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Wisconsinites shares how to deal with and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic for a year

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By Bridgit Bowden

In PR

Coburn Duke Heart

Wisconsin Watch

Bramsable-Smith

Wisconsin Watch / WPR

More than a year ago, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers became a state health services agency. Temporary closure of schools from kindergarten to high school throughout the state.. This was the first sign of social turmoil. Business closures, virtual school education, massive unemployment, and more than 6,500 state residents have died from the new coronavirus.

Wisconsin First detected COVID-19, a virus-induced illness, marked the beginning of a pandemic for most Wisconsins in February and mid-March 2020. WPR and Wisconsin Watch have followed the Wisconsin group throughout this life-changing era.

A year later, they pondered how the pandemic reshaped their lives and how they imagined the future.

‘Oh shit. here it is. ”

Maria Clark spent a year at the forefront of the pandemic as an emergency department nurse at UW Health in Madison.

She read about the virus in news reports and journal articles for the first few days of 2020. But in February, when her hospital treated Wisconsin, the pandemic became a reality. the first Patients infected with COVID-19.

Malaia Clark Portrait

Maria Clark is a nurse in the emergency room working at UW Health. She is found here in personal protective equipment (PPE) that she wore at work at the beginning of the pandemic. (Courtesy of Malaia Clark)

“I will never forget that first COVID patient,” Clark said. “I remember having that feeling when that first incident was brought into the department. It’s here.” And I’m wondering how that would change everything. “

Clark’s next year offered “strange duality.”The· Late day Waiting for the storm gave way to the trauma of seeing friend And patient Succumb to a deadly virus.She was helplessly looking as a pandemic Spiral out of control With Wisconsin State politics A predicament attempt with a coherent response.

In that tragedy, Clark also found hope.

“COVID had an aspect that really led to the fact that as nurses we were there to take care of the whole people, not just the collection of parts that weren’t working properly at the time.” Clark said.

“We have seen sick friends, family and colleagues. We could imagine ourselves there. And it-often-feels much more human. I did. “

“Most of us just survived.”

When Jessica Barrera revisits her thoughts from the early days of the pandemic, she cannot help but remember her anxiety. How can she forget?

When the coronavirus pandemic broke out, people stopped traveling and sacrificed a 41-year-old single mother to work at Oakrea’s Airport Shuttle Service.Girlfriend I’ve been waiting for months For unemployment benefits while the Wisconsin Labor Development Agency refuses to support part-time workers like her, who also receive federal disability support.

“There were a lot of things I couldn’t handle,” Barrera said. “When I hear my voice, I feel almost tired.”

Jessica Barrera released

Jessica Barrera will be seen with her son Nico in June 2020 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. (Provided by Jessica Barrera)

She added: “A year ago, most of us survived every day, emotionally, mentally, physically and financially, just to survive the next day.”

But things are looking for Barrera. She has found a new, meaningful job that helps adults with special needs find a job. And her 11-year-old son Nico returned directly to school two days a week.It was after finishing the previous grade and Beginning Include New one in fact. Barrera now hopes to reassure himself in March 2020.

“I let her know that you’re used to wearing a mask — not so strange after the first few moments, and just to keep your faith that things will get better,” she said. Said.

“I feel sad about what I lost”

Madison’s Amy Moreland lost her job as a bartender and event coordinator on March 17, 2020.

“It feels like a million years away, and it also feels like yesterday,” she said.

In retrospect, she said she didn’t expect the pandemic to last this long.Moreland remained Most unemployed in the last year, And she I struggled for months to access the unemployment allowance..

Eventually she Completely changed the trajectory of her life By returning to school. She holds a degree in social work from Madison College and aims to eventually become an addiction counselor.

“I’m really excited about the future, but I’m saddened by what I’ve lost,” she said.

Amy Moreland Portrait

Amy Moreland will be seen in her apartment in Madison, Wisconsin, January 29, 2021. Moreland, who worked in Madison’s service industry, is in the service sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She is currently enrolled in Madison College’s social work program and wants to specialize in addiction issues. (Coburn Duke Heart / Wisconsin Watch)

Moreland looks back on her pandemic as she grows older and imagines, “I talked to our grandchildren about quarantine and all this, and that’s what we’ve overcome.”

“There is hope,” Moreland said, even after a hellish year.

“You can be really excited about everything that comes and mourn what has passed.”

“This process really strengthened me.”

For Adija Greer-Smith, owner of the Confectionately Yours bakery in Milwaukee, 2020 wasn’t all that dire.

Like many businesses, bakeries were closed for several months in the spring and summer.However, Greer-Smith has since been a huge success. Reopened in July.. This included closing a commercial deal between Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Bucks.

“It has opened the door to so many opportunities,” Greer-Smith said, admitting that 2020 proved to be “catastrophic” in other ways. She rode an “emotional roller coaster,” children virtually learned from home, and her husband was working on a diagnosis of COVID-19. (He is now recovering and vaccinated.)

Goodbye portrait of Glia Smith

Adija Greer-Smith will be found outside Sherman Phoenix, which houses a bakery alongside other local businesses, in Milwaukee on July 2, 2020. (WillCioci / Wisconsin Watch)

Confectionately Yours Shaman phoenixSpace for small businesses, led by people of color. In 2016, a fire damaged a building (formerly a bank) in the Sherman Park district of Milwaukee. Citizen’s anxiety experienced Following Sylville Smith’s deadly police shooting. The phoenix rose from those ashes. Greer Smith knew that she would face obstacles when starting her business in 2018.

“Obviously this was part of that process,” she said. “This process really strengthened me.”

When the bakery first closed in the spring, Greer-Smith transferred her energy to baking cookies for healthcare professionals. She said her team eventually donated more than 20,000 baked goods.

Now she encourages others to devote their energy to helping people.

“Life is so precious that I hope this year will teach us all to love and hate less,” she said.

“Content for who I am and where I am in time”

Beverly Breeze, an 86-year-old door county resident, maintained a busy social calendar before the pandemic and drove for Uber in his spare time.

But She found herself trapped in a small apartment At that time, the independent living facility in Sister Bay, where she lived, was severely restricted last spring.

“I was sad that I was robbed of time,” she said. “The loss of old normality meant many meaningful losses in my life.”

She was more and more depressed, I’m worried that the isolated summer will be the last on her planet.

“The older you get, the faster you get,” she said.

Beverly Breeze Portrait

Beverly Briets, 85, will be found in the Glen Estate Complex apartment in Sister Bay, Wisconsin, August 6, 2020. Briets, a former resident of the Good Sumaritan Society-Sister Bay Scandia Village, moved in June 2020. Due to the restrictions imposed on residents due to the pandemic. Former recreation pilot, Uber driver, art gallery Docent, and community volunteer Breets loved to drive the door county with friends and family, but when a pandemic broke out, they were trapped. .. Her 680 sq ft apartment began to feel like a cage instead of offering an independent living, so she found a new place to live on her own terms. (Coburn Duke Heart / Wisconsin Watch)

That led her to leave the facility and enter the condominium, where she gained more control over her life.

Breets said past pandemic years have changed her values.

“More than ever, the importance of my family and relationships has been prioritized over the more enthusiastic activities of the daily calendar,” she said.

“I’m happy with who I am and where I am in time.”

Non-profit Wisconsin Watch (wisconsinwatch.org) We work with WPR, PBS Wisconsin and other news media, University of Wisconsin-Madison journalism and mass communication. All works created, published, posted, or distributed by Wisconsin Watch do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or its affiliates.

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (WWW.WISCONSINWATCH.ORG) works with other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. All works created, published, posted or distributed by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or its affiliates.

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