Writing about Covid-19 in the midst of the pandemic presents a few unusual challenges. The first is the enormous pressure to write something unique about a nearly universal experience. No background information needs to be provided, no context. We’re all obsessively reading articles online, tracking the spread and trying to protect ourselves. We’re all experts, or we feel like experts, and it’s hard to say anything that hasn’t been said before.
But my situation was unique for a few reasons. I was five thousand miles away from home in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, living in Madrid, when Covid-19 first started disrupting daily life across the world. Plus, I was working in the media, interning for the English edition of EL PAÍS, and thus reading article after article about the Covid-19 virus spreading across the globe. Yet even working in a newsroom, I harbored a deep (although private) skepticism for the way in which the media was reporting on the disease. I saw it as sensationalist and overblown, and I know that many people outside of the industry saw it the same way. It’s ironic, then, that we are now all leaning so heavily on the news to give us more information about the pandemic.