I’m hearing a lot about COVID-19 anniversaries these days. This month marks a series of ‘firsts’ in the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this month, South Carolina marked the earliest of its COVID-19 anniversaries.
State health officials announced the state’s first two cases of COVID-19 on March 6 of last year. The first cases, both announced on the same day, included an elderly woman in an assisted living facility in the central part of the state as well as a younger woman in Charleston.
Back then, health officials urged everyone to stay calm. They did not recommend closing schools or canceling public gatherings.
Their best advice as we watched the start of what would become a full-fledged pandemic became very familiar. Wash your hands. Often.
All of the precautions Mom taught us to avoid catching a cold also worked for the flu. It turns out that simple advice also helped prevent COVID-19.
But we had to remain vigilant. We couldn’t let our guard down.
Some states already commemorated the first anniversary of their first cases. Others are still waiting for that date to roll around.
March 11 — last Thursday — was clearly the biggest of the COVID-19 anniversaries. On that date in 2020, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic.
By then, researchers watched the number of cases outside China increase 13-fold and the number of affected countries triple.
What a year it has been.
In a year’s time, the United States racked up 29.5 million cases. The death toll rose to more than 534,000.
Many of us learned how easy — or how difficult — it is to work from home. Students learned as best they could without meeting in their traditional classrooms.
Both employees and students found varying levels of success in doing things remotely.
In my case, I’ve spent nearly nine out of the last 12 months working from home. Since my real job involves the web, I found myself very fortunate. Other than occasional request for someone at the office to press a button here or there, I can do everything I need to do from my living room.
But some can’t really work entirely from home.
Likewise, some students learn just fine from home. But others struggle with the lack of direct supervision.
Some of us learned we’re a lot more reclusive than we realized. Some even realized that with a handful of exceptions, we actually don’t mind staying home all that much. For every dozen people out there experiencing cabin fever to the extreme, there’s someone perfectly content to avoid those crowds.
For the most part, I’m in that latter category, although I’ll admit there are times when I’d love to go to a restaurant for dinner.
Still, it’s not time for that just yet. Takeout suits me just fine. It gets me out of the house for a few minutes, but then lets me dine in the relative safety of my home.
Regardless, I’m ready for this pandemic to be over. Even if I won’t be leading the parades of crowds hitting all of the nearly-forgotten nightspots, I’ll still be glad to see people getting out and living life.
I just hope they can maintain enough patience for now to give vaccines (and “herd immunity”) time to happen.
We’re not out of the woods, yet. But if everyone keeps doing their part, we will be much sooner than later!