Day 1-March 18

According to worldometer.info there are 219,181 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 18th 2020. 

My name is Holly Porritt, I’m a second year journalism student at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. Today, I should have been in an eight-hour class, writing like crazy as I try to get stories out in a noisy newsroom. Instead, my last semester has been cut short because of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

I have never been able to see something collectively affect the world as much as COVID-19 has. I was only a year old when 9/11 happened, so I wasn’t able to witness how the different countries came together after it. However, that is always one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of impactful and historic moments that I can say I was alive for. I can’t explain how it made me feel or what I thought of it, because I was a baby. I was only able to see some of the aftermath. Now, I’ll be able to tell my kids that I witnessed this pandemic from start to finish. I’ll laugh with them over how much people believed they desperately needed toilet paper, I’ll explain how annoyed I was when people shared misinformation like wildfire, and I’ll be able to tell them what it was like to live through it. Perhaps I’ll even be able to show them these diary entries.

I know a lot of people have been blaming the media for misconstruing facts and spreading fear instead of wisdom. I don’t know if I agree with that or not, I do know that it’s been scary, and that the media hasn’t entirely helped to ease my mind. But I’ve mainly just seen people either terrified or exclaiming that everyone is overreacting. It’s funny to see everything go down from a Canadian perspective. Because as of 5 p.m. today, we have 621 cases here, that’s considered pretty low for this outbreak. There are over 219,000 total confirmed cases worldwide so far. So, there’s not a lot of serious panic here. Places have shut down, schools have closed, grocery stores have been ransacked, but we still have a fairly small amount of cases here. We’re more preparing for prevention than the aftermath I think. 

Day 1 of quarantine has been pretty average. I slept in, I didn’t go outside at all, I worked on my online homework for most of the day. It was actually pretty nice. Especially since it’s the end of my last semester at school, I had prepared for these next couple of weeks to be chaotic. I expected to have to juggle work, school, and a social life while giving up sleep and overall well-being. That’s just how exam seasons go for me. But instead, I’ve been able to catch up on sleep and do all my final projects from home, in bed. The store I work at is closed for the next three weeks so I won’t have to juggle work on top of all of this either. I feel like it’s been fairly common for some of my younger friends to be almost praising this craziness for giving us a break. It sounds really bad, especially when thousands of lives have been lost. But, we’ve all been given a couple of weeks to breathe and reset. I’ll take whatever I can get at this point.

Day 2-March 19 

According to worldometer.info there are 245,660 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 19th, 2020. 873 cases have been confirmed in Canada.

I can’t say it’s been easy to stay inside for so long. The last time I went out was Tuesday at noon, so it’s officially been a while. I was telling a friend today over the phone that normally this would be easy. Usually, if I had a day or two off, which is rare during this time of year, I’d be spending my days exactly like how I am now. I would probably try to do something with a friend but usually on a day off I would be doing what I’m doing now with ease. I think it’s knowing that I sort of have to isolate that’s making it less enjoyable. Normally things like sleeping in, having classes off, having work off, having time to relax and do things for myself, those would all sound exactly like the perfect day off to me. But instead, I’ve been finding myself to be bored, spending so much time on my phone and computer and only socializing with people over the phone for short periods of time. It’s not as enjoyable a couple of days in, I’m curious as to what this will be like in a week or so.

I work at a coffee shop that’s going to be closed for about two and a half weeks, but I already had a couple days off before that so it will pretty much be about three weeks off work for me. I’m getting catastrophe pay so I won’t have to worry too much about not making rent, but it does make me worry for others who aren’t as lucky as me, and those who still have to work and potentially be risking their health. I’ve seen a lot of people praising nurses because they can’t take any time off, and I definitely sympathize with them too. It’s crazy for me to think that a month ago we probably never would have seen this coming, and now so many people around the world are isolating and quarantining themselves. I know the death rate is low in Canada for now, and that there have been a lot of people who have recovered so far, but this pandemic is still so scary. 

Day 3-March 20 

According to worldometer.info there are 276,468 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 20th 2020. 1,087 cases have been confirmed in Canada.

I had to get groceries today. I went to two different grocery stores before ending up at Walmart. I used to love grocery shopping, it was one of my favourite things about moving out. My friends and I go together almost every week and we always have fun. But now, grocery stores have this weird energy. No one wanted to be within 4 feet of another person, it was like this feeling of distrust across the aisles. The second someone coughed or sneezed or touched something for just a little too long, all eyes were on them. It was an odd sensation. It’s almost like this virus has turned us all against each other. At my job one of our biggest values is to assume the best in people, that’s the sort of thing I’ve become used to. But now, it’s like everyone is sick until proven otherwise–shoot dirty looks and ask questions never. 

On a lighter note… I cleaned my entire apartment out of boredom. I dusted corners that I don’t think have ever seen a swiffer. It’s nice to have a clean room, especially when your room is pretty much the only thing you’ve seen for the past week. That’s pretty much the biggest piece of advice I’ve been giving my friends. It definitely makes a difference being in a clean space. I should really be making a better effort to try to be outside more, even just sitting outside on my patio would make a difference. It’s just been so cold lately. I also spent a little bit of time doing some painting. I’m really not good at all but it’s something to keep my mind occupied. Anyway, those are my thoughts on today. I just want this to be over already.

I’ve been painting to try to keep busy.

Day 4-March 21

According to worldometer.info there are 305,113 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 21st 2020. 1,328 cases have been confirmed in Canada.

The weather was really nice today so I figured it was time to go outside in a safe way. I thought of a do and do not list that lists activities that are safe to do, unsafe to do, and those that you should do with caution. Because yes, I have that much free time.


Go for a walk

Spend time with family

Yard work

Video calls



Attend classes

Go out with friends

Be in large crowds

Visitors in your house


Working out in gyms

With Caution

Grocery shopping

Get take out

Picking up medications

Travelling home

So, because it was such a nice day and I figured I should get out of the house, I went for a pretty long drive. I could have also gone for a walk. I don’t know any trails or areas around me that well for walking and I didn’t have anyone to go with me today so I figured it would be safer to go for a drive. Plus, gas prices are at the lowest price I’ve ever seen, 76 cents a litre. 

I took this nice picture of the clouds because the sky looked so pretty.

Day 5-March 22

According to worldometer.info there are 337,553 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 22nd 2020. 1,470 cases have been confirmed in Canada.

It was really nice outside again but unfortunately I didn’t have a couple of hours to spare on going for a walk or a drive. I did enjoy my breakfast outside but for the rest of the day I worked on homework for my ongoing classes. I made plans to meet up with a friend tomorrow to go for a walk in my hometown which is about an hour away. I figured I might as well just stay at home for a couple of nights to spend time with family before heading back to my apartment. However, my mother didn’t really like the idea.

The friend I’m seeing has also been in quarantine for the past week and also hasn’t shown any symptoms or been in contact with someone who’s been sick. So, we both assumed we would be fine to meet up, especially when we only plan to be in contact with each other and no one else for the day. We’re also going to be staying six feet apart as much as possible, which has been recommended by health officials. I know my mom wants to keep me safe but I do feel like she may be overreacting here, especially when we’ll both be back in quarantine for another two weeks after seeing each other. To be honest I just need human interaction. I’ve been video-calling with friends and family but I haven’t been able to see any of my friends in so long. Hopefully, this will be over soon and I can get back to seeing my friends without having to worry about getting sick.

Day 6-March 23

According to worldometer.info there are 378,830 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 23rd 2020. 2,091 cases have been confirmed in Canada.

Today is the first day I’ll be in contact with someone other than the people at the grocery store I saw last week. My friend and I made plans to meet up and go for a walk together. It was actually raining a lot so we decided to go for a drive instead. We planned to stay six feet apart from each other as much as possible but it was a little harder in the car so we actually ended up taking her SUV instead of my car because there would be more space between us. Even though it wasn’t a huge difference, we figured it was better than nothing. I also made a point to stay six feet apart from her parents and even her dog to be as careful as possible. I know that my friend and her parents have been in quarantine for about a week now as well so I wasn’t that worried but definitely wouldn’t have put myself in that situation if that wasn’t the case. 

Me with a friend, trying to social distance as best as possible.

I have quite a few friends who are still working and I’m worried for them. To me, it just worries me that they have to be around people right now. And most of them can’t afford to not work right now. When my store closed, they offered us paid leave and said we could still pick up shifts at other stores that were to remain open if we needed the extra money. But I know that other corporations aren’t offering that and I hate it.

Day 7-March 24

According to worldometer.info there are 422,574 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 24th 2020. 2,792 cases have been confirmed in Canada.

Over the past couple of days, I have been catching up on TV. One of my favourite shows is Big Brother. I’ve watched it since I was a kid and now watch Big Brother Canada as well. Right now, Big Brother Canada is on it’s eighth season; however, the season is being cut short due to COVID-19. The season has had a rocky start after a self-eviction and the ejection of two houseguests which the show is still receiving backlash for. The show is only in its third week of production. Big Brother Canada is the first production of Big Brother that has announced they will be stopping because of the virus. Others,such as the German, Brazillian, and Israeli Big Brother, are still remaining in production for now. 

As I was watching the show I didn’t even think about how COVID-19 could be affecting the production of this show. I mean, the show is literally about people who are in quarantine from the rest of the world. But they made a lot of changes before inevitably stopping production. The host of the show, Arisa Cox, began working from home, they suspended all live-audiences, and the production crew was urged to stop working. For most people, working from home was strongly encouraged, but there are a lot of jobs you can’t do from the comfort of your couch. Operating cameras, maintaining live feeds, editing clips together in order to produce episodes- all on state-of-the-art equipment, is impossible to do from home. And at this point, it’s unsafe for a lot of people to be working around each other. So, as much as I’m sad to see the show end and have one less show to invest my time in, I guess I understand why they have to be cancelling production.

Day 8-March 25

According to worldometer.info there are 471,034 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 25th 2020. 3,409 cases have been confirmed in Canada.

It will likely reach 500,000 cases by tomorrow or the day after. Half a million confirmed cases of COVID-19, across 198 countries and territories. I cannot believe it’s gotten this bad. I remember when news of the virus first broke. I was in class on a Wednesday, a day where I write news stories for about eight hours straight. One of the stories we were writing was about the passengers aboard the Princess Diamond cruise ship who were under quarantine after 10 passengers tested positive for COVID-19. I remember casually discussing the situation with my classmates as we made our predictions for what was to come. I don’t think any of us thought we would be here. 

It’s been almost two months since that Wednesday, and we’re about to surpass half a million confirmed cases. Canada, among many other countries, is in quarantine, self-isolation was recommended and was just enforced as mandatory today. Non-essential businesses have been ordered to close their doors in Ontario . Colleges and universities across the country have gone online for the rest of the term, public elementary and secondary schools were set to close for two weeks after their one week closure for March break and reopen April 6th. Education minister Stephen Lecce has now ordered schools to remain closed after April 6th, but has not yet said when they will reopen. A lot of my friends and family believe they might remain closed until school starts again in the fall. 

I never would have thought we would get to this point. Like I said in the beginning of these diaries, I’ve never seen anything like this. So I guess I didn’t know what to expect. Honestly, yesterday everything was fine. I was just going about my day in quarantine but today, I guess just seeing the number that high scared me. I’ve reflected on how much everything has changed, and how much more things will change, and it scares me. Especially not knowing. Not knowing how much longer we’ll have to do this, not knowing how much more things are going to change, and not knowing when this will all end and go back to normal.

Day 9-March 26

According to worldometer.info there are 531,865 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 26th 2020. 4,043 cases have been confirmed in Canada.

We’ve surpassed 500,000 confirmed cases. Which is hard to take in. It just feels like this entire pandemic keeps getting worse and worse. It’s hard to hope for the future when you don’t know what that future will look like. I mean, no one knows how long this is going to last, or how long we’ll all be in isolation. I want to be able to see my friends, and I want to be able to make plans for the summer without having to say “if all of this is over by then.”

I know I don’t even have it that bad. I mean, there are people who won’t be able to make rent this month because their hours have been cut or they lost their jobs. There are children and spouses who are trapped in abusive households right now. There are people with mental illnesses who rely on things like being out in social situations to distract and help them. There are a lot of people who are having a harder time dealing with this than I am. And that’s not to say I’m not allowed to feel the way I’m feeling. I’m just saying I, and many others, still have a lot of privilege in this quarantine that I think most people aren’t recognizing.

Even with all of this stress going on, I think it’s important to try and stay positive. So, today I made cinnamon rolls. Baking relieves stress for me–I think it’s the act of physically doing something with my hands that sort of distracts me from everything around me. It was actually pretty fun. I didn’t have a baking pan so I used a muffin tray but they turned out really good. 

Fresh baked cinnamon rolls to relieve stress.

Day 10-March 27

According to worldometer.info there are 596,366 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 27th 2020. 4,757 cases have been confirmed in Canada.

I’ve been trying to get out of the house more, in a safe way. I’m still not in contact with anyone but going for a walk or a drive when I’m feeling like I need to get out of the house has been really nice. I actually just got a longboard to keep me entertained. My siblings always had skateboards and longboards when I was growing up but it was the classic tale of a younger sibling who wasn’t allowed to join in. But now, I finally bought one of my own. Fortunately I was able to have an extra hundred dollars to expend on a board, I know that not everyone has that luxury. But I figured since we’re going to have a lot of time left in this quarantine, I might as well bite the bullet and take this time to learn. I actually suggested to a couple of friends that they get one too. 

It’s been good to get out of the house for things like that but I think a lot of other people had that idea too. There were a lot more people outside than I thought there would be. And I’ve noticed this over the last couple of days. I guess it’s good that people are getting outside but it’s kind of defeating the entire purpose of the quarantine. I guess that’s kind of hypocritical for me to say. But, when I’m outside I am trying my best to keep a safe distance from people and not interact with anyone.

New longboard to help me get outside.

Day 11-March 28

According to worldometer.info there are 663,127 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 28th 2020. 5,655 cases have been confirmed in Canada.

One of the things I’ve noticed over the past few weeks has been how much I’ve been struggling more with disordered eating. I know that eating disorders and disordered eating habits are a problem for a significant amount of Candians, especially younger Canadians. But it is something I don’t really hear a lot about. Especially as openly in society as other controversial subjects like mental illness. I’ve only recently noticed mental illness become a subject more people are comfortable opening up about as it was once something never really discussed. Eating disorders have been classified as a mental illness but, to me, I haven’t seen them be as recognized as illnesses like depression or anxiety. It’s incredible to me that those mental illnesses have been more normalized as topics for discussion, but I do feel that the discussion of eating disorders still has a long way to go. 

Being in quarantine has definitely affected my relationship with disordered eating in a very unexpected way that I didn’t prepare for. When I have a structured schedule where I know when I’ll have time to have balanced meals, I can usually manage my disordered habits. Disordered eating is usually described as a range of irregular eating behaviour that may warrant an eating disorder diagnosis. This can be things like anxiety associated with certain foods, skipping meals, feelings of guilt or shame associated with eating, etc.

There are definitely times when having a busy scheduled day can become an opportunity for me to skip out on important meals. But I usually try to make an effort to ensure that kind of behaviour doesn’t happen. I struggled with a very bad eating disorder throughout my high school years and that sort of mindset isn’t something that goes away easily. I’ve never been able to say I’ve recovered because I feel like this is something I’ll have to deal with for the rest of my life. But for the past couple of years I’ve been doing a pretty good job of keeping myself accountable for any disordered habits I find myself exhibiting. Being in quarantine, where I live most days without much structure, has definitely made it harder for me to sort of control that part of my life. It has definitely been something I’ve struggled with these past few weeks and I know I’m not alone.

I’ve noticed people expressing how being in quarantine has affected their mental health because they’ve used things like social situations or daily activities to distract them and help them to battle illnesses like anxiety, depression, or ADHD. But when you’re in your house all day knowing that you can’t live the way you normally do, I feel like there’s a lot of fear and anxiety that comes with knowing that, which doesn’t make the situation any easier. For me, I rely on a busy schedule to occupy my mind and distract me from disordered thoughts and help with my anxiety. A busy schedule helped me battle anxiety because it’s a way I’ve been able to feel in control of my days. Without this control, I have definitely felt the quarantine play a big role on the status of my mental health. I know I’m not alone in this situation and I really hope that others who are struggling have support systems to help them get through this trying time.

Day 12-March 29

According to worldometer.info there are 721,946 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 29th 2020. 6,320 cases have been confirmed in Canada.

I’ve been trying to incorporate more structure into my day-to-day life since I’ve noticed the effects this quarantine has had on my mental health. Even if it’s just scheduling out time for myself to be watching Netflix or chatting with friends, it has definitely helped me feel better. I have, however, noticed how much time I’ve been spending on my laptop and phone. I’m sure many are guilty of this, especially in more recent days, but I’ve found myself on some sort of device for hours at a time. Trying to schedule out my days has honestly shown me how much time I’m wasting by re-watching shows or scrolling through social media. I’ve been trying to schedule out more time for myself to be doing things like reading or painting, instead of spending time on my phone.

In more recent days, I’ve found myself reaching for my phone wherever I am. Going to my kitchen to get water or even going across the room for something has become something I seem incapable of doing without my phone in hand. It’s definitely a problem. Especially because I don’t know how much longer we’re going to have to be in quarantine like this and this addiction could get much, much worse. To combat this, I’ve created a goal for myself to try and finish some of the books I’ve picked up this year but never got around to reading. These pieces of literature include Becky Albertalli’s “Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda,” Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451,” and my personal favourite so far, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrow’s “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.”

Books I’ve been reading.

These past few weeks have allowed me to reflect on the way I’ve reacted to this pandemic. Writing has always been a way for me to express myself in a coherent way, these blogs have not only helped me understand the world around me but also understand myself. It’s been hard for me on some occasions to cope with the way we’re living now, but in a way I’ve sort of grown from it. Reflecting back on my time in quarantine the past few weeks, it’s interesting to see how much my perspectives have changed.

I’m shocked that we are at this point, but I’m thankful for a break. It’s been easy for me to only see the positives in our situation. Being able to sleep in, relax, and take some time for myself was something I was really looking forward to. But I’ve been faced with more challenges than I expected. Missing my friends and regular life has been the biggest thing I’ve struggled with. The anxiety of not knowing when things will be normal again is still something that worries me and will worry me until the foreseeable future. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this entire experience is that we need to lean on each other (figuratively) right now, and that it’s ok to ask for help when you need it, whether it be for just someone to talk to, someone to deliver groceries to you, or someone to be a friend. The next few weeks might be even crazier than they are now. Though it might be scary or difficult, it’s something we will get through and we will get through together, just six feet apart, of course.

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