Unforeseen the effects of covid-19 On Bowling Green, KentuckY.

COVID-19 has impacted the modern world to a degree few have ever seen. This extremely contagious strain of coronaviruses started in a fish and poultry market in Wuhan City, China in December 2019, and has made its way all across our world in just a few months. While COVID-19 shares similarities with other coronaviruses, like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), it has been spread much faster, and far more than either of the other diseases. As COVID-19 makes its way into every crevice of the world, it is inevitable that some people harbor the disease, whether they know it or not.

Kayla Andrade was one of the first ten COVID-19 cases in Bowling Green, Kentucky. When she found out she had the virus, she immediately started a self quarantine for two weeks with one of her roommates.
“It felt like it was never going to get better. I would cry myself to sleep because I had forgotten what it was like to be healthy,” said Andrade.


The presence of the virus has sparked rapid change in the small, college town, of Bowling Green, Kentucky. The closure of Western Kentucky University has caused the liveliness of Bowling Green to dwindle and small businesses to wonder whats next. Health Officials everywhere remain perplexed by COVID-19, and there are currently no remedies in production. This has prompted governing bodies across the world to implement preventative measures to ensure the safety of civilians as medical professionals desperately search for a cure. From travel restrictions, to 6-foot distance mandates, the presence of COVID-19 is continuously felt throughout the globe.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency on March 6, 2020. Stores across the state were ill prepared for the amount of customers that flooded their doors and many of them ran out of supplies for extended periods of time.

Officials from both Warren County and the City of Bowling Green announced the closure of all parks and recreation centers on March 23, 2020.

On March 24, 2020, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order to close all non-life-sustaining businesses. This meant the closing of all churches, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and niche businesses across the state when the order came into place on March 26, 2020.

Altered Activities

The copious amount of policy changes have constricted the normal flow of life for the city and its inhabitants in a way they were not prepared for. Still, people everywhere are trying to make the best of it. Companies, businesses, and the people of the community have began to adapt to their new way of life.

Stores like Walmart have seen drastic increases in customers for their grocery pickup services. Many people are opting to pay an extra charge for their food and essential items to avoid going into a heavily populated business.
As an Environmental Science Major at Western Kentucky University, usually Angela Shivon Barbee's weekday mornings are filled with course work. However, due to the current stay at home order, Barbee must now spend this time caring for her two children. "You don't have the day while they're in school to do it, so it's do it all at nighttime, get three hours of sleep, get up and do the whole day, then go put them in bed, stay up, do your homework...The same thing over and over," said Barbee. Besides her own work, she also fears her children are not receiving an adequate education through the school systems new workflow. "The packets that we do have, they seem very minimal. I wish there was more to it than just three pages, one coloring page, and a letter page," said Barbee.
While most of the city is shut down, residents of Bowling Green can still take advantage of the natural environment around them. Local lakes, like Shanty Hollow, are alluring to people of all ages as they look for ways to spend time outside.
Lucas Leach is a Food Supervisor at Western Kentucky University. Since he no longer can go to work, Leach spends much of his time on his porch, because it is one of the few outdoor activities still available.
Aiden Basulto was thrilled when he found out he could help his step-grandfather, Michael, repave the entrance to Flowers by Shirley, a local florist shop near their home in Bowling Green on May 5, 2020.
"Were not gonna let this stop us from teaching him how to work hard," said his grandfather.
Teachers, counselors, cafeteria workers, and bus drivers from Bowling Green High School deliver food to children in the surrounding area twice everyday. Meal drop offs are one of the many programs being operated by the Bowling Green Independent School District (BGISD) during this time. BGISD took the schematics of their Summer Meal Service Program and applied them to the communities current needs to provide relief for any child seeking food, regardless of their economic class or the school they attend.

Working Through

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) provisional death counts, as of May 24, 2020, there have been over 73,000 deaths due solely to COVID-19 in the United States since the first recorded death in the country, on February 8, 2020. Despite societies inability to combat the disease, many facets of the world we live are too important to be inaccessible. The people who are vital to the function of these essential businesses continuously risk the well being of them and their loved ones to help the rest of us. Businesses are deemed essential if they provide services, or items, that humans cannot live without, like food or healthcare. For some employees, this stems from wanting to enhance people's quality of life. For others, it's to ensure the wellbeing of their dreams. Regardless, these people continue to work regularly despite the ever-present societal changes around them.

Becky Ubelhor is a Nurse in the Pediatric and Neurology departments at The Med Center of Bowling Green. Due to the current pandemic, Ubelhor volunteered to work in the COVID unit a few weeks ago. “At first I thought I was being thrown to the wolves, and then the team work that they showed me really helped me calm my fears,” said Ubelhor. Although she and the rest of her team are doing everything they can to fight the virus, there's no telling how long the war will last. “We don't know whats in the future and thats why we have to work on the present right now and prepare for the future. Im not sure if it's going to blow over in 2020, because the flu has been around for centuries. It's a virus, a virus can mutate,” said Ubelhor.
Matt Brown is a Recreational Administration major at Western Kentucky University who has been working at a local Kroger while he attends school.
“When I came back to work after spring break, it was hectic...When the store closed at 10 PM, there were still cars out here like it was a Sunday afternoon on the Super Bowl,” said Brown.
Jessica Smith is a Licensed Veterinary Technician and Assistant Office Manager at Greystone Pet Hospital in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Ever since she was a child, Smith knew she wanted to work with animals. Even though some days are long and tough, she loves helping animals and forming relationships with their owners. Smith says new business guidelines have greatly effected the way her, and the rest of her staff, operate. “We are doing curbside only, so no one is allowed into the clinic. Clients know their pet the best, so not having them in the clinic to help explain things has slowed things down just a little," said Smith. New hours of operation have also greatly impacted veterinarians in Bowling Green, but the offices in town formed a plan to make sure all animals are able to get the care they need, whenever they need it. “There are five clinics in Bowling Green that take turns seeing emergencies after business hours. We also rotate weekends, so whoever is on call for the weekend is on call Saturday and Sunday. The clinic on call is responsible for seeing emergencies from the other 4 clinics as well as their own,” said Smith.
Manoj Kumar Patel moved to Bowling Green from his home in Zimbabwe 5 years ago. In his native country Patel was a professional contractor, but he gave up his profession and moved to America to help ensure a better future for his daughters. Last year, Patel built his own liquor store, WK Liquor’s from the ground up. Since many students from Western Kentucky University have returned home for the semester, much of Patel’s clientele is gone, but he chooses to remain optimistic and positive. “If you take Zimbabwe for an example, there's a total lockdown. In a sense, things are way better than elsewhere. I mean, Europe's went through a total shutdown too. Things could always be a lot worse,” said Patel.
Jason Musser began repairing cars 20 years ago when he couldn’t afford to continuously pay for maintenance on his first car. At the time, he had no intention of making it his career, but when he discovered his distain for teaching after earning a Masters Degree in Mathematics from Western Kentucky University, he fell back on automobile maintenance to make ends meet. After roughly three years of working in peoples driveways, Musser decided to open his own business, Musser Motorsports. Musser feels fortunate to be able to continue working while many other businesses are forced to close their doors.
“If you read on business, sometimes businesses are compared to a baby. This is my baby, you know, and if I don't care for it in the right way, it's gonna fucking die,” said Musser.

Bowling Green's response to government issued mandates based around slowing the spread of COVID-19 are just a few examples of what the human race is dealing with as a whole. In these times of uncertainty, adaptation has proven to be essential in dealing with a foe that has never been seen before.

Created By
Zane Meyer-Thornton


Zane Meyer-Thornton