Storyteller: Antonia Levario
Robert is a 50 year old man living in Birch Run, Michigan. He shares a home with his wife and three daughters. Robert has worked in the food industry for over 3 years and now helps keep businesses afloat during the pandemic.
Robert first heard about COVID-19 in March of 2020 from the media. Robert was concerned about his safety because people can often be negligent of the rules. Robert just celebrated his 50th birthday during the COVID-19 pandemic and he explains it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for him, but he still had some major concerns for public health. He explained that he didn’t go out for his birthday due to the state’s strict dining restrictions, which Robert wanted to respect. Even though Robert works in the industry and these rules affect his own business, Robert believes safety is more important.
Robert’s everyday life didn’t change much, he started staying at home more often with his family in order to keep safe. Although Robert had anxieties about the pandemic, Robert still went to work every single day and he explained that he had felt concerned for his health while working with the public. Robert’s main struggle was when he came in close contact with people. What frustrated Robert the most was people not taking proper precautions by wearing masks.
One thing that Robert has learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is many people refuse to follow the recomended rules but that doesn’t mean that you can’t help keep people safe. Robert has experienced many losses during this pandemic, in return this even furthers his stance on mask. Robert lost many close friends during the pandemic. At first, his trust for humanity was fading away but he his becoming more hopeful and optimistic and glad he’s healthy.
Due to this anxiety and uncertainty, Robert’s mental health was challenged during this pandemic as well. Robert explains that he catches himself feeling more irritated at people who think the pandemic isn’t real or a fictional political tactic. Robert often worries about how he is going to keep his family safe and himself as well. About 3 months ago, Robert suffered his second heart attack and he has pre existing conditions which makes him more vulnerable to the virus as well. Robert’s main goal is to make it out of this year a more healthy man.
Robert has gotten used to the idea of the mask and face protection, he recounts a time where he sneezed inside his mask and it went all over his face. Although Robert is a huge advocate for wearing a mask and staying safe, he just isn’t used to the mask hurting his ears yet. Robert sees the virus as a test to humanity, to come together (six feet away) and work something out, not stand on opposite ends.