The race to save the first draft of coronavirus history from oblivion

Researchers, archivists, and citizens are racing to preserve a record of how we lived and changed during this strange period of history.

Eight years ago, Suleika Jaouad was alone in a hospital room, undergoing aggressive treatment for leukemia and awaiting a bone marrow transplant. Just out of college and harboring dreams of becoming a war correspondent, Jaouad was instead confined to her hospital room and felt desperately, stiflingly alone.

So she launched The Isolation Journals, a project designed to encourage people to capture their experiences as they navigate life during the pandemic. She reached out to people including artist Mari Andrew, author Elizabeth Gilbert, and blues singer Mavis Staples to brainstorm prompts that are emailed to participants at 5 a.m. US Eastern time. “Within five hours, we had 20,000 people sign up,” Jaouad says. “Now, it’s about 60,000

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