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Isolated but not alone: How Chicagoans are living through the coronavirus pandemic Monday, with Olympic baking and face-mask sewing

Chicago Tribune logo Chicago Tribune 3/23/2020 By Chicago Tribune staff, Chicago Tribune
a screenshot of a cell phone in a park: Knowing that there might be others in need who can\u2019t make their way to their local grocery store, people in Roanoke, Virginia, are leaving non-perishables and water bottles in little free libraries. © Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS Knowing that there might be others in need who can\u2019t make their way to their local grocery store, people in Roanoke, Virginia, are leaving non-perishables and water bottles in little free libraries.

The week begins with Chicagoans following Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s order to “stay at home,” after residents tested out this new, new normal over the weekend when it went into effect Saturday evening.

a person standing in front of a building: After her grandmother's living facility went on lockdown, Jenny DeLoach went to drop off goods. When she arrived, she was treated to a beautiful sight: her father, David DeLoach, was already there, serenading her grandmother and friends with tunes on his guitar. © Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS After her grandmother's living facility went on lockdown, Jenny DeLoach went to drop off goods. When she arrived, she was treated to a beautiful sight: her father, David DeLoach, was already there, serenading her grandmother and friends with tunes on his guitar.

Those of us who are still showing up to work include everyone from vital medical professionals and CTA employees to the cashiers who bear the brunt of the rush for groceries.

But Chicagoans are still finding ways to spend time together and lend a hand, whether it’s by sewing face masks for local doctors and nurses or donating medical supplies originally bought as theater props.

Like the rest of the world, Chicagoland is making its way through this, one day at a time.

Along with the latest news updates and a running list of Chicago-area closings and cancellations, the Tribune is taking a look at how our day-to-day lives are changing.

Here are the latest updates Monday on how we’re living in the time of COVID-19:

8:02 a.m.: How Olympic hopefuls are dealing with uncertainty and training interruptions, from baking to online Zumba classes

a man standing in a kitchen preparing food: Olympic hopeful wrestler Joe Rau bakes a chocolate marble cake at home with his girlfriend, Astrid De Leeuw, on Thursday, March 19, 2020 in Des Plaines. © Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS Olympic hopeful wrestler Joe Rau bakes a chocolate marble cake at home with his girlfriend, Astrid De Leeuw, on Thursday, March 19, 2020 in Des Plaines.

U.S. wrestling champion Joe Rau is learning to bake.

Three-time Olympic long jumper Tyrone Smith is binge-watching Netflix and building a Lego race car.

Rhythmic gymnasts Yelyzaveta Merenzon and Elizaveta Pletneva — teammates in a sport in which synchronization is paramount — are taking online Zumba classes alone in their respective homes.

a person sitting at a table: Dima Ali sews face masks at her Oak Park home. © Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS Dima Ali sews face masks at her Oak Park home.

As the calls grow for the Summer Games to be postponed because of the coronavirus and the International Olympic Committee gives itself until mid-April to make a decision, local Olympic hopefuls have been forced to find creative ways to train and keep their minds off a potentially devastating blow to long-held dreams.

a man standing in a kitchen: Olympic hopeful wrestler Joe Rau bakes a chocolate marble cake at home with his girlfriend, Astrid De Leeuw, on Thursday, March 19, 2020 in Des Plaines. © Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS Olympic hopeful wrestler Joe Rau bakes a chocolate marble cake at home with his girlfriend, Astrid De Leeuw, on Thursday, March 19, 2020 in Des Plaines.

It’s a task undertaken amid great uncertainty, as the athletes no longer can access their training facilities, practice with their teams or compete in qualifying competitions.

“Everything I’ve done with my life over the past four years has been with the Olympics in mind,” said Rau, a Chicago native and the United States’ top Greco-Roman wrestler in the 87-kg weight class. “And all of a sudden, I have no idea what’s going to happen. I can’t practice. I can’t work out like I normally do. What am I supposed to do with all this free time?” —Stacy St. Clair and Brian Cassella

5:06 a.m.: Volunteers are sewing homemade face masks for Chicago area doctors and nurses: ‘It’s really heartwarming’

During World War II, Chicagoans stepped up by growing their own vegetables.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, they’re sewing face masks.

Inspired by requests from local doctors and nurses, as well as calls for masks from providers such as the Indiana-based Deaconess Health System, volunteers have taken to social media with hashtags such as #1millionmasks. They are dusting off their sewing machines, sharing material and elastic, and arranging drop-offs and pickups from front stoops and porches.

“There are many women doing this in the last few days,” said Dima Ali, a jewelry designer in Oak Park who has sewn masks for nurses, a doctor and a chef in a retirement center. —Nara Schoenberg

Sunday, March 22

For 4 glorious minutes, Chicagoans joined together for a Bon Jovi singalong. Next up: Jackson 5.

For the first time, all Peace Corps volunteers are called back home: ‘It feels like a bad heartbreak’

‘Our lives, it’s about playing basketball overseas’: For Chicago athletes, the coronavirus brings travel — and financial — concerns as leagues shut down

Here’s what it’s like to do 4 hours of sports talk radio with no live games — and a statewide lockdown looming

Socially distant beer crawl: Chicago breweries adjust to shutdown with more than beer to-go

Saturday, March 21

Thanks to the coronavirus, charity galas are being canceled and nonprofit groups are losing crucial funding

The coronavirus is having a major impact on Chicago organizations assisting those in need. Here’s how you can help.

Cashiers. Janitors. CTA employees. While much of the public hunkers down at home amid coronavirus pandemic, some people must still show up for work.

Goodman Theatre leads other Chicago theaters in donating masks and safety equipment

Friday, March 20

When Olivia Grace’s 5th birthday party was canceled by coronavirus, the party came to her via a drive-by parade in Elgin

In Oak Park, first day of shelter in place was almost like any other day, but with a strangeness in the air

Customers volunteer to help Aurora family grocery store during coronavirus rush

Keep having that quarantine sex, Chicago — you can’t get coronavirus from it.

How does ‘shelter in place’ work without shelter? Agencies try to fill in the gaps

Coronavirus is keeping people away from Chicago-area animal shelters, so volunteers are needed immediately to foster pets

Marriage proposal outside Naperville’s Edward Hospital a bright spot amid tense circumstances

Split-shifting and other hacks for working from home while parenting

During the coronavirus outbreak, livestreamed ‘quarantine concerts’ provide a connection

For Chicago-area arts students in a coronavirus world, remote learning is necessary, but there are many challenges

’He offered to pay me for a haircut that he wasn’t going to get’: In the coronavirus era, we’ll get by with a little help from our friends — and some strangers, too

As social distancing becomes new norm, craft beer purveyors offering curbside pickup, brew delivery

Thursday, March 19

Missing the Chicago Flower & Garden Show? Get blooms to go with City Grange pop-up

Shoebox guitars and kiddie concerts can help kids stay occupied

Now closed, Brookfield Zoo is ‘Bringing the Zoo to You’

Cast is locked up together at Annoyance Theatre to create a video show in 10 days — finding the funny in all our claustrophobia

A Lincoln Park high schooler’s beautiful idea to help hungry students, battered restaurants during coronavirus shutdown

Working from home? Send us your photos

Anxiety, guilt and Trader Joe’s: Day in the life of coronavirus through the diaries of 4 Chicagoans and suburbanites

As day cares shut down to stop the spread of COVID-19, Chicago-area parents must juggle child care and working from home. ‘It’s a very new groove.’

Wednesday, March 18

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©2020 the Chicago Tribune

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