After thousands of confirmed cases and hundreds of deaths in Ohio, people are (hopefully) staying at home to help protect each other from the spread of COVID-19. We checked in with various Clevelanders to see how they’re holding up and how the pandemic has affected them and their organizations.
Kabir Bhatia is a reporter and producer at WKSU, and NPR affiliate on 89.7. The news cycle certainly hasn’t stopped doing the COIVD-19 crisis, so we reached out to see how the Ohio stay-at-home order has affect him and his colleagues.
Q: How has COVID-19 and Ohio’s general shutdown affected you and your line of work?
A: We’ve shifted our focus to mostly covering the pandemic and its effects on all walks of life. My colleagues and I have always been good about working as a team when there’s a major news event… and many of us have worked independently a great deal. So right now, it’s a mixture of both: “all hands on deck” while in self-isolation.
Q: What are you personally doing to help cope with the quarantine?
A: Home schooling and cooking take up a lot of our time, but we also get to take more walks as a family. I’ve also been online NON-shopping: looking at things I would love to buy — but shouldn’t! So far I have owned (in my mind) several muscle cars and a vintage bass guitar.
Q: How, if at all, has COVID-19 affected your worldview?
A: It’s given me an even greater appreciation for our parks in Northeast Ohio. On the flip side, it’s strange – and sad – to see everything (such as the schools, and my favorite restaurants) closed. For years, I would go out and cover Black Friday sales, and it was always eerie to see the world lit up, but empty, on my drive home. Now, it’s like that all the time. I call it “Pompeii”!
The absence of human contact is somewhat mitigated by connecting online. Facebook is suggesting I befriend people who I haven’t seen in 20 years.
I’ve also been moved by how parents, teachers, and people in general are pulling together to help students who are missing out on a large chunk of school memories and learning.
I’m hopeful not only that we come through this soon, but that we’re prepared if this happens again. I hope it’s not a harbinger of the future.
Q: Lastly, what’s the first thing you’re going to do when the shutdown ends?