So, I contracted COVID-19 back in March…
I likely got it from a busy wedding gig I played right before things started to shut down in NYC. My partner Alice returned home from a trip just a couple days later, ready to coop up with me for the foreseeable future. I developed symptoms about 3 days after the wedding gig, and then she got symptoms about 3 days after returning home to me. We both took note a few days in that we couldn’t seem to smell or taste anything. Coffee tasted as bland as water. Anything slightly sweet just tasted like pure sugar. But neither of us was congested. That was the weirdest part. I could taste my food and drink fully, completely… it just tasted like nothing. Shortly after we discovered this odd symptom, a friend pointed out that COVID patients were reporting the same. We did some googling and figured that we had likely contracted the virus, so we called the state health phone numbers that were available at the time, had our surveys, and after a lengthy wait, both of us tested positive for the virus.
Women tend to have stronger immune systems than men, and that certainly seemed to play out for us. Alice’s symptoms mostly cleared up within a week, and she really only felt “very sick” for about 4 days. On the other hand, I had terrible flu-like symptoms for about 3 days, started to recover for about 2 days, and then took a turn for the worse with constant fatigue, muscle aches, fever, chills, and heavy breathing for another 8 days or so. My fever itself lasted about 9 days straight. We both got concerned for a little while once we realized I was breathing about twice as fast as I normally do, however I was honestly more anxious about the situation in the community around me than I was about my own health needs. I figured I could probably pull through on my own, but to hear of the packed hospitals, the constant sirens in the distance, the empty shelves at the grocery store (once we were able to leave the house), and the total dissolution of my two previously thriving businesses, dog-walking and private event music, I felt overwhelmed by the whole affair.
As usual for me, music was a respite, and I found that some melodies and chord progressions bouncing around my head translated easily into a couple songs on the topic of the fear, and the love, I was seeing around me and experiencing firsthand. That album will be released to all major digital and streaming platforms on Friday, July 31st, 2020, and will be available HERE I also filmed a music video that will debut the following week.
Much of the positive energy that helped me pull through and write this music was thanks to the compassion of those around us. We had so many friends and concerned neighbors who checked in on us, delivered groceries to us, ran errands, even helped me sell computer and music equipment to make a little money. Then we started a nightly livestream where I played guitar and vocal covers while Alice cooked up delicious meals and shared recipes, which we’re still doing today (Every weeknight at 7:30 ET, over on Instagram @grantswiftmusic or on Facebook). One day, Alice called in to the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC to tell them about our livestream and new folks from all over the country tuned in. Many have donated money, $5 here, $10 there, which helped us cover expenses while I navigated 3 months of bureaucratic hurdles to qualify for Federal unemployment benefits. As soon as Alice was recovered, she jumped right into the bureaucratic hurdles again to start donating life-saving convalescent plasma, traveling out to Long Island on a weekly basis. She just finished her final donation this past week. When I recovered and started filming a music video consisting of total strangers in NYC parks, I was pleasantly surprised to have the vast majority enthusiastically offer their bodies and faces to the camera for a few minutes. In such a scary time, it’s very valuable to be reminded that people really do care for one another, and can do incredible things to help each other out. That reminder inspired me and this music, and I hope some of that can translate for you as well. Please check it out!