The coronavirus is the closest thing to a worldwide shared experience since World War II. Very few areas of the world aren’t being affected in some way by the virus and by COVID-19, the respiratory illness it causes. The Rockford Register Star is reaching out to Rock River Valley natives throughout the world to discover how their lives have changed.


Reginald McGee, a 1974 Freeport High School graduate, has spent more than 30 years working in education, including stints as a teacher at Pearl City High School and Freeport High School and as a principal at Tri-County Christian School in Freeport. McGee and his wife live in the Atlanta metro area where he has a consulting business, McGee and Associates, specializing in business development, community development, internet marketing and leadership development.


How did you end up there and in that profession? It was primarily because my wife and I like the South. She was born and raised in Arkansas, my father was born and raised in Mississippi, my mother in Georgia. My wife and I both have relatives in the Atlanta area so we have visited here many times in the past 10 years.


How long have you lived there? Since July 2019.


When did you first hear about the coronavirus? My barber was cutting my hair and told me about it.


When did it begin affecting your life? I had a trip to Illinois and Wisconsin planned for March 18 through March 23. En route to Illinois, I heard the governor was considering shutting down Illinois so I returned home on the 21st and did not go to Wisconsin.


What is life like for you now? I have always been on the go, so I have not minded on going out to get food and other necessities.


What did you miss doing on a daily basis that you never thought you'd miss? I have missed going to our daughter and son-in-law's home and seeing our grandson. I also work out three to five times each week at the YMCA and have not been able to do that.


How do you feel about the Georgia governor's decision to reopen parts of the economy? I'm concerned since President Trump and his primary advisors and experts do not think it is a good idea.


Are there any positives? Have you been using your time to finish a project, learn something new, reconnect? Yes, I have rested more and read more.


Have you lost anyone close to COVID-19? No.


How do you think life might change when this is over? I'm not sure. Some say we will never get back to normal. I have not thought much about it. My faith is in my God, and not any person or institution.


Alex Gary is a freelance correspondent