COVID-19 Diaries

Living and coping amid the pandemic

Editor's note: Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Voice of America journalists around the world are working to bring accurate news and information to our audience.  Here are some of their personal stories.

In England's picture-postcard Berkshire village of Cookham, along the River Thames, the locals appeared to be observing the mask rule. “We are a well-behaved lot around here,” said Sandy, a barista at Mr. Cooper's Coffee House. (Jamie Dettmer/VOA)
'I had been expecting, when I left Heathrow Airport last week, to see a masked England. But masks were less in evidence than in the United States' 
Jamie Dettmer
Mon, 07/27/2020 - 03:37 PM
COVID-19 Diaries: Can Tanzania Really Be Coronavirus-Free?
The president’s claim defies logic, but I saw no signs of a pandemic on the streets of Dar es Salaam 
Ruud Elmendorp
Mon, 07/20/2020 - 12:07 PM
COVID-19 Diaries: Can Tanzania Really Be Coronavirus-Free?
00:02:35
The president’s claim defies logic, but I saw no signs of a pandemic on the streets of Dar es Salaam
Finding Solace During a Pandemic  
The frustrations of telework and learning new software are eased by a greater appreciation for the environment
 Carol Pearson
Mon, 06/22/2020 - 01:10 PM
COVID-19 Diaries: No Lockdown, Few Shutdowns, but Taiwan Feels Like It’s Fighting a Pandemic
00:01:56
VOA correspondent is sheepishly role-playing during pandemic in Taiwan
Ralph Jennings
Fri, 06/05/2020 - 05:00 PM
FILE - Customers eat in a cafe after more than seven weeks of coronavirus restrictions, in Sydney, Australia, May 15, 2020.
Who would have thought that breakfast with friends in a beachside cafe would seem like such a treat?
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Tue, 05/26/2020 - 02:47 PM
In this April 13 2006, photo, provided by the Lucas family, Marine Lance Cpl. Kevin Adam Lucas poses while serving in Anbar
Almost every year since 2010, writer Gary Fields has visited the grave of Lance Corporal Kevin Adam Lucas, a U.S. Marine who died in 2006 on a mission in Iraq's Anbar province
AP logo
Mon, 05/25/2020 - 11:55 AM
Baking Soothes Coronavirus Blues for Locked Down Americans
00:02:34
Flour shortage looms as frazzled shut-ins look to comfort foods for solace
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Sat, 05/23/2020 - 01:34 AM
Suburb Kids Learn from Puppies, Fitness Circuit
Along my suburban street, the neighbors are working together to keep the children healthy and entertained
Carolyn Presutti
Fri, 05/22/2020 - 01:12 PM
Suburb Kids Learn from Puppies, Fitness Circuit
00:02:10
Parents get creative and invent COVID activities
Carolyn Presutti
Fri, 05/22/2020 - 12:31 PM
COVID-19 Diaries: Pandemic Postponed My Sudan Wedding
Typical Sudanese wedding has thousands of guests, but that is not possible now
Naba Mohiedeen
Thu, 05/21/2020 - 04:12 PM
Celia Mendoza records a stand up on 34th street and 8th Ave after interviewing a street vendor about COVID and the economy.
As New York moves toward a new normal, we learn to share the precious gift of life
Celia Mendoza
Tue, 05/19/2020 - 10:45 AM
In this picture taken on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, a woman walks her dog in Venice, Italy.
Even the city’s famed canals are cleaner without the millions of yearly visitors
Sabina Castelfranco
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 11:59 AM
COVID-19 Diaries: Experiencing Pregnancy and Childbirth Amid Coronavirus in Nigeria
Adding to our anxiety, the doctor failed to pick up his phone just when my wife's contractions seemed the strongest
Ifiok Ettang
Fri, 05/15/2020 - 11:09 AM
No reporters are in sight at the Mezzanine at the State Department where stands-ups and interviews are usually conducted. It has remained largely empty since the coronavirus outbreak. (Nike Ching/VOA)
 While most employees are still working remotely, the US State Department has started a 'phased' approach to bringing staff back
Nike Ching
Thu, 05/14/2020 - 06:24 AM
COVID-19 Diaries: Reuniting With Mami Amid Global Restrictions
Bringing my mother from Indonesia to Washington was a weeks-long ordeal
Patsy Widakuswara, Senior White House Correspondent
Tue, 05/12/2020 - 12:07 PM
COVID-19 Diaries: Trapped in Tanzanian Paradise
Kenyan immigration told me I would be able to come home if I traveled, then the policy changed
Ruud Elmendorp
Mon, 05/11/2020 - 02:03 PM
COVID-19 Diaries: Trapped in Tanzanian Paradise
00:01:27
Kenya-based reporter Ruud Elmendorp who was visiting a friend in Tanzania in March when the country confirmed its first COVID-19 infection, has been stuck in Dar es Salaam
Ruud Elmendorp
Mon, 05/11/2020 - 11:20 AM
Making the Days Count During the COVID Lockdown
My goal not just to survive our time in isolation, but to find some meaningful moments in our day-to-day existence
Julie Taboh
Thu, 05/07/2020 - 01:26 PM
Dora Mekouar and her husband on their "empty nest moon" in London, November 2019. (Dora Mekouar/VOA)
After sending our youngest son off to college last fall, my husband and I were just settling into a routine driven by us, rather than our children's schedules
Dora Mekouar
Wed, 05/06/2020 - 12:54 PM
We’re Supposed to be Empty-nesting
00:02:01
After sending our youngest son off to college last fall, my husband and I were just settling into a routine drive by us, rather than our children’s schedules
Dora Mekouar
Wed, 05/06/2020 - 12:34 PM
A kiteboarder walks past people sitting on the sand in front of Alcatraz Island at a Crissy Field East Beach
Agreeing on a few rules for careful socializing: Handwashing? Of course. Visitors? Ride the bus? No!  
Michelle Quinn
Mon, 05/04/2020 - 11:42 AM
Tearing Down a Wall: How to Talk to My Kids Friends About Maybe Tearing Down the Wall Between Us    
00:02:06
Agreeing on a few rules: Handwashing, visitors, ride the bus?
Michelle Quinn
Mon, 05/04/2020 - 11:08 AM
Catching Up With My Distant Family During Nigeria's Lockdown
The hospital where a reporter's father is supposed to go for follow-ups is at the center of Nigeria’s COVID-19 battle
Timothy Obiezu
Fri, 05/01/2020 - 03:11 PM
Cornfield Trail: A trail overlooking a 40-acre cornfield which saw some of the most ferocious fighting of the 1862 Battle of Antietam. (Jamie Dettmer/VOA)
West Virginia’s flinty residents find strength in recalling the 1918 flu epidemic and the 1862 battle of Antietam
Jamie Dettmer
Thu, 04/30/2020 - 12:33 PM
COVID Dairies - What Meaning Will History Subsequently Accord this Pandemic?
00:02:38
West Virginia, a scenic, slower-paced state in the tree-covered Appalachian Mountains, has been lightly touched in comparison with its neighbors — it was the last US state to record a coronavirus case 
Jamie Dettmer
Thu, 04/30/2020 - 09:56 AM
A rainbow sign and message is seen in Herne Hill, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, London
Clear skies and birdsong have people talking about the sort of country we want when it's over
Henry Ridgwell
Wed, 04/29/2020 - 12:34 PM
Windowsill Concerts and other COVID Music
Neighbors show no interest in opera singing, but musicians still find ways to perform 
Esha Sarai
Tue, 04/28/2020 - 12:13 PM
People are seen holding roses outside the Hospital Clinic on Saint George's Day (Sant Jordi)
VOA Barcelona reporter Alfonso Beato shares his secret for making his children feel safe during uncertain times
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Mon, 04/27/2020 - 02:21 PM
In Spain, Routine Keeps Parents and Children Sane During Lockdown
00:01:43
In Barcelona the city has been quiet for months. It’s required everyone to change and adapt to a new normal
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Mon, 04/27/2020 - 11:20 AM
A policewoman wears a mask to protect herself against the spread of the new coronavirus, left, patrols at the garden of the…
Coronavirus restrictions have shuttered French parks, but one is accessible outside Paris—with a link to the US
Lisa Bryant
Thu, 04/23/2020 - 11:41 AM
In France, Learning Nature's Lessons During Lockdown
00:01:46
Coronavirus restrictions have shuttered French parks, but one is accessible outside Paris- with a link to the US
Lisa Bryant
Thu, 04/23/2020 - 11:16 AM
Reporters are seated a social distance apart as President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House, April 15, 2020, in Washington.
While social distancing thins White House briefing room, it can still be too close for comfort
Steve Herman
Wed, 04/22/2020 - 12:41 PM
White House Correspondents Share the Risk Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
00:01:32
For the first three years of the Trump administration, our White House bureau chief, Steve Herman, and his colleagues took turns in VOA’s assigned seat in the fourth row for briefings – one of 49 seats in the room
Steve Herman
Wed, 04/22/2020 - 12:07 PM
At our apartment in Istanbul, April 20, 2020. (Heather Murdock/VOA))
For VOA Istanbul correspondent Heather Murdock and her partner, the war in Libya, the financial crisis and the virus are plenty to worry about
Heather Murdock
Tue, 04/21/2020 - 12:41 PM
COVID-19 Diaries: War Doesn’t Care About Virus
00:01:31
Many families around the world are now separated by quarantines and closed airports as the world reacts to the coronavirus. But for families from war-torn countries, that separation is sometimes the least of their problems.
Heather Murdock
Tue, 04/21/2020 - 12:08 PM
Working from home, like millions of others in Turkey, with outside life all but over, as government seeks to contain Covid 19. (Courtesy D. Jones)
My 12-year-old son Mir has been the quickest among us to adapt to life at home
Dorian Jones
Mon, 04/20/2020 - 02:01 PM
COVID-19 Diaries: Living With the unknown as Pandemic Widens in Istanbul
00:01:16
Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city is the center of Covid 19, with more infections and deaths than the rest of the country. The city like the rest of the country are enforcing social distancing. We hear from our Istanbul reporter Dorian Jones
Dorian Jones
Mon, 04/20/2020 - 01:53 PM
The marquee for the Hollywood Bowl concert venue bears a coronavirus-related message, March 27, 2020, in Los Angeles.
Since the lockdown, the film crews have disappeared and so have most of the cars on the normally congested freeways
Elizabeth Lee, of VOA's Los Angeles Bureau
Fri, 04/17/2020 - 11:09 AM
Living in a Real-Life Hollywood Disaster Movie in Los Angeles
00:01:46
Surreal streets of Los Angeles feel like a Hollywood movie set
Elizabeth Lee, of VOA's Los Angeles Bureau
Fri, 04/17/2020 - 10:48 AM
Poulou daughters
Concerns range from college admissions to grocery shopping, but it’s all good for the family pet  
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Thu, 04/16/2020 - 01:02 PM
How COVID-19 Has Disrupted my Daughters’ College Lives  
00:02:05
Aside from my daily concerns at home, Penelope Poulou worry about my family abroad, especially her 86-year-old mother who shelters at home alone in Greece
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Thu, 04/16/2020 - 11:41 AM
A man walks along pedestrian Arbat street as food delivery couriers talk to each other, with a building decorated with a mural…
'So will someone come by and check if I'm here?' I asked. 'I'm not sure,' said the operator.
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Wed, 04/15/2020 - 01:07 PM
Russia's 'Self Isolation' Offers Time to Take In the View
00:01:55
Authorities have instituted a countrywide lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic
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Wed, 04/15/2020 - 11:44 AM
Police officers patrol an empty St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Friday, April 10, 2020. Pope Francis began the Good Friday…
For the first time ever, I could hear the water splashing in the Trevi Fountain, and birds chirping around the Colosseum
Sabina Castelfranco
Tue, 04/14/2020 - 10:23 AM
Police officers patrol an empty St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Friday, April 10, 2020. Pope Francis began the Good Friday…
00:03:19
Italians were forced to stay at home during Holy Week and Easter and banned from their usual picnics on Easter Monday
Sabina Castelfranco
Tue, 04/14/2020 - 09:18 AM
Quarantine Diaries
00:06:39
A VOA Connect producer gives us a glimpse into her stay-at-home life as a working mom during the coronavirus pandemic.
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Tue, 04/14/2020 - 08:36 AM
Singing Through South Africa’s Lockdown 
00:01:57
World, meet Dolly: bringing music to locked-down South Africa, one piano at a time 
Anita Powell
Mon, 04/13/2020 - 12:43 PM
The buildings of the European headquarters of the United Nations are seen in front of the city of Geneva
With picture-perfect Switzerland a ghostly landscape, UN agencies are largely shuttered and reduced to telework
Lisa Schlein
Fri, 04/10/2020 - 12:14 PM
Messages to practice social distancing and frequent disinfection are displayed on a building in the business hub of Gurugram that adjoins New Delhi. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)
Coronavirus brings once noisy, bustling Indian capital and its satellite towns, home to over 20 million people, to a tense standstill
Anjana Pasricha
Thu, 04/09/2020 - 12:07 PM
As Covid-19 Continues, More and More Women Are Becoming Caretakers
With schools widely closed, many working women are pulled back to traditional roles as full-time caregivers
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Wed, 04/08/2020 - 03:57 PM
The streets of the Jordanian Capital are seen empty after the start of a nationwide curfew, amid concerns over the coronavirus.
Strict measures in the country protect not only citizens but also hundreds of thousands of war refugees
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Tue, 04/07/2020 - 01:06 PM
Traders and customers gather to bargain prices of commodities at a crowded vegetable market
Every other human on the street or in the shop was out to eat me and my job was to avoid them at all costs.
Ayesha Tanzeem
Mon, 04/06/2020 - 11:09 AM
COVID-19 Diaries: ‘It’s Just Not Cricket’ - Lockdown Laws Tests British Fair Play
VOA London reporter discovers pandemic restrictions are breeding neighborhood spies and a generational clash as people vent frustrations online and in public
Henry Ridgwell
Fri, 04/03/2020 - 07:37 AM
President Donald Trump speaks to the press before boarding Air Force One in Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Saturday, March 28,…
Covering the president often means getting too close for comfort under social distancing guidelines
Patsy Widakuswara, Senior White House Correspondent
Thu, 04/02/2020 - 08:38 AM
An aerial view shows the tracks of the light rail as Israel tightened a national stay-at-home policy with guidelines aimed at…
Linda Gradstein shares the new-found challenges of living and working in a full house
Linda Gradstein
Wed, 04/01/2020 - 10:32 AM
COVID-19 Diaries: Working and Worrying About My Children
00:02:00
In this age of Covid 19 families are finding themselves in close quarters. Parents of school age children are having to coordinate lessons from home. And in some cases parents of older children, like VOA’s Linda Gradstein are dealing with the challenges of a long term full house
Linda Gradstein
Wed, 04/01/2020 - 10:00 AM
Michele Galindo exercises with a streaming video from a website while in her Austin, Texas, April 26, 2006.
It's been a moving target: where, when, how and with whom you can exercise during the coronavirus shutdown in California
Michelle Quinn
Mon, 03/30/2020 - 03:45 PM
COVID-19 Diaries: A Surreal Trip From Bogota to San Francisco
Home at last, there were no hugs, just a car that smelled of hand sanitizer
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Sat, 03/28/2020 - 10:20 AM
An empty street leads to the ancient Colosseum, in Rome, March 24, 2020.
Empty streets present a surreal scene for residents accustomed to unbearable traffic with honking cars and whizzing scooters
Sabina Castelfranco
Fri, 03/27/2020 - 08:58 AM
More than 11 million Syrians are displaced at home or abroad, with many having fled their homes several times. Some are pictured here in Manbij, Syria, Feb. 21, 2020. (Heather Murdock/VOA)
Crises and stories are being missed as aid workers and journalists are isolated at home or unable to travel
Heather Murdock
Thu, 03/26/2020 - 12:14 PM
COVID-19 Diaries: South Korea's Plan is Working, Can the World Copy It?
00:01:51
VOA Seoul correspondent Bill Gallo explores how country's loosening of digital privacy laws has slowed the outbreak
William Gallo
Wed, 03/25/2020 - 10:16 AM
Times Square is eerily empty as most New Yorkers are teleworking these days. (Photo: Celia Mendoza /VOA)
Staying virus-free is tricky for a globetrotting journalist
Celia Mendoza
Tue, 03/24/2020 - 04:34 PM
Women, wearing masks to prevent contracting the coronavirus, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), walk
Broad surveillance powers, massive testing, key to country's success 
William Gallo
Mon, 03/23/2020 - 07:20 AM
Eunjung's 2nd-grader son sorting out his worksheets from school. (Eunjung Cho/VOA)
Working from home while assisting two children with ‘distance learning’ is a delicate balancing act
Eunjung Cho
Sat, 03/21/2020 - 04:27 AM
A picture taken on March 20, 2020 in Paris, shows a deserted bridge Pont Alexandre III, on the fourth day of a strict lockdown…
Sun, baguettes and confinement — coronavirus reshapes daily life 
Lisa Bryant
Fri, 03/20/2020 - 08:24 PM
People wear masks as they line up to enter a pharmacy, in Rome, March 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
True heroes emerge in this desperate fight against the virulent coronavirus, as doctors, nurses and first responders risk their lives desperately trying to save others, without the necessary resources or reliable treatments
Jamie Dettmer
Thu, 03/19/2020 - 06:25 PM
Julianna "Jules" Struck teaches English in France and is sheltering in place during the coronavirus pandemic, unnerving her mother.
A mother keeps tabs on the welfare of her grown children, who are independent and resilient but frighteningly far away during a pandemic
Kathleen Struck
Thu, 03/19/2020 - 05:41 PM
"I Voted" stickers are seen on a table at a polling station at Trinity Lutheran Church, in Evanston, Illinois, March 17, 2020.
Not an ordinary stroll to the ballot box for a new US citizen voting for the first time in a process to determine who will run against President Trump in November
Kane Farabaugh
Wed, 03/18/2020 - 03:28 PM
People line up to enter a supermarket, keeping the proscribed social distance from one another and entering a few at a time, in keeping with measures introduced by the Italian government to slow the spread of the coronavirus, in Rome, March 10, 2020.
The restriction is among many announced by the Italian government to rein in coronavirus transmissions
Jamie Dettmer
Thu, 03/12/2020 - 03:37 PM
A man is seen wearing a protective face mask at Waterloo station in London, Britain, March 6, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Advice about improving one's personal hygiene appears to be falling on some deaf ears, a poll finds
Jamie Dettmer
Fri, 03/06/2020 - 04:52 PM