when I would have these fleeting moments of panic, or see people online posting about their own, in the past. But it seemed to be a particularly interesting moment that right when I start a job at an archive documenting the COVID-19 pandemic, I experience one of the specific anxieties of actually living in that pandemic. I think this short instant shows how the the pandemic is both all-encompassing of everyday life and shows up in particular moments. It is at the same time impersonal and extremely personal. Despite the fact that even the illusion of being an observer is inherently participation, in one moment I went from being an outside observer of the pandemic to being subject to the worries it causes.

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This item was submitted on October 16, 2020 by Seth Moller using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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