COVID-19—What We Thought Then; What We Know Now

Javon Flynn, Staff Writer

On January 31, 2020 I wrote an article about the Coronavirus. At that time, I never thought the situation would become a pandemic the way it did.

I had asked my fellow AIC students about their reaction to the news of the outbreak. I, like most of them, thought it would be like the flu or cold season and it would dissipate during warm weather.

I would be lying if I said I thought the situation would be this bad because, quite frankly, very few people did. Of the students I interviewed for the piece at the start of the semester, only Alivia Mackie, a first-year nursing student, thought that “everyone in the world should be concerned.”

On January 29, CNN reported that there were 170 people who were confirmed dead and there were roughly 8,100 cases that were confirmed in the epicenter of the virus, Wuhan China.

Also during that month, there were only 5 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States. The White House’s Coronavirus task force issued a statement on January 29 saying that “the risk of infection to Americans remains low.” Looking back, it is fair to say that this statement was wishful thinking.

Since January, there has been an explosion of coronavirus cases in the US. As of this writing, the US now has 641,523 confirmed cases along with 28,759 deaths. [Click the link to see the New York Times’ up-to-date count.] COVID-19 has become a huge threat to humanity in a few short months.

Schools, businesses, stores—everything is shutting down. This, of course, leads to people losing jobs. Hospitals are overwhelmed with patients and not just those with the novel coronavirus. They still have to help the people who have other illnesses and injuries besides the coronavirus.

Big cities are being hit hardest because of how many people live and work so close together. New York City has the highest number of cases in the US and the world.

The spike in cases and deaths in such a short space of time means that hospitals and morgues were overwhelmed. Due to this, they had no choice but to create makeshift morgues out of refrigerator trucks. For me, that really brought home to me the reality of what is really happening.

It really is a crazy time to be alive right now. There is constant fear of getting ill yourself, or of your family being infected and not being able to see them. In many cases, those who have lost a family member to this sickness have not been able to say their final goodbyes to them. This is the most heartbreaking thing I have heard about in the past few weeks. It is truly devastating and I cannot begin to fathom the amount of pain or grief this is causing for many people throughout the world.

I recently had a close friend get in an accident and sustain possibly fatal injuries. With everything going on, her own parents can’t even see their daughter during this traumatic time. While I understand hospitals are trying to take the utmost precautions to keep her and everyone healthy, it just doesn’t seem fair. A young girl is fighting for her life alone, but the alternative is putting her at risk of contracting COVID-19 due to being hospitalized.

When I wrote my last article, no one was prepared for what would happen in the US. No one thought or knew schools would be shut down in the U.S. or that businesses that are deemed non-essential would be shut down. It is scary to think about, but some journalists and reporters say this virus could last another 18 months!

At this point, I believe that everyone needs to take this pandemic seriously. It is not only just affecting hometowns, cities, and the U.S., but the whole world. We are all fighting against this together, even though we may feel alone.

Staying home and practicing social distancing along with improved hygiene will definitely have a positive impact on us. Healthcare workers don’t have this choice, so let’s work together to get this virus under control by doing your part.

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash