Newhouse Insider: Happy Anniversary, COVID-19

Dominick Pfisterer

We all thought we were getting a two-week vacation from school a year ago when you came, but you never left. You overstayed your welcome. You got too comfortable in our country, in our streets and in our schools.

We thought your presence would be temporary, that if we would just wash our hands and wear masks you would magically disappear. We would be back in May; seniors would walk at graduation and summer of 2020 would be a movie.

The summer turned out to be quite the horror flick, as you wouldn’t leave. However, your creation of chaos has not been all for nothing, there have been plenty of lessons to be learned during your stay in our world.

You showed us that America would fight against two pandemics. One that you would bring and one that has never been properly addressed — a pandemic of social injustice. Police brutality, unjust killings, peaceful protests turned to riots. You dominated the news while bringing light to far darker issues.

During your time here, things have gone from bad to worse in a number of areas. Including the amount of people you have affected.

COVID, you’ve showed us the flexibility of the remote world. Ever since we were children, we wanted to wear pajamas to school, now we can do so whenever we choose. Business meetings can take place without socks on, reporters can broadcast without shoes, we live in a world of comfort without the certainty that things will ever go back to how they were.

You have impacted industries forever. Communications has never looked the same. Zoom interviews with professional athletes on our TVs and watching the NFL Draft from the inside of Roger Goodell’s home are things we never thought we would see.

Sporting events with empty fans. It seems desolate and its sad. It is better than where we were a year ago, sitting at home with no sports. Our society has proven its perseverance throughout your stay. We have shown ourselves that we can make it work regardless of the situation.

The world did not stop. We kept marching forward. Businesses opened back up, schools reopened and sports returned. It is not the way we pictured it or the way we preferred, but we made it happen. We did so despite your best efforts.

The past year has seen many highs and lows. If anything, it has allowed us to showcase our true colors. It has proven that some shine brighter than others. It showed not to make excuses but to make improvements. Coronavirus has been a teaching tool just as much as it has been a pandemic. There is a lot to evaluate as a society as we continue to crawl out of COVID.

Will life return to the pre-COVID days, or has a Darwin-esque revolution occurred through all this? Have we gotten smarter and realized some of the advantages of not being shoulder to shoulder at a bar, unable to move? Have businesses realized the amount of money they can save by limiting office space and having employees work from home?

We have had a year to work with the coronavirus. A year to adjust and a year to learn. Happy anniversary, COVID-19.