‘We're All Emotional': San Diegans Reflect On Overwhelming Impact of COVID and Pandemic Life

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As we round out our second year living amid the coronavirus pandemic, it isn't hard to find San Diegans who feel they've paid an emotional toll. Many also have a sense of resignation that the virus is here to stay.

“It’s stressful because you can’t work when you’re sick, when you have COVID, because you have to do the isolation and stuff, and bills still keep coming,” said Breeana McIntyre of Mission Bay.

“There are things that we can be in control of in our life, and things that aren’t, and I feel like this is something we just have no control over,” said Jeremy Prince of San Carlos.

With a pervasive number of COVID cases, including an unprecedented weekend surge, it’s hard not to find someone impacted by the disease.

Marc Marcelo’s mother contracted the virus on a family trip to Disneyland.

“It was kind of a shock because, you know, it’s been two years since the lockdown started and we’ve been doing the precautions, six feet, masks, sanitizing, and we didn’t get sick at all, once, but just one trip, it was kind of a shock that we just all of a sudden we got COVID.

Many workers have been impacted by co-workers who’ve become infected. But newfound workplace protocols, which for many include a work from home model, have become routine.

“We got kicked out of work and we’re not allowed, we have to work remotely until we have proof of a negative test result,” said Prince, who had just been tested because he came in contact with an infected worker.

Hilaria Manzanerez has been an elementary school cafeteria worker with the San Diego Unified School District for 20 years. She must be tested every week, but sees it as a new responsibility.

“We have to make sure that we are safe to work or to go to school, and don’t make other people sick. It’s tiring, but it’s worth it. It’s worth it because that way you know that you’re okay to go out, or you can stay with your family or you have to make sure that you don’t make sick other people,” said Manzanerez.

But even as COVID becomes engrained in our daily lives, there is still a sense of shock for many the moment they learn they’re positive.

“I was so scared because you hear all these horror stories, you’re like, am I going to be able to breathe. I know that I’m a healthy 25-year-old, but it’s still scary sometimes because you don’t know how it’s going to affect you. It’s just so wild and unpredictable,” said McIntyre.

But as we learn to live in a COVID world, Prince offers some perspective on managing the stress and emotion that go along with it.

“It’s just reassuring knowing that everyone’s in the same boat. The feelings I’m feeling is probably what everybody is feeling, so, I guess it’s good knowing we’re all emotional, and no one knows what’s going on, together,” said Prince.

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