Welcome back to my ABCovid-19 Journal, which I created/curated in the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic. This week, I’m sharing all the letters of the alphabet with you which reminded me keywords and themes emerging as we were learning about this dastardly public health threat beginning early in 2020.
In today’s Health Populi blog I bring you letters “K” through “O,” continuing through the rest of the alphabet tomorrow and Friday while I’m on a lake-side holiday that’s good for mind, body, and spirit.
K is for Kirkland, Washington state
In the U.S., one of the earliest hotspots for the coronavirus outbreak was Kirkland, Washington. In particular, the hottest spot appeared to be a nursing home where one resident had been diagnosed with COVID-19 on February 28. The infection quickly spread through the facility and then to others in King County, Washington state.
The CDC reported in the aptly-named Morbidity and Mortality Report on this long-term care facility in late March, detailing cases among 81 residents, 34 staff members, and 14 visits. To that point, 23 people had died, CDC noted.
This sobering journal page features a map of the western United States with a star sticker identifying the Kirkland location on the map. The photo underneath the star was printed from a local newspaper article showing public health and LTC staff wearing hazmat-type suits. The apple sticker at the bottom right is a little touch of sad irony with the fruit being associated with that axiom, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” I added in a Pacific Coast telegram sticker and spelled out the name of the city in a child-like alpha font.
L is for lockdown
One of the early vocabulary words we came to learn in our pandemic-era language education was “lockdown,” as in the #GreatLockdown. State Governors, particularly those trying to manage the pandemic in states located on the two coasts, had issued shelter-in-place orders. In those states, residents were compelled to stay home and avoid exposure to COVID-19 to “stop the spread.”
On this lockdown page, I chose a journaling card from Studio Calico that asserts, “There’s no place like home” in the left upper corner layered with an “L” child’s flash card from a set I frequently used throughout the mini-book.
I found a vintage hotel key sticker (the Hotel Continental) which echoes theme-wise with the red key on the right, perpendicularly placed with the United States Lines tag for a cabin class cruise ship stateroom — an allusion to the cruise ships that had been super-spreaders for the coronavirus.
Finally, I added the “Fragile” packing sticker leftover from a recent house move. The word “fragile” resonated due to the growing understanding that the lockdown would lead to growing mental health issues for many of us in self-quarantine.
M is for mask
The mask was the obvious word-choice for the “M” page of the ABCovid-19 journal. Besides hand-washing, mask-wearing emerged as an evidence-based self-care tactic recommended by the nation’s public health officials in and beyond Washington, DC.
I had this fabulous mask paper from a Halloween craft stash and cut a piece for one-half of the two-page spread shown at the right side. Then on the left I used complementary printed dot paper that reminded me of random, colorful cells seen under a microscope.
I added in some phrase stickers, and found photos of people in masks that felt right for this page.
A special photo on the upper right features a kind of Plague Doctor mask worn in the 17th century (by the way, they didn’t work as advertised). This particular mask in the photo was made by my friend, artist Agostino Dessi who lives and works in Florence, Italy. Here’s a link to his biography and work. It gave me comfort to use this picture of Ago’s mask-art, especially as northern Italy was so plagued (sorry) with the coronavirus at the moment I was planning out the “M” page.
N is for New York and Nurse
For the “N” page, there was no shortage of important themes to select. But it had to be New York, coupled with a nurse icon from a vintage set of child’s flash cards.
A map of New York City provided the base for this page, along with a photo taken around a surreal, empty Times Square. On the upper left is the State of Liberty photographed with the U.S. Naval Hospital Ship “Comfort,” which was re-purposed to provide medical services to patients in Manhattan’s over-stressed hospital system.
I added in an Insta-sized photo of an iconic New York Post newspaper cover that featured city hospital workers who felt they were “treated like trash” as the headline read: this was due to a shortage of personal protective equipment, a “P” phrase that also became part of our pandemic lexicon, acronym #PPE. Note these workers were photographed wearing trash bags as jerry-rigged hospital “gowns.”
I also found a vintage Cavallini New York postmark sticker to add into the collage.
O is for outbreak
The CDC defines “outbreak” as an epidemic that occurs in a limited geographic area. In the case of COVID-19, the outbreak in Wuhan, China, spread around the world, so I chose to feature a “travel the world” sticker to ironically lead us into the two-page spread.
For the base of the pages, I chose a printed scrapbook paper with dots, within each of which is a snippet of the world map. This symbolized the outbreak’s spread across the globe.
I then spelled out the word “outbreak” in stark black and white alpha stickers that have a graffiti-like feel.
The “Outbreak!” card on the right came from a Halloween-themed paper.
I finished the page with some colorful washi-tape that incorporated the hues of the mini-maps in the dots, but with an ironic feel as these were flowers — a light-and-airy contrast to the very sobering theme of the page.
Tomorrow, we’ll review our P’s, Q’s, and R through T. Thanks for checking back in to visit my ABCovid-19 journal, and do let me know your fave alpha/pages in this passion project, my #arttherapy in the Age of the C19 Pandemic.