New York City, New York
- 134,874 confirmed cases
- 35,746 hospitalizations
- 9,562 confirmed deaths
- 4,865 probable deaths
- In the Brooklyn borough, the rate of infection is 1,318 cases per 100,000 people.
— NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, as of April 21
Tara Feener and Jeff Roche
Tara Feener of Mount Pearl, is now living in Brooklyn, N.Y. and her husband, Jeff Roche, is from Outer Cove.
In response to a call issued by The Telegram, she sent this first-person description of her life during COVID-19:
"We live in a small two-bedroom loft style apartment in East Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York. We’ve been in New York for seven years, and have lived in this neighbourhood as long as we’ve been here.
"My husband and I are both from Newfoundland. He’s from Outer Cove, and I’m from Mount Pearl. We have a 20-month-old toddler, and a rescue dog named Janet who we adopted three years ago.
"We both work in tech, so we’re incredibly grateful that it’s easy for us to work at home (and both still have jobs, unlike many others). I work at Vimeo as a senior director of engineering, and they encouraged our office to all start working from home as of March 9.
"I’ve been in our apartment for a little over six weeks, and we’ve all been here without child care for well over a month. Not having child care has been the hardest thing: we rely on daycare and a nanny share for full-time support, so we’re now juggling an intense schedule where we take shifts watching our son.
"We have a small balcony, and building roof access, which we feel grateful to have. Those tiny slivers of urban outdoor real estate have become ‘outside’ for us, and our son has gone from playing at the playground and in the public parks multiple hours a day to biking on our roof in circles.
"The only time we leave is to very briefly walk our dog, and it’s been crazy to see so few people week over week, and a stark contrast in the increase in face masks over that period. It’s springtime in New York; the sidewalks are usually pretty packed with folks walking around. The trees are blooming spring flowers with no one around to admire them.
"We haven’t been within six feet of anyone since March 12 when we did our last neighbourhood grocery run, so we’re grateful to be healthy, as well as not yet knowing anyone personally affected (although our nanny’s community has been hit hard).
"We live in between two fairly impacted areas of infection in New York. Given that we’ve been home for over six weeks, the most noticeable thing we’ve found from within our apartment walls is the sound of sirens wailing.
"At first we couldn’t decide if it was just the newly silent city which made the sound of sirens pop, but as the days went on during the extremely heavy hospitalization period, we came to realize it was just constant and absolutely unusual.
"It’s definitely been unsettling, to say the least.
"We go out on our balcony as often as we can at 7 p.m. to cheer for essential workers, although it coincides with our son’s bedtime routine. "The first time we made it out, I was so moved by both the amount of folks cheering, and the signs of that contagious energy New York is so well known for, that I was holding back tears.
"It’s different every night. Tonight two primary school age girls on a balcony across from ours who we hadn’t seen before brought out pots and pans and wooden spoons and yelled ‘thank you’ as they banged."
"Emotionally, the hardest thing has been balancing work and child care, with no end in sight. Daycare doesn’t feel like a safe option without a vaccine here, and our nanny takes public transit to get to us, and has a family of her own, so the ability to have a safe bubble of support is challenging.
"We actually really wanted to get out of here and to Newfoundland, where our family has a space we could have quarantined in for 14 days, and could have received childcare support from our parents.
"Like most New Yorkers, we don’t have a car, and rely on public transit. Securing a rental or flying were too risky without systematic and widely available testing in place. For now, we’re staying here."
This article is part three of a series.