If anything is clear, all Ohioans have Covid-19 experiences
After Your Voice Ohio conducted five online dialogues with Ohioans in which they expressed concern for unclear messaging, lack of a plan, and politics taking precedence over science in the era of Covid-19, student interns in the Collaborative News Lab @ Kent State University were asked to interview several people from various parts of the state about their experiences dealing with the pandemic.
Over the next few weeks, Soapbox will share these stories.
Among the questions were: Have you been tested? How do you engage with others who have different perspectives? Gina Butkovich, Tramaine Burton, Paige Bennett, Jenna Borthwick, Kelsey Paulus, and Madison MacArthur did the reporting. Associate professor Susan Kirkman Zake advises the staff. The program is sponsored by the Scripps Howard Foundation.
Name: Hailey Lueck
Hometown: Maumee, Ohio
Occupation: Communications coach
When she returned home from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which took place from Jan. 7–11, Hailey Lueck became seriously ill along with many of her coworkers. At that time there were no COVID-19 tests available and the virus was not widely known.
“I came home from that honestly the sickest I've ever been. I had a lot of COVID-like symptoms,” Lueck says about her trip. “It literally annihilated our entire office — everyone in our office got sick.”
Now, as the number of cases and unemployment claims rise in the U.S., Lueck, who lives near Toledo, is grateful to be physically healthy and to be working from home. The isolation brought on by the coronavirus is the most challenging issue for her as she misses visiting her friends and family. And, the influx of information about the pandemic has definitely made her skeptical of some news sources.
“I mostly read NPR,” Lueck says. “I also appreciate that they tend to have people kind of on both political spectrums that will provide commentary and not in an aggressive manner but just like a factual manner.”
She urges people to become better at fact checking their sources, something she says not many are doing. For instance, she speaks to associates who work in health care, asks questions of them, and listens to their experiences, which she said gives her a much clearer and accurate picture of what is happening.
Lueck says she has various questions about the best ways to protect and keep loved ones safe since so many Americans have died of the pandemic.
“It's a horrible virus that's really decimated a lot of peoples’ livelihoods,” she says. “You know way too many Americans who passed away due to the coronavirus.”
Lueck says it would be ideal to have more information coming from the federal government about the virus, but appreciates the job Governor Mike DeWine is doing to ensure Ohioans are informed.
Witnessing both extremes — from people sanitizing all their groceries to some staying completely shut in — she says it is vital for the government to play their part in dispelling myths and baseless theories, and instead recommends having a healthy discussion about the fears and anxieties people share.
“People feel like it’s a hoax,” Lueck says. “They have their minds made up and they read a lot of interesting news articles.”
As the elections are quickly approaching, she encourages reporters to ask the state legislature and congressional candidates what their long term plans are. She wants to know what the best and worst case scenario will look like for colleges and those who are unemployed. And, she says, journalists need to be “getting information out to people in a variety of ways.”