From early 2020 through spring of 2021, the COVID pandemic brought about so many losses and changes… in less polite terms, COVID was a b*tch!
Throughout the pandemic, which affected the entire world and not just our country, we heard of lives lost (sometimes whole families!), financial difficulties, closed businesses, inadequate schooling, jobs gone, and emotional trauma that will last forever. Politics and politicians became part of the blame game. Friends became adversaries about things like masks and vaccines. Increased racism became a focus for anger, fear and blame.
There was so much heartache as families could not see each other, grandparents felt forgotten, children only saw friends via computerized apps, and relatives in hospitals and nursing homes were kept isolated from family and friends. Healthcare workers were overtaxed and often driven into despondency because of the emotional toll. While many workers who were still lucky enough to have their jobs worked from home, it changed the relaxing escape to go home at the end of the workday, into the feeling of “living” at your job. Snow days no longer existed since many students were learning from their own homes via computer. And areas without decent internet and computers were often left without schooling, and “ZOOM” family get-togethers.
According to reports, here in America, there were 621,633 COVID deaths as of July 7, 2021 — yes, SOME of those who died had “pre-existing conditions”, conditions which they had lived with for many years before COVID struck. There were many TEMPORARY business closures that turned into permanent ones, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report, “the pandemic resulted in the permanent closure of roughly 200,000 U.S. establishments above historical levels during the first year of the viral outbreak”; that is ABOVE the national rate of normal businesses that close for reasons including bankruptcy, retirement, and general demographics. Many EMTs, Paramedics, Healthcare Workers and other First Responders died, they died doing their job to help others.
It’s been said that US job losses due to COVID-19 are the highest since the Great Depression. Food banks were overtaxed helping to feed families who couldn’t afford groceries. Prices on certain commodities rose because of hoarding and shortages, 2020 became the year of toilet paper and hand sanitizer shortages. Our economy suffered in every conceivable area. In June of 2020 it was estimated that nearly half of all American homeowners considered selling their home simply because they could not afford the mortgage payments. Over one-third of homeowners could not afford to hire outside contractors to make necessary home repairs and had to attempt the job themselves; about 18% of those were unsuccessful.
But even when the COVID illness wasn’t the threat, there were many lives lost because of it. People experiencing chest pains, severe “headaches” or other sudden symptoms were afraid to call 911 or go to the hospital and the waiting game caused a higher mortality rate. People in the often-unknown stages of Dementia or other debilitating conditions were not being seen in-person by their doctors and the isolation from family members and friends, as well as the lack of personal interaction caused many sufferers to deteriorate at a faster rate. According to the Houston News in May, 2021, “Dementia diseases were the sixth leading cause of American deaths during the Covid Lockdown of 2020” due to the severity of isolation brought on by the lockdown.
Things will never be the same. There is no way we can go back. Just about everyone knows the empty hole that has been left in their lives by the loss of loved ones. Families who were uprooted are trying to make their new lives with different expectations. While the major lockdown restrictions have been lifted in our country, there are still CDC recommendations to wear masks (especially if you are not vaccinated). Some travel restrictions remain in place depending on your destination and departure point.
We can only go on from this point as wisely AND KINDLY as possible.