Mourning the Loss of Freedom in New York City

Below is the full, unedited text of a story describing the experiences of a woman in New York City during the Covid era. Please contact Covid Stories Archive if you would like to use or reproduce this essay, in whole or in part, for your research or writing. Also, please consider sharing your own stories for preservation in our archive.

I live in New York City. The last year has taken a toll on my mental and physical and physical health. The stress of opting not to surrender my freedom to the Covid tyrants is enormous. While walking in Central Park last summer without a mask, a woman accosted me and yelled: “Where is your mask? I hope you die!” I was terrified for my safety because there were many people around and I was afraid she might incite a mob to attack me. Thankfully nothing happened but it left me traumatized. New York imposed vaccine mandates for all workers and indoor venues. Although I am retired, I saw friends fired and ostracized for opting to refuse the vaccine. There are still vaccine restrictions for concerts. For a year I could not attend restaurants and still am unable to go to Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall. I am constantly on pins and needles since the mayor has chosen to let individual establishments keep mandates in place. I chose to not put poison into my system via the vaccination and I cried over whether I would be a pariah with friends and relatives. Some friends have abandoned me but thankfully I have found friends who have accepted my choice and want to be with me. Living with constant uncertainty and among a majority of people who buy into these mandates is very taxing. I have treasured my freedom and mourn the loss of it and the toll it has exacted on others who have to earn a living in New York City and are forced to accept the vaccine in order to keep their job.

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