Capturing the COVID-19 Chapter

I remember leaving our office in the Eastern Market for the last time in mid-March. At the time, I had no idea what to think of COVID-19 or how it would impact my everyday life. What should I take with me? Will this only be for a couple weeks? Maybe a month?

I’m young and healthy, but there was a lot of unknown. And I surely wasn’t immune to catching or spreading the virus. Simply put, I was scared.

I consider myself very lucky because nobody I know personally has gotten the virus. But because of this, the only exposure I had to COVID-19 was through my computer and television screens. For months, it had been a constant stream of news about the virus. More cases. More deaths. Don’t wear a mask. Do wear a mask. Wash your hands.

This was until one of our company’s directors approached me about attending a COVID-19 testing site in Detroit to capture photos and video for the Detroit Medical Center. Since leaving the office in mid-March, I had only left my apartment a handful of times. I was unsure and a bit nervous, but TR leadership gave me the final decision to go only if I was 110 percent comfortable. After a client Zoom call and emphatic reassurances that I could safely social distance and that all appropriate personal protective equipment would be provided, I realized how significant this task really was. We are currently in the middle of a chapter in a textbook. Thousands of healthcare workers are on the frontlines, every single day, to combat this virus. What other chance would I get to capture history literally being made?

The next Saturday, I packed and prepped camera equipment and disinfecting wipes and headed south on Woodward to Detroit’s largest testing site at the State Fairgrounds. I entered through the volunteer entrance where I was greeted by security guards in masks. They pointed me to a white tent, where I was screened and given a temperature check and headed to the parking area.

The site was providing drive-up COVID-19 tests. Thanks to the workers and volunteers, the process ran like a well-oiled machine, with three lines for cars waiting to be directed to one of over a dozen testing tents. Each tent had two or three volunteers covered head to toe in PPE. As they approached the vehicle, attendees were asked to partially roll down their window and the nasal swab test was administered safely and efficiently.

This virus is scary and should not be taken lightly. It was nerve-racking knowing that I was heading into the battlefield to capture it all, but I’m grateful for the experience and how great our client and the volunteers were through it all. Many essential workers have been on the frontlines from the beginning, working to make the world safe. It was comforting to experience their dedication and bravery first-hand. It made me feel safer and gave me even more respect for the work these heroes do every day.

Lindsay Gerber is an account executive at Truscott Rossman, working out of our Detroit office.