How is the situation in your city/ country? Is there a 2nd wave yet?
In Ireland it wasn’t so bad at the start and people didn’t take it too seriously. The 4th wave has started in Ireland, but the 3rd wave was the worst part.
How did the atmosphere in your country change within the last months?
The atmosphere in Ireland has changed and people have really become fed up with the governments decisions and changes. There has been a number of protests about the lockdowns and the different rules that were implemented. In comparison, since Germany has been doing a better job in dealing with the virus, there is more freedom here.
How are you and your family?
My family is doing well everyone is now vaccinated and back to work. I finally got to go home to visit them in August which was nice to see everyone after some time.
What was the biggest challenge for you within the last months?
For me the biggest change was moving to Germany in October of 2020. It was a difficult decision because I had planned the move before the pandemic had started and when things looked better in both countries, I decided to make the move with my boyfriend.
When did you realize how serious the situation is?
After the initial lockdown when universities and schools were closed “for two weeks to flatten the curve” it became very clear that after a number of weeks that the pandemic was going to be around for a long time.
How did your government react to the crisis? Which measures/restrictions were taken first?
The Irish government was very slow to react to the cricis and put solid measures in place. After the inital closing of schools etc. it was eventually announced that people should wear masks.
Are you satisfied with the measures of your government? What was good/bad?
When I compare the differences in actions between Ireland and Germany it really highlights the ineffectiveness of the Irish government. In Ireland a mask was a suggestion but that was not the case in Germany where not wearing a mask was not an option.
What would you like to say to your government?
That their slowness to react to the secerity of the situation caused so much unnecessary spreading of the virus and that no one in the government deserved the three pay rises that were given to ye.
Which sentence of a virologist/politician did you memorize the most?
We need to stay home for two weeks to flatten the curve.
Do you know anybody who was infected with COVID-19 or even died?
My Grandmother got the virus in the nursing home where she lives, thankfully she survived, but 7 other people in that home died from the virus.
Have you already done a Coronavirus test or have you been in quarantine?
I did my first Corona test when I first flew into Germany as they were free and easily accessable. I have never taken one in Ireland as they are very expensive and the wait times are very long. Thankfully I avoided the need for quarantine when I arrived in Germany due to the changing rules and negative test results.
Are you afraid of getting infected with the Coronavirus?
It has always been a concern of mine, especially when I began my new job that required me to work with Corona samples. I am aware that it affects everyone differently, but the possiblity of having long term symptoms was always a concern. Since having my vaccines I am not as concerned but I am still cautious.
How long is/was your lockdown and what was allowed/what wasn´t?
The first lockdown in Ireland started in early March 2020 and lasted until the end of July. All schools and universities were closed and working from home was recommened. All pubs, restaurants, cinemas, clothes shops and sports centres were closed and masks were recommended, but not fully enforced.
Did you spend the lockdown time with somebody and what did you do during this time?
I spent the lockdown at my parents house as I had to move home from university in my final year and I finished my final semester through online learning.
What did you miss the most during the lockdown? What helped you?
For me I missed what was to be the final semester of my bacholer degree and the things that should have come with it, for example my graduation and my final days with my university friends. I also missed the opportunity to celebrate my grandmothers 100th birthday due to restrictions. Being at home with my parents helped and the plan for moving to Germany were a big help for me.
How did your work situation change within the last months (shorter hours, working from home, etc.)
At the start of the pandemic I moved to university online and this meant longer class times and more time consuming assignments. Now I am working a normal 40 hours a week in the office/ lab and if necessary I can work from home.
How did your social life (relationship/friendships/dating) change due to the Corona crisis?
My social life became very different firstly because when college suddenly ended, I could no longer see the people I spent all of my time with. Also it has been difficult to make many friends since my move to Germany as people are not comfortable socialising with strangers.
What impact has the Corona crisis on your financial situation?
For me the Corona cricis delayed my relocation to Germany by a number of months and made finding a job rather difficult so I was a long time finished with university before I found a job.
Social distancing: How does your daily life look like at the moment?
For me I go to work every day and hope nobody sits beside me on my commute to work. I do feel comfortable in work because we wear masks when moving about and now everyone is vaccinated in my department so it is less of a risk being around everyone.
Who are to your opinion the heroes of this crisis?
The scientists who devoted all of their time to the virus.
What did the crisis show you?
That overall people do care about one another but there will always be some people who won’t follow the rules even for the greater good.
What will you appreciate more after the crisis?
Being able to go out and socialise.
Which images will you never forget?
The image of people not wearing masks correctly because it is such a simple task that can do so much good.
Which stories/incidents/experiences touched/shattered you the most?
What are you afraid of right now?
People becoming complacent with the measures in place and returing to the way things used to be. Also the people with the conspiracy theories about vaccines and government control.
What gives you hope?
Working with the virus and learning how it works and also knowing the vast number of scientists in every country monitoring the activity and changes in the virus.
Are you planning to travel within the next months?
I have just come back from a visit to Ireland and I will hopefully go back to Ireland again for Christmas holidays if the restrictions allow it.
Would you get yourself vaccinated against COVID-19?
I got vaccinated as soon as I could because of my work with Corona but also to make everything a little bit safer for everyone.
What can we all learn from this crisis?
That when something like this happens again, actions need to be taken a lot faster and that the way we were living before was not the best. Time needs to be balanced between home and work.
If you could give 2020 a headline, what would it be?
The year the world was taught how to wash their hands.