What People Across The Country Miss Most About Daily Life Before The Outbreak

Nearly 9 in 10 Americans say their lives have been affected at least a little, a HuffPost/YouGov poll finds.
A woman wearing personal protective equipment sits alone alongside empty swings to maintain social distancing at a playground, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in New York.
A woman wearing personal protective equipment sits alone alongside empty swings to maintain social distancing at a playground, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in New York.

Within a few weeks, coronavirus and the attempts to mitigate it have reshaped the contours of daily life for millions of Americans. In a HuffPost/YouGov poll released this week, 88% of Americans said their life had been affected at least a little since the outbreak began, with 41% saying their lives had changed a lot.

Asked what they missed most about their daily lives prior to the outbreak, Americans across the country tended to highlight the poignantly mundane: working, shopping, going out and spending time with loved ones. Their responses ranged in both severity and specificity. Some were afraid for their lives or their ability to remain financially afloat. Some missed taking the family out for ice cream, brainstorming in-person with co-workers, seeing a daughter off to prom, or making a midnight run to the store. Others mourned the sudden absence of a sense of safety and stability.

Here’s a sampling of some of the responses, lightly edited for clarity and length:

“Being able to have a routine which included making successful trips to the grocery store, being able to do my banking, being able to conduct business in person. I even miss standing in line. And on and on. Need a return to normalcy.” ― 68-year-old Texas man

“Feeling somewhat safe. This thing would kill me. My husband works grocery. My lungs hurt right now. I could have it, but can’t afford testing.” ― 51-year-old Oregon woman

“Going out freely and not worrying about my parents.” ― 45-year-old Virginia man

“I’m not working anymore ... I miss that.” ― 54-year-old Missouri woman

“Can’t go to pulmonary rehab, because it is closed.” ― 79-year-old Michigan man

“Hugging my grandchildren.” ― 53-year-old Arkansas woman

“Visits from my wife (I am in a nursing home).” ― 72-year-old Oklahoma man

“I miss being at college with all my friends, going to class in person and being able to utilize my campus resources.” ― 18-year-old Florida woman

“Window shopping.” ― 65-year-old New Hampshire woman

“Daily coffee run.” ― 48-year-old California woman

“Visiting local breweries.” ― 36-year-old Minnesota man

“My daily water aerobics class.” ― 67-year-old Georgia woman

“I can’t do volunteer work with the nursing home, AARP or visit my brother in the hospital.” ― 66-year-old Alabama woman

“I miss going out. Even to go buy groceries. I didn’t have to worry really about anything. Or think that the store shelves would be empty. Like I do now.” ― 28-year-old Nevada woman

“I miss having the ability to take my time when buying the things that I want or need. Due to the virus I feel as though I need to get what I need or want as soon as possible.” ― 47-year-old Texas man

“I am a piano teacher, and I have had to switch to teaching remote online lessons. I miss seeing my students, and I am a more effective teacher in person.” ― 54-year-old Virginia woman

“Driving my taxi.” ― 51-year-old Wisconsin man

“Taking my kids to a sit-down dinner, to the movies, or even a day at the park or beach.” ― 33-year-old California man

“My kids not being so stressed.” ― 53-year-old Texas woman

“I miss being a slob. My daughter is a young home health nurse with almost no PPE for something as contagious and problematic as the COVID-19 disease. At work today we were told we’ll be laid off in two weeks, and our temp workers were all fired. I miss the peace of mind for sure.” ― 54-year-old Tennessee woman

“Not being afraid of everyone around me.” ― 23-year-old New Hampshire woman

“The (obviously delusional) opinion that America was still a free country.” ― 61-year-old Kentucky man

“Where do I start?” ― 56-year-old Illinois man

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