I’m A Historian Who Has Studied the Black Death. During My Coronavirus Quarantine, I Thought, ‘Will People Fear Us?’Roundup
tags: Black Death, historian, coronavirus
Alizah Holstein is a writer, editor, and translator. She holds a Ph.D in Medieval Italian history and is writing a memoir about being a historian of Rome.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A friend messaged me, then left two bottles of Gatorade by our back door. The following morning, another friend texted: “Bringing over homemade chicken broth!” She, too, left it at the door, along with a watercolor. “Wishing you a quick recovery,” she scrawled in pencil on the back.
Two evenings earlier, I had returned from a writing residency in Lisbon, Portugal, and developed a fever and intense body aches within hours of arriving home. I received a COVID-19 test the following morning at a drive-through testing site near Rhode Island Hospital.
Soon after, my brother called. Could he bring us a pot of bolognese sauce for dinner anytime soon? My husband and I mulled over the offer. He is a helper, one of those people you can count on to be there when you need it. But he, like me, finds it hard to accept help from others.
“Let’s practice saying yes to help,” I suggested. After all, I was now quarantined on the third floor of our home — and just when my husband thought he had regained his parenting partner following my 10-day trip, he found himself once again in sole charge of our two boys, ages 9 and 11. We had no idea how long this was going to last.
I thought of my brother’s offer. “Let’s accept,” I said. My husband surprised me by agreeing.
I received my positive test result the next morning: two weeks in isolation for me, and a mandatory minimum two-week quarantine for the rest of my family. At the time, there were fewer than 20 confirmed cases in all of Rhode Island. From my window, I watched people walking their dogs and jogging; parents pushing strollers. How would our friends and neighbors react? Would they fear us?
comments powered by Disqus
- Critical Race Theory Battle Invades School Boards — with Help from Conservative Groups
- The Rise and Fall of an American Tech Giant
- ‘Cynical and Illegitimate’: Higher-Ed Groups Assail Legislative Efforts to Restrict Teaching of Racism
- Congress Is Poised To Take Back Some Of Its War Powers From The President
- Racist Mural Puts Tate Galleries in a Bind
- Capitalism American-Style: A Financial History of the United States
- Event: History Matters with Annette Gordon-Reed, Historian & Author, “On Juneteenth” (Friday, June 18)
- The Freeing of the American Mind
- Lost Cause: 50 Years of the Drug War in Latin America
- Amazon’s Greatest Weapon Against Unions: Worker Turnover