I am a single person living alone in Los Angeles, California and I have been in isolation now for three plus weeks prior to it becoming mandatory. I am also one of the many 20th Century Fox employees who were let go over the last year.
COVID-19 became a concerning part of my life February 1 when a friend from Milan, Italy came to stay with me for a month. During this time, we received daily reports from Italy about the rapid spread of COVID-19, leaving my friend fearful of returning to her home country.
Early on I stocked up on groceries and household items and I now depend on the local markets near my house versus the bigger grocery stores. Our grocery stores are still very busy, and you generally have to wait to enter. Cleaning supplies and toilet paper are still hard to find but there are no shortages on food. Most recently we have all been ordered to wear face masks when entering any places of business.
To fill my days, I stay active connecting with industry colleagues, reading media publications, joining Zoom meeting for personal and professional calls, enjoying web music performances, and of course using social media. I have also spent more time with my parents who live in Pennsylvania via video, which has become a new normal for communication, and is really enjoyable! For exercise, I take long daily walks or bicycle rides and I also join a daily Spin class via Zoom every morning with friends from my gym. Exercise and keeping up with family, friends, and colleagues via Zoom “hang-outs” have been so positive, and keep me going.
There are a handful of friends I know who have the virus and two are now in recovery. One friend is from Europe and was hospitalized for 16 days, but is thankfully now home. I have another friend in New York who was infected early on and was unable to get tested for days even though it was obvious he had COVID-19. This New York friend was also told it would cost several thousand dollars for a test as he was infected prior to the U.S. government taking action and realizing the seriousness of COVID-19. A third friend is in Los Angeles and has been advised by his doctor not to leave his house for testing as he might infect others in the process.
In my 26 years living in Los Angeles, I am seeing a new city without any traffic on the freeways or local streets, which is astonishing. Our air is smog free; we have crystal clear views of the city and ocean, and I have never seen so many people walking the local neighborhoods. I am finding that people are more courteous —friendlier even — although we all live in fear of the virus spreading.
During this period in isolation, I am most grateful for my life and I feel fortunate knowing so many others are facing many more challenges than me.
I have also had a lot of time to ponder the future and how different our world will be when this is all over. I think it will be many more months before we get back to some semblance of normalcy, and we will live a new normal with distancing rules for some time.
Dorothy Crompton (pictured above) is an industry veteran and a former VP of 20th Century Fox Television Distribution.