Friday, March 12, 2021

Covid-19: A Year In Review

     On March 11, 2020, the world as we knew it changed. On that day, The World Health Association declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and a doctor that few of us had ever heard of became a household name overnight. Dr. Anthony Fauci emerged on Capitol Hill with dire warnings about a mysterious virus from Wuhan, China, that was sweeping the world at an alarming rate. His daily updates and predictions on the spread of COVID-19 kept us glued to our televisions in the evenings as we tried to learn more about this debilitating virus.

     Within days, more shocking revelations hit the media: The Dow Jones was plunging, Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson tested positive for COVID-19 in Australia, and the NBA announced that it was suspending its season. Then the dominoes fell quickly one by one as schools shut down, flights overseas were canceled, and hospitals were inundated with patients complaining of severe, flu-like symptoms. 

     Businesses closed, traffic stopped, and the world became eerily silent when it went into complete lockdown to "flatten the curve." It was the wake-up call that none of us saw coming; we were at war with an unfamiliar, unrelenting virus that killed people across the globe and left families mired in grief. 

     We never imagined that we would be where we are today, a year later, still in masks, still disinfecting surfaces, and still social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

     But things are improving now with vaccines ramping up to protect us against this terrible virus; vaccines that give us hope and shine a light at the end of this very long, dark tunnel that we've been traveling through. And hopefully, within 2021, we will be visiting our families without masks, hugging our grandchildren without fear, and traveling to places we could only dream of in 2020. 


     I will never forget what was the "new normal" in 2020, but most of all, I will remember the brave heroes on the front line in hospital scrubs who worked tirelessly to save lives. We have learned so much from this pandemic---how it brought out the best and the worst in people and irrevocably altered our perception of the world. Our country was united in suffering, but the arguments over politics and science ran deep, dividing us in ways we never imagined. 

     In July, when my home state hit record high numbers for coronavirus cases, I paused a moment to reflect on how life had changed and made a note of all the small things I'd taken for granted that had become the big things in 2020. I wanted to remember all of these important moments in time that have transformed history: 

*Curfews and mask mandates became the norm. We debated how to wear masks and which ones were most effective. Maskers and anti-maskers fought bitterly over their right to wear or not to wear. While the police fined those caught in public without masks, the entrepreneurs with sewing machines stayed busy designing creative masks that became part of our fashion wardrobe. 

*Toilet paper turned into a precious commodity overnight as people began stockpiling it. The stores couldn't keep up with the demands and were forced to limit the amount sold. This caused fistfights in the aisles while others rationed the small squares of tissue with their families. 

*Grocery stores changed, too. A limited number of people were allowed in the building at one time. Arrows marked the aisles to keep shoppers moving in a single direction to avoid crossing paths. Circles were painted 6 ft. apart on floors for people waiting in the check-out line. The cashiers worked behind plexiglass shields. And then the meat shortages occurred, forcing stores to limit the number of packages sold per person. Shelves were quickly emptied of disinfectant wipes, gloves, paper towels, household cleaners, and antibacterial soaps. Farmers were forced to throw out millions in fresh produce and milk once the food industry closed down. 

*We learned to Facetime and Zoom for virtual work meetings or chats with friends and family we could no longer visit in person.

*Essential workers who risked their lives daily became the new superheroes of the world. We honored them nightly at 7:00 p.m. by banging on pots and pans to show our appreciation. In the darkest hours of the pandemic, our hospitals ran out of beds and ventilators. Loved ones died alone, and refrigerated trucks became makeshift morgues. 

*We canceled weddings, funerals, graduations, vacations, and family reunions. We ached to see our loved ones but could only wave to them from windows, driveways, or from our computer screens

*Without access to restaurants, we rediscovered our kitchen skills and learned how to cook from scratch. We passed the time during lockdown by baking loaves and loaves of homemade bread. 

*DIY projects were all the rage, along with gardening, purging our closets, and organizing our homes.

*Thousands lost their jobs, and unemployment skyrocketed as our country sank into a deep Depression. 

* With gym closures, we dusted off our bikes and our running shoes for outdoor workouts and online exercise videos to burn off the "Covid 15." 

*We got a glimpse of what everyone's REAL hair color was. Grey was back in fashion, as were shaggy hairstyles and DIY cut jobs. 

* Netflix binging was the norm, and no one felt guilty for spending hours in front of the TV. Tiger King was the #1 show to binge on. 

*We disinfected our house and our groceries and washed our hands until they cracked and blistered. Hand sanitizing gel was in short demand unless we were willing to pay the inflated prices for a bottle online. 

*Conspiracy theorists came out of their basements to declare the virus an elaborate hoax created by the government. They protested outside the Whitehouse and demanded that the lockdown be lifted. 

*Parents were severely stressed from juggling their childrens' homeschooling schedules while simultaneously working full-time from home.

*Ageism ran rampant as people argued over who should be saved first--the elderly in nursing homes or the younger generation.

*Every night, the news delivered the depressing numbers of Covid cases and death tolls. We went to bed, not knowing what the future held, and feared we might not survive. 

*Pregnancies increased, as did day drinking, weight gain, anxiety, depression, and lethargy. 

*Gas prices dropped considerably, skies turned vivid blue without the usual amount of pollutants in the air, and our waterways were cleaner than we had ever seen them. The streets were so quiet that we could finally hear nature's heart beating. 

*Our daily lives were captioned on social media by popular hashtags: #QuarantineLife, #MaskUp #StaySafe #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #StayHome #SocialDistancing #Rona #Lockdown #HerdImmunity 

     I hope that all of these things will be nothing more than a distant memory in the coming year. Right now, it still feels surreal and has left its scars on the world. But I've witnessed our resiliency and have faith that we will mend. 

     I'm ready for the next chapter to begin.  


  1. Excellent summary of a year I am happy to say--I survived. Sadly, my husband did not.

    1. I am so sorry to hear this---I cannot imagine what you must be going through.

  2. I remember telling my house cleaners in March (2020) that it wasn't safe for them to come but I'd see them in April. We just had no idea, when it started, where we'd be a year later.
    But finally now we have hope, it came in the form of truth, science, and a functioning federal government.

    1. Absolutely. I felt so much comfort in Biden's words last night. He gave me hope <3

  3. Succinctly and poetically summed up, Marcia. Oh, the things we've lived through. Emphasis on 'lived'.

    1. Strange to think that this past year will be in the history books for hundreds of years to come.

  4. What a year it has been, lockdowns and masksm are now normal

    1. We just have to hang in there a little bit longer.....

  5. Amazing re-cap, Marcia. I was nodding my head while I read as we are still experiencing some of these things. However, the fear has abated a bit with the vaccine in the near future. We are behind you guys in our vaccination schedule (here in Canada). We learned alot in 2020 didn't we? And the lessons continue. Nice share, Marcia!

    1. Thanks, Lisa! Hope you have access to the vaccine soon!

  6. Wow great recap as I had forgotten how badly some had it - this has been a blessed year for me and my family and I can't wait to travel again with them!



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