4 Years of COVID-19: Where are we now? 

March 2020: the beginning of the end, so it seemed. An unprecedented period where people across the globe saw shutdowns, state-mandated curfews, social distancing, countless Zoom meetings, masked protection, and, most distressing of all, a grim cloud of death. 

It seems unimaginable that 4 years have passed since the pandemic’s inception. In March 2020, isolation’s prevalence in modern life struck a chord with many, causing a rise in the the mental health crisis, paralleling the increase in COVID cases daily. 

“We’re all in this together.” “We’ll get through this together.” Phrases of solidarity promoting a sense of calm in the chaos and uncertainty of the virus’ spread. The heralding of solidarity exposed similar sentiments across the world, offering an outlet to those struggling and easy access to virtual support through this tough period. The kind actions of strangers, from delivering groceries to letter-via-window communication, dimmed the solemnity of COVID’s presence within daily life, and highlighted the gracious nature of human behavior. 

A strong light must also be shone on the bravery and selflessness of frontline healthcare workers. The emotional strain of witnessing detrimental illness, overcrowded hospital beds, and innumerous death is a weight borne by the heroes of the pandemic, one of which is my Ortho-Trauma RN mother. As one of the countless healthcare professionals who worked through the pandemic, strapping preventative garb from makeshift garbage-bag gear, to unbelievable contraptions such as PPE shields, these workers provided comfort to virus-stricken patients with an uncertain medical status, all the while bracing for the resilient fires of COVID ’s inferno.

Further, federal action against the virus played a decisive role in the political atmosphere of 2020; COVID was a key issue in one of the most notable presidential elections in US history. The exacerbation of anxiety and depression, brought upon by fear of contracting the virus and limited social contact, demonstrated the tensions many faced during the pandemic. Strict isolationist behavior, promoting the practice of “6 feet apart,” clashed with the resistance of “anti-maskers” and those who saw the pandemic as a hoax, marking a fervent division between what was considered safe and what was seen as dangerous during the pandemic. Many also saw these two characterizations as a political marker for liberal and conservative, Democrats and Republicans (later referred to as Trump-supporting individuals). Many note the ignorance of the Trump administration in curving the impact of COVID-19 within the United States, suggesting the inaction of former president Trump resulted in the unnecessary spike in illness and unfortunate rise in death. The election of 2020 saw Democrat Joe Biden’s victory against Republican Donald Trump, signifying a shift in the public’s political views, with change in the federal government as well as a change in Coronavirus policy as evidence. Many credit Biden’s leadership as a catalyst for COVID’s decline within the United States, further stigmatizing Trump’s inaction and signifying the change in political atmosphere as a result of the pandemic. 

Contextually, the past has certainly redefined our future, evidently shifting societal expectations of how to interact with others and complicating the world’s rebuild from such a destructive period. Hallmark signs of the pandemic continue to appear today, from numerous hand sanitizer stations in public spaces, to masked individuals who continue pandemic protocols as precautionary measures. 

Validating these actions is key in promoting health and well-being within not only the United States, but across the globe. This pandemic has not only taught us about the importance of healthcare, but also about the promotion of safety and wellness of the whole person in uncertain times. Lessons which we should all carefully consider as we move forward from the notorious virus.

4 years later we are seemingly back to pre-pandemic status. However, shadows of this pandemic will never cease to exist; the memories of this time will forever live on in the minds of those who survived the years COVID-19.

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