It’s a bummer of an anniversary. And hard to believe that it’s already been one year since COVID-19 shut America down. It’s a long time, and one that feels infinitely longer for those living in isolation, relying on masks and the internet to interact and connect with others in any meaningful way.
A year gone by is as good a time as any to take stock. Let’s take a look at where we are today and see if we can get a handle on what the future may hold.
COVID-19: By the Numbers
Statistics will continue to be calculated long after the pandemic is officially over. But the following numbers are some of the currently accepted figures that highlight the toll the coronavirus has had on America and the world.
As of the date of this writing (March 11, 2021), in the U.S.:
- 118,789,081 recorded cases
- 2,634,654 deaths
- 21,804,381 currently infected
- 94,350,046 recovered
Where Things Stand Today
The above figures illustrate the direct effect COVID-19 has had when it comes to infection and mortality rates. But they do not touch on the secondary effects: unemployment rates, mental health, domestic violence, commercial real estate, birth rates, schooling, and the economy in general.
Multiple economic stimulus packages have been voted through to try and curtail a free-falling economy. They also provide focused support for parents, the unemployed struggling to stay in their homes, and small businesses trying to stay afloat.
In the course of a year, the American infrastructure has fundamentally changed. And in many instances, that could be permanently.
Technology has (thankfully) made it easier to stay in touch with loved ones in isolation. It has also enabled commerce and business in general to continue. Food delivery apps and online shopping provide everything someone could need, without ever leaving their house.
Science and Vaccines and Plans for the Future
Yes, it’s been a whole year. But at least now there is light now at the end of the tunnel. Scientists still don’t know everything about COVID-19, but they know a lot more than they did a year ago. Thanks to decades-long research, there are now three working vaccines. They are being administered at increasing rates, which is helping to increase herd immunity.
What Tomorrow Could Bring
It’s not over yet. Even with increasing vaccinations, it is likely to be at least several more months until the pandemic could even be considered to be under control. As such, we can expect the above figures to continue to rise at a good clip.
While large strides have already been made, much more research needs to be done to really get a handle on how COVID-19 is transmitted, how it affects the body in both the short- and long-term, and what newly discovered variants may do. COVID-19 is never going away, and we need to find out how to live with it.
Back to Normal?
There are still the big questions, like “When can we get together in large groups again?” “When can go places without a mask?” “Can we travel without restrictions?” Recommendations continue to change daily and vary based on specific locations. Regular checking of your particular state’s requirements should keep you in the know as much as possible.
Moving forward, we will have to unpack and deal with the repercussions of the pandemic. People have lost loved ones. And so many others have suffered the trauma of dealing with the secondary effects: lost jobs, lost homes, lost businesses. Kids have effectively missed a year of school. People have argued endlessly–and sometimes violently–about masks. And others suffer silently at home from depression and anxiety.
It is likely to take a while to fully comprehend the full toll that COVID-19 has taken. But hopefully it will not include another post like this on what turns out to be the pandemic’s second anniversary.
Photo credit: Ivan Marc – www.shutterstock.com