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The Importance of Writing About the Corona Virus (Covid-19)

Updated on February 29, 2020
Billie Kelpin profile image

left-handed author who sees the world from a different side; First Novel "Falling Idols"-a '60s tale of love, family, career and self-doubt

Stories in Your Lap

Sometimes stories are thrown in your lap. When the stories are frightening, often a helpful way to cope is to grab those stories by the throat and shake them out.

This moment in our history has thrown the story of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) into our laps. As writers, photographers, artists, musicians, playwrights, even comedians, we are called to pay attention, observe, and record!

While our minds in their most creative states invent galaxies, fantasylands, and characters who don't exist, the lessons we're learning right now in 2020 can serve our work just as history served writers a hundred years ago. While some writers might reject the journalistic approach, there are ways to incorporate even your most creative, fantastical works of fiction with the times.

What Sort of a Day Was it?

"...a day like all days filled with the events that alter and illuminate our time, and YOU were there!"

Walter Cronkite

History Lost:

My father, pictured above with his sister Margaret, lost their parents to the "Spanish Flu" around 1919. I suspect this picture was taken after they were separated from their other siblings and were sent to live with an Aunt. From the look on my father's face, I can imagine the photo could have been taken on the day of his mother's burial. I don't know for sure. The other brothers and sisters were taken in by other relatives. Of course, I never got to know my paternal grandparents. I know their names were Louis and Margaret, but I know little else about them. Even can't give me one of those little green leaves that hint at records that might fill in the mystery of their existence. Imagine if some person in my family recorded the events, his or her feelings, anything about that time. Hopefully, no one will have to be a witness to such tragedy during this outbreak, but all of us, right here, right now are experiencing reactions to what's happening around us.

Statistics from 1919

The CDC estimated that about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected with that virus a hundred years ago. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States.* According to the CDC website, the fact that healthy people were affected, especially those in the 20-40 year age group, was a unique feature of this pandemic.


Add Content To Your Blog

Blogging is another great way to record this time of uncertainty. Let's say you're blogging about your novel. How fascinating would it be to relate these times somehow with the time period of your novel? How would one of your character's respond given the circumstances of 2020? How is technology different than "Your LIttle House on the Prairie" setting or how are today's events similar to events in your novel? What characteristics do you see in the leaders today to your own characters?

In 2008, I created a blog of President Obama's First 100 Days in Office. I might someday publish a book version of that blog converted with my favorite conversion software at (I just threw this in because I love that software). The point is, just re-reading my blog gives me insights into what happened from a personal level. At the very least, it's something our adult kids might like to read someday.

Write An Article on Hubpages

Of course, being a writer on Hubpages is a natural "go-to" place to write about this moment in history. Factual articles that can be sourced will be extremely important for readers. Outside of the medical aspects of this topic, there are political, sociological, psychological, ethical, even religious implications as to what has already occurred in the first few months of our awareness of the Corona/Wukan/CoVid19 virus.

Linking to Your Hubpages

While HubPages has strict rules about the exclusivity of articles, there is nothing wrong as I have been assured in the past, of using your blog to link back to the article you write on HubPages. I always make sure the title of blog posting is different than the title here. For example, my blog posting is The "Spanish Flu" Writers, and You. I make sure my one or two lines of the summary is also different than on HubPages. Thus when I add the url of my published Hubpages article, I can do so without fear that I'm duplicating any aspect of my article. I'm merely telling my blog readers to click over to Hubpages.


Pull Out Your Journal

Even if we use this time to solely incorporate into our fiction questions of ethics, morality, service to others, selfishness, greed, the recording of historical facts as observers of this new pandemic will be important, if not imperative. It might be time, therefore, to pull out that beautiful leather-bound journal that your brother gave you for your birthday or that calendar you got during the holidays and stashed away in a drawer somewhere. Even taking notes on your smartphone or adding a little recording of your feelings will be useful. Anything that makes documenting this time easy for you as a creative person will serve your art in some way or another.

We Are Here!

There are vast differences between the pandemic of 1919. Back then there were "no antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections that can be associated with influenza infections. We didn't have the technology that facilitates scientific solutions. We now have drones that can deliver goods if we need them, even robotic "nurses" that can administer to us, and devices that can help alleviate some of the effects of the virus.

Nobody wanted this story thrown in our laps. Nobody wants to see a little boy with the look my father had when both his parents died. I will never know whether the depression that caused my father to die in a locked ward in a Veterans Hospital in Tomah, Wisconsin was caused by his initial grief at eight years old. Other children grieve and overcome. All I know is that recording this period of time in whatever way strikes us, simply adds to the information that helps us learn about ourselves. Sometimes the universe calls us to greatness—to be more noble, more loving, more selfless. Sometimes we're caught unaware of the call, but this is not that time. These days will be filled with "those events that alter and illuminate our time" and we are here--to record, create, and witness.


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