This week marks the anniversary of when the SARS-CoV-2 virus turned the world upside down. I confess when I first heard of the coronavirus in China and then spreading elsewhere, I didn’t take it very seriously. In recent years there has been fears of SARS, MERA, ebola, and H1N1 that ultimately did not become global catastrophe. I figured COVID 19 would be similarly contained, greatly underestimating the contagious properties of coronavirus while overestimating the abilities of governments and people to respond to the threat.
My wake up call came on March 10, 2020, when I learned that Harvard University had made the decision to go to remote education for the remainder of the year. I remember I had taken the day off and was planning to catch up on some movies and went to see Knives Out wondering if I should be worried about coming into contact with the virus. The next day the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, and that night the NBA canceled their season. Shit was getting real.
And yet, the rest of the week, I went to work as normal. There were fewer people on the MBTA and I was happy about that. We talked at work about “dedensifying” and having a rotation of working from home a few days per week. On the evening of Friday, March 13, the mayor of Boston announced that schools would be closing for four weeks. On Monday, March 16, the kids went into school to clean out their desks and pick up assignments. I went into work expecting to get a schedule for the rotation of working from home.
Except that didn’t happen. I worked from exclusively until January of this year when I started going into the office once a week. My daughter started going to school twice a week at the beginning this week, and my son will start hybrid schooling this week. I’m feeling optimistic about the future, but I also still have no idea when things will go back to “normal.”
I also may be the only person who thinks we should have another strict lockdown. Like just pay everyone to stay home for the month of April, and prevent the virus from spreading and forming variants and killing anyone else in the meantime. Then when we were ready to reopen in May, we could really reopen instead of having the stops and starts of scattered breakouts of the virus happening.
Things from the pandemic era that I hope remain commonplace:
- Wearing a mask when you have a viral infection. Like even if you have had a common cold or a norovirus and are feeling well enough to go out in public again, it would still be awesome if it just felt normal for people to wear a mask for few days.
- Everyone who worked from home during the pandemic should have the flexibility to have routine work from home days in the schedule. Employers have no excuses for not letting this happen.
- Continue to have conferences, meetings, and seminars that either are entirely remote or allow people who can’t travel to attend remotely.
- Keep treating retail workers, healthcare workers, postal workers, and teachers with high respect (and we can even add to that giving them raises and benefits too!).
- Participation in mass social movements like last summer’s protests against police brutality continue to remain high.
- Republicans paying political consequences for their callous indifference to humanity and losing office.
- New movies are still available for streaming.
- mRNA vaccines are developed to prevent other infectious diseases.
Things I’m looking forward to doing in the post-pandemic era:
- Hugging family and friends who are not in my household.
- Seeing a movie in a theater.
- Drinking a draught beer at a bar.
- Attending a professional sporting event.
- Going to a street fair, parade, and/or annual event like the Boston Marathon.
- Browsing books at the public library.
- Sitting in a cafe for a long time sipping a cup of coffee while reading a book.
- Going to an amusement park.
- Singing with other people.
- Not wearing a f@*#ing mask every time I go out of the house.