An expat in the USA talks about the coronavirus pandemic

  • expat in Chicago
    Anna Rouseff
Published 2020-05-13 10:00

The USA is one of the most affected countries by the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 1.4 million cases and a death toll of over 83,000. While the lockdown is being eased in many countries, it doesn't look like the situation is getting better anytime soon. Anna, a Bulgarian expat, who lives in Chicago, shares her views about the pandemic with

For how long have you been in the USA? In which city are you currently living?

I am here since October 2000, and I live in Chicago.

How did you react when the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic in the USA was announced in the news?

I was following the news from China when the epidemic started. It was still very unclear what’s going on, but I purchased some sanitizers just in case. When the news here started to talk nonstop about it, to me, it sounds suspicious. This was not the American model of scaring people, but I followed the instructions.

What's the latest update in your city? How are things going on?

In Illinois, and in Chicago, it will be staying at home until June, but I see roads are busy and become busier and busier. The city of Chicago and the closest surroundings have a population of 8 to 9 million -- the entire state is home to 12.87 million people. Local authorities have reported the number of deaths from the virus to be only 3,000.

How did local authorities react to the pandemic? What were the measures taken to ensure the protection of the people there?

The officials were in a panic and were requesting ventilators as crazy, even though we did not need them. A big space in McCormick exhibition centre was prepared to accept eventually infected people. This never happened, as it did not happen in New York either with this ship-hospital. If just a few hospitals are ready to react, it is obvious there will be a huge death concentration, and beds will be all over around. Also, a lot of inexperienced people were hired as doctors and nurses.

Did the COVID-19 pandemic have an impact on your job? Are you currently working?

Not yet, but I am sure it will. I was in standby for two weeks, and then it became clear that life should go on. My family members are still working, as well. My son is working from home, but my daughter-in-law is going to her office every day.

What about your family? How does it feel to be far from your loved ones during this time of global health crisis?

My family in my home country is more cautious about this virus. My daughter-in-law was overseas when the lockdown happened, but she was lucky to be able to come back in time. Some of her friends were in France, but they managed to come back on time as well. Also, my daughter-in-law is expecting, and this worries me as well. They are planning to move to a country house not too far from the city after the lockdown.

What are your post-COVID-19 plans? Are you looking to staying in the USA?

Yes, I will, but plan to travel as well.

What is that one thing that you are missing the most during the lockdown?


What would you advise to those thousands of expats around the world who are waiting to be repatriated?

The world never will be the same, but even though they should build their life and freedom. It is up to them.