Talk about living in history.
That's what this past year has been since COVID-19 became part of our daily conversations, affecting everything from the way we've worked and worshipped to the way we've shopped and socialized.
Sure, we're technically always living in history – something happening today that will be remembered 10 or more years later. The kind of events and trends sometimes chronicled and bound in books that our children and grandchildren, our nieces and nephews may eventually read for school or leisure.
But few things occur that lead to the sort of headlines and heartaches we've seen since March 2020, when the novel coronavirus outbreak was declared a global pandemic.
More than 515,000 people in the U.S. alone – and more than 12,000 in Indiana – had died from COVID-19 as of March 4. That doesn't include the hundreds of thousands more who contracted the coronavirus. Some were asymptomatic, but some had severe illness, rushed by ambulance to hospital ERs, put on ventilators even. The steadily rising number – even as COVID-19 mutates and despite approved vaccines – includes people who were casual acquaintances, close friends and neighbors, co-workers and, yes, family members.
Amid the dark days this past year came occasional bright spots. People, organizations and businesses, for example, worked to ensure many who were furloughed and waiting for unemployment benefits to kick in had food in the pantry and electricity still running.
Teachers and students tapped into remote learning, despite its challenges.
Health and government officials provided regular updates, including reminders about preferred pandemic protocols to help lessen the spread of the sometimes lethal virus.
The Journal Gazette staff in late January, a year after the first U.S. coronavirus case surfaced, began publishing stories as part of our “COVID-19: Caught in the Grip” series. We've explored many of the changes prompted by the virus and our resilience – how we responded and learned to cope.
Our coverage includes this special section today, which profiles some of the essential health care workers we had to rely on when we or our relatives fell ill and our timeline charts many of the milestones from Day 1.
And now, we continue looking forward to the day when we're done living COVID-19 history.
– Lisa Green, The Journal Gazette