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How Coronavirus Has Changed Lives Around the World

We are all living through an exceptional time. In late-2019, the world was rocked by COVID-19—a global pandemic that has changed the way we all live our lives. Millions of us around the world are staying indoors, practicing social distancing to protect ourselves, and others, from the disease. We checked in on eight households to see how they are feeling, how they are passing the time, how they are keeping connected to others, and what they are looking forward to in a post-pandemic world.


Mashhad, Iran

Mahbubeh Soltani
at home with her husband, Amir Athar, and their son, Sohrab

While at home during the pandemic, Mahbudeh initially did not feel in the spirit to celebrate the Persian New Year, known as Norouz. For her, Norouz is a feeling of joy, of a new life. But despite the uncertainty of the world around her, she knew that she could create her own good mood.

“I told myself, ‘Why should I avoid this nice feeling?’” she recalls. “Even though the world is not feeling well, we can make ourselves feel better.”


Melbourne, Australia

David Wardell
self-isolating in a tent outside his family’s home

At 73 years old, David Wardell’s father is considered to be at high risk for COVID-19. To do his best to protect his father, David has chosen to sleep in a tent outside his family’s home for 14 days.

“Right now the days are generally blurring into one another,” he says. But he knows that we will all, eventually, work through this together.

“Everything’s going to be OK. It’ll be different, and it won’t be OK for everybody but everything’s going to be OK.”


Quezon City, Philippines

Jeremy Kruis
in home isolation with his mother and his father

Being at home with his parents has its fair share of annoyances, but it’s also brought Justin closer to them, whether that’s through cooking, endless games of Scrabble, or YouTube home workouts. It’s also given him time to reset.

“It’s definitely a time of rejuvenation,” he says. “I can kind of just reflect and be excited about what I'm going to be doing after this time of solitude.”


Rome, Italy

Hélène Nardini
in isolation with her partner, Luca, and their cat, Jon

Everyone has their own way of coping with isolation. For Hélène, that’s dancing. In her neighborhood, a man performs with an accordion every single day, while those in surrounding buildings dance and sing with him, in their homes. It’s moments like these that make Hélène realize how connected we all are.

“I’ve come to understand how beautiful contact is, sometimes we take it for granted,” she says. “It is difficult to think about Italy but I think it is definitely a country that has been reinventing itself for centuries, and we will reinvent ourselves once again."


Budapest, Hungary

Jack Davis
in isolation with his wife, Sara

Jack and his wife, Sara, don’t speak much Hungarian, but they still feel a deep sense of kinship with their neighbors.

“We’ll see them across the window and we’ll wave,” Jack says. “Sometimes we’ll get into conversation and they’ll start shouting things in Hungarian to us and we’ll try to figure them out from far away. You know, we all feel like we’re kind of in this situation together.”


Beijing, China

Connie Oberson
at home with her father and mother, her husband, and their two kids

For Connie, being at home has afforded her time to connect with her family, from cooking breakfast with her son to helping her father navigate the internet.

“My husband and I are usually busy and this situation has given us more time. We can spend more time taking care of our children so it’s been nice. I quite enjoyed our time living together during this.”


Shrewsbury, England

Sue Gatenby
in social isolation with her husband, Richard, and their daughter, Alex

While Sue is anxious about what this pandemic will mean for the future of her country, it has also made her grateful for time spent with her family.

“This experience has taught me how incredibly fortunate I am that I’ve got loved ones who love me. It makes you appreciate the very simple things in life which is not a bad thing.”


Barcelona, Spain

Harriet Farnham
in isolation with her boyfriend, Tim

For Harriet, isolation has been a time to learn how to slow down. Every night at 8 p.m., everyone in her neighborhood joins in to applause and cheer on healthcare workers on the frontlines of this pandemic.

“It’s really emotional, and really exciting, and really lovely, and I burst into tears yesterday and I couldn’t really explain why,” she says. “It’s this really beautiful and really unusual moment of everyone coming together and demonstrating that we’re all in this together.”

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