The new normal: Life during the coronavirus crisis | News | Mountain View Online |


The new normal: Life during the coronavirus crisis

Ordinary people share how they're coping during these extraordinary times

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The coronavirus crisis has significantly disrupted the lives of many people in the community, from Stanford University students to restaurant workers to everyday people. Photo collage by Kevin Legnon.

When Esther Tiferes Tebeka and her 15-year-old daughter returned home from Wuhan, China, last month after being on lockdown, the Palo Alto mother was relieved to escape the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak and get back to a normal life.

She thought the ordeal was behind her, but now weeks later, Tebeka is trapped for a second time by the virus that has spread across the globe. She is among the nearly 7 million residents in six Bay Area counties who were ordered to shelter at home at the start of this week to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, which has spiked in the region in recent days. As of Tuesday, Santa Clara County reported 375 confirmed cases and 16 deaths; and San Mateo County reported 161 cases and its first death.

In a span of one week, the coronavirus outbreak created a new reality along the Midpeninsula: Schools have shut down, Stanford University students have been ordered off campus, all concerts and sports events have been canceled, tech campuses are empty and most residents are now stuck at home. Life as we knew it has come to a screeching halt.

As residents adjust to the new normal over the next few weeks,we're sharing personal stories of how ordinary people are coping during these extraordinary times.

Last week, we talked to Tebeka as well as a health care worker on the frontline, a gig worker weighing the risks of making deliveries, an older adult living behind closed doors, Stanford University students facing eviction and an artistic director who had to cancel his first premiere. Read their stories at

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.


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The 34th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by April 10, 2020. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

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