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125 posts
Shared experiences on life in the time of Covid-19
Stint app

Gig apps for a pandemic economy: Part time, no commitment

Stint, in use across the UK, has grown in popularity, alongside similar apps in the United States like Instaworks and Gigpro, as one response to the peculiar ways in which economies have been rebounding from the pandemic recession. Uncertainty about the durability of the recoveries and the tentative re-openings of businesses still threatened by the coronavirus have made flexibility a top priority — for workers and employees alike.

Pandemic fiction: Fall books include stories of the virus

From wars to plagues to the Sept. 11 attacks, the literary response to historic tragedies has been a process of absorbing trauma — often beginning with poetry and nonfiction and, after months or years, expanding to narrative fiction. The pandemic has now lasted into a second fall season for publishing, and a growing number of authors, among them Picoult, Louise Erdrich, Gary Shteyngart and Hilma Wolitzer, have worked it into their latest books.

The poor, the rich: In a sick India, all are on their own

When a pandemic wave hits, everyone is on their own. The poor. The rich. The well-connected bureaucrats who hold immense sway here, and the people who clean the sewers. Wealthy businessmen fight for hospital beds, and powerful government officials send tweets begging for oxygen. Middle-class families scrounge wood for funeral pyres, and in places where there’s no wood to be found, hundreds of families have been forced to dump their relatives’ bodies into the Ganges River.

From Zoom to Quibi, the tech winners and losers of 2020

We streamed, we Zoomed, we ordered groceries and houseplants online, we created virtual villages while navigating laptop shortages to work and learn from home. In many ways, 2020′s pandemic-induced isolation threw our dependence on technology into overdrive, snipping away at our real-life connections while bringing digital relationships to the fore.

Pacific isles, secretive states among last virus-free places

From Argentina to Zimbabwe, from the Vatican to the White House, the coronavirus has spread relentlessly. It's been confirmed on every continent but one and in nearly every country. Yet a few places have yet to report even a single case of infection. Some have been genuinely spared so far, while others may be hiding the truth. Here's a closer look:

Hard-hit Peru’s costly bet on cheap COVID-19 antibody tests

Unlike almost every other nation, Peru is relying heavily on rapid antibody blood tests to diagnose active cases – a purpose for which they are not designed. The tests cannot detect early COVID-19 infections, making it hard to quickly identify and isolate the sick. Epidemiologists interviewed by The Associated Press say their misuse is producing a sizable number of false positives and negatives, helping fuel one of the world’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks.

Small businesses worldwide fight for survival amid pandemic

In New Orleans, the owner of a gallery and lounge that launched just before the pandemic hit reopened it as a takeout eatery, with himself as the lone employee. In Tokyo, a florist grabbed a lifeline from shut-in customers who bought blossoms to keep their spirits up. In Minneapolis, a dentist who refitted his office to protect patients from infection is starting over after it was destroyed in riots. All acknowledge that reopening is just the beginning. But it is a critical milestone, nonetheless, a testament to their grit, creativity and no small amount of desperation. It’s about finding whatever works, because for now, there is no such thing as business as usual.

In the name of the father

On the wide expanse of the Marcos Highway along the boundaries of Barangays Dela Paz and Bagong Nayon in Cogeo, Antipolo, DPWH personnel are constructing a rip-rap to prevent soil erosion beneath a high-voltage transmission line. Gravel, sand and other construction material aside from 26 culverts can be seen next to the construction area. And a family lives there. This is the ballad of Artemio and Armida.

Cosmetics company CEO apologizes after backlash from confronting Filipino homeowner

The CEO of a cosmetic company issued an apology Sunday after she and her husband confronted James Juanillo, who is Filipino, and threatened to call police because he stenciled "Black Lives Matter" in chalk on his San Francisco property, as the couple asserted that they know Juanillo doesn’t live there and is therefore breaking the law.

Face masks with windows mean more than smiles to deaf people

The Communicator was developed before the pandemic to address a problem that lip readers have long faced in trying to understand masked workers in hospitals. The problem has been worsened by the pandemic; many interpreters for hearing-impaired people have been unable to go into medical facilities because of the highly contagious coronavirus. But as masks have proliferated outside hospitals, so have the miseries of deaf people.

Quarantine bottlenecks add to woes of returning Filipinos

The sudden influx combined with the government’s limited quarantine and virus-testing capability and bureaucratic snags to set off chaotic delays and congestion in Manila hospitals, hotels and makeshift isolation structures. With public transport and flights restricted in the capital, the populous epicenter of the viral outbreak, the hordes of workers were effectively trapped from moving on to their provincial destinations.

Street dog helps see Chinese nurse through virus traumas

Zhang was among the first to respond when the coronavirus epicenter of Wuhan needed help. Shipped out in early February, the 36-year-old nurse worked grueling days in heavy layers of protective gear, ministering to patients who needed assistance from breathing to eating as the coronavirus raged. Amid the emotional and physical trauma, a little street dog helped her through.

In pandemic, this airport worker controls not just ramp traffic–but also his inner fears

Asked how he feels about out working when almost everyone else is locked in their homes, Naia Ramp Controller Engr. Michael Barbieto shrugs his shoulders, not in submission, but more as a defiant gesture. “Mahirap ang napasukan ko, pero ito ay privilege, ito ang sinumpaan kong tungkulin, kaya kailangan gampanan.”

Waiting for ‘new normal’ | The hunger, uncertainty deepens sorrow of this jeepney driver

Job Calayo, 62, is a jeepney driver from Antipolo City. He is one of those plying the Antipolo-Cubao route that serves thousands of middle- and lower-income workers to keep industries spinning. These days, he is anxiously waiting for the official pronouncement that jeepney drivers can already ferry passengers from Antipolo City and other areas since Antipolo attained General Community Quarantine (GCQ) status.

Detective, nurse, confidant: Virus tracers play many roles

An army of health professionals around the world is filling one of the most important roles in the effort to guard against a resurgence of the coronavirus. The practice of so-called contact tracing requires a hybrid job of interrogator, therapist and nurse as they try coax nervous people to be honest. The goal: To create a road map of everywhere infected people have been and who they’ve been around.

There’s a pot for that

So began the ritual of drawing up “The List”: good for two weeks, supplying everything else that the “ayuda” didn’t cover. And that list always included leafy greens such as kangkong, talbos, alugbati, and basil—heralding his return to childhood memories of his Ilongga Lola’s backyard garden somewhere in the middle of busy Cubao to boot, and our family’s renewed love affair with potted gardening.

An antidote to coronavirus blues? A Picasso on your wall

After an eight-week delay caused by France’s COVID-19 lockdown, the Christie’s auction house in Paris is hosting a raffle draw Wednesday for “Nature Morte,” an oil on canvas that Picasso painted in 1921. Proceeds will help provide villagers in Cameroon, Madagascar and Morocco with water — a basic need more essential than ever now for people to wash and protect themselves against the global pandemic.
The Eternal Gardens Team

Crematorium workers struggle with more tasks, and the pain of witnessing rushed good-byes

They’re used to the "drill" of helping grieving relatives give a proper sendoff to their dearly departed. They'd give them all the time they need to say their final good-byes, with their prayers and flowers and rosaries. These days, however, all those extended farewells are gone. Under strict health protocols prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic, they must help those in mourning make swift goodbyes, before they cremate the dead.

Grit and red wine: Famous war photographer beats virus at 97

Amid the bleakness of the pandemic, some veterans still know how to win that 2020 war too — spurious comparison or not. Vaccaro, 97, was thrown into WWII with the 83rd Infantry division which fought, like Charles Shay, in Normandy, and then came to Schmetz's doorstep for the Battle of the Bulge. On top of his military gear, he also carried a camera, and became a fashion and celebrity photographer after the war. COVID-19 caught up with him last month. Like everything bad life threw at him, he shook it off, attributing his survival to plain "fortune."

Foreigners on front lines of pandemic in Gulf Arab states

Across the Gulf countries, the workers on the front lines are uniquely almost entirely foreigners, whether it’s in a hospital in Saudi Arabia, an isolation ward in Kuwait or a grocery store in the United Arab Emirates. They carry out the essential work, risking exposure to the novel coronavirus, often with the added strain of being far from family.

Virus-afflicted 2020 looks like 1918 despite science’s march

In the years between two lethal pandemics, one the misnamed Spanish flu, the other COVID-19, the world learned about viruses, cured various diseases, made effective vaccines, developed instant communications and created elaborate public-health networks. Yet here we are again, face-masked to the max. And still unable to crush an insidious yet avoidable infectious disease before hundreds of thousands die from it.

Locked down in power plants, they ensure people can tolerate being cooped up at home

Walter Alimusa, 55, has not come home for three weeks now. While most Filipinos work from home while the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is in effect, Alimusa needs to be physically present in his work area to make sure that the supply of electricity is not disrupted so people would stay at home.

In the toughest battle of our time, they keep the lights on

Their lives are at risk every day, but mostly from hazards they constantly train to handle—the possibility of electrocution. In the era of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, they concede the perils are different, sending a certain chill down their spine as they set out to work each day. Handling huge voltages of electricity is something they know about, but dealing with an unseen virus, and worse, possibly infecting one’s loved ones, is mental torture.

A city under siege: 24 hours in the fight to save New York

Over 24 hours, a taxi driver will cruise those desolate streets, searching for the few workers who need to keep moving. A bodega owner will make a promise to a customer he hopes he’ll never have to keep. An emergency room doctor and a paramedic will labor to hold down a death toll that on this day threatens to surpass the number killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11. For them and 8.5 million others, today will be nothing like just another Monday. Because long before the sun has risen, the clock has already begun counting down the latest, most punishing round in the fight for New York.

Despite lockdown-induced controls on food trade, they’ll keep farming

Filipino farmers and fisherfolk, who mostly live from the profits of their seasonal harvest, were caught in a different storm. The impact of Covid-19 on food trade comes at a time when farmers like Homer Bucad and Samson Velasco, of Gerona, Tarlac, are still reeling from the plunge of palay prices in the past two cropping seasons as rice imports increased. But for backliners like Bucad and Velasco, one thing is certain: they will continue to farm as long as they can.

She counts our money, without counting the risks. Her pledge: just to be there.

Grace Zerrudo-Estonilo admitted that she was scared at first when the management instructed her to come to office, because this meant increasing her exposure to the virus as well. Many things could go wrong once you step outside your home during this pandemic, she stressed. Being the dedicated employee that she was, however, she heeded the call of duty.