Before coronavirus, 5-year-old Willa Carmenini wasn’t worried about monsters under her bed. Now she’s asking about them every night at bedtime, and she doesn’t like going outside her New York apartment.
“She says it's the mask,” says her mother, Andrea Saraffian, though Saraffian suspects it’s more than that. It’s the rules about touching elevator buttons or avoiding friendly neighbors in the lobby. It’s the stress that her parents try so hard to hide.
Before coronavirus, 4-year-old twins Lilybelle and Adam Mrabet would run to hug their father when he walked in the door after working at the family restaurant in Harlem. Now, they must wait until he strips off his clothes and showers to avoid exposing them to the virus.
“It’s a bit sad to see them learn to be so patient at such a young age,” says their mother, Gloribelle Perez.
Six-year-old Walt Grahlman got sick with COVID-19 and had a fever of 102 degrees for a week. His parents got sick, too, and lost work in his physical therapy practice and her work as a creative director. Now that they have recovered, Walt calls having Mom as a teacher “silly.”
He never used the word “hate” before, but he hates coronavirus.
Lisa Tolin is a journalist and Special Projects Editor at NBC News.