Coronavirus is seemingly everywhere but nowhere at the same time. While scrolling through the media it is hard to balance comedic memes with a news cycle that is constantly bombarding us with figures and statistics.  

We asked real New Yorkers show they cope with the stress brought on by the virus, and how they stay healthy. 

Debbie Breckenridge, 65

Debbie Breckenridge, 65, sits at Cadman Plaza Park with her husband. It’s on the few times the couple has left their house since Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency last Thursday. Saturday, March 14, 2020 / Bryce Buyakie

Brooklyn native 

IT freelance consultant 

How do you feel about New York City’s response to the coronavirus?

“It’s been a little late. Now it seems like people are very much focused on it. As soon as we hear more about testing availability, I think then I’ll feel like things are really being managed, but we don’t have that yet.” 

What are you doing differently?

“We’re not going out as much and we’re not taking public transportation as much, like the subway. I’ll start working from home on Tuesday – that’s about a two-mile walk. And you know, the usual hand washing and all that kind of stuff.”

How do you cope?

“We don’t watch the news as much, but we don’t really understand all the anxiety. I have my hobbies. I make quilts and things like that. We’re problem solvers. We’re in the group that needs to be concerned, but we’re not too anxious but that’s just us by nature. We do have a little bit more in the way of canned food. Our freezer is packed, but we haven’t really been hoarding Purell or paper goods or anything like that, or toilet paper.  

Tarik Bhogali, 24

Tarik Bhogali, 24, is on vacation from his IT job in London with his friend. Bhogali isn’t worried about COVID-19 because he is young. Saturday, March 14, 2020 / Bryce Buyakie

London, UK native

IT technician 

How do you feel about New York City’s response to the coronavirus?

“You don’t see a lot of people with masks. There’s not a lot of facilities that say wipe surfaces down because I’m from London, so London advises us to wipe all surfaces down. Wash your hands with hot water for at least 30 seconds. We arrived on Thursday, and only a day ago is when we started to see some advisories. In New York City, I don’t think anyone should worry about the coronavirus.  one knows what it is, how it reacts with people, but they say it’s the young people who don’t get affected. Young people should stop spreading rumors and hearsay.”

What are you doing differently?

“Water. You have to stay hydrated. Because the last thing you want is to have a dry throat. Can’t really take any too harsh preventative measures. You just have to clean. I mean, people should be wary when they rub their eyes and nose, but that’s it. Just keep yourself sanitary. I’m not worried about travel.” 

How are people reacting in London?

“London has seen a lot of cases. I don’t know the numbers, but a lot of people are going crazy. Toiletries are out of stock everywhere. We can’t get toilet tissue anywhere in London. It’s all gone. All gone. Again, it’s all hearsay.”

How has the virus affected you?

“At work, we got told, if you go anywhere on holiday, that’s when you return and self-isolate yourself for two weeks so that it doesn’t develop into something else. Even if I have it or don’t have it, I have to stay at home. A lot of places are introducing work from home but with flexible hours, so coming to work at 10 or 11 a.m. and leave at three or four p.m. to miss that rush hour. Makes sense. There’s a lot of places that need supplies that are out of stock, so MacBooks and Windows laptops are all gone because all of the factories that make our laptops, make our phones are shut. At work, it’s really sad because we tell people that we can’t really get laptops right now because there is an eight-week lead time. It’s normally the next business day. So that’s a bit a worrying I suppose.”