How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed our lives

By Chuck Gibson

LOVELAND, OH (March 11, 2021)  – It was one year ago today the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic

COVID-19 samples used in research (File photo)

All around the nation and the world, things changed in a hurry. The coronavirus (COVID-19) spread quickly and arguably without enough fair warning. Here in Ohio, even right here at home in Loveland, Ohio, it was only four days before drastic changes to our lives would take effect.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced on that Sunday, March 15, 2020, restaurants and bars and other public places needed to shut down. Within a couple days, DeWine issued the “Stay at Home Ohio” order essentially placing everyone under quarantine. Of course, there were exceptions for those frontline workers who were deemed essential. Healthcare workers (doctors and nurses) and first responders (police, fire, paramedics) and even delivery drivers carrying essential products like grocery items quickly became recognized as heroes risking their own health to care for the sick, the dying, and even those of us simply trying to stay safe and stay healthy.

Dr. Carl Fichtenbaum, professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine and a UC Health physician – frontline hero (Photo/Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative + Brand)

Life changed in a hurry. We became familiar with the term PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). We suddenly became familiar, maybe again, with our own family members as we all stayed at home.  Staying at home meant working from home. Schools closed and staff, teachers, students and parents all were suddenly thrust into the turmoil of educating and caring for kids . . . while they stayed home. ZOOM, as in Zoom meetings, virtual electronic online meetings replaced in-person, face-to-face business and learning. We all became too familiar with remote learning. There were so many more adjustments we all had to make in a hurry. Suddenly we were all looking for sanitizing and disinfecting solutions for our homes, for ourselves, and for our personal environment. We were looking for protective face masks and shields. We were even looking for space to put between ourselves and others to maintain “safe social distancing” – another term we became all too familiar with in a hurry.

Daily press conferences from our Governor, from the President of the United States, and from Public Health Officials became the order of the day. We learned a lot of names we never knew before. Dr. Anthony Fauci comes to mind immediately, but his is only one of too many names to begin listing here. Too many lives were lost. Too many of us suffered from mild to severe cases of COVID during these past 12 months. Too many have suffered the devastating impact of economic loss from decreased or even lost business due to shutdowns. We have a long way to go before we’ll even know the real impact on our students who were not allowed in the classrooms and have had to adjust to some form of remote learning.

PPE Kits like these were distributed (Chuck Gibson)

First it was treatments and talk of research to find a vaccine. Fast tracking research for pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Astra-Zeneca and others brought more concerns and questions while, at the same time, offering hope for a future free of this COVID-19 pandemic and some return to what we once thought of as normal routine. Oh, so many changes. Some good, some not good at all. Yet, here we are, one year later. Seems like now we hear a lot less talk of cases of COVID-19 and a lot more talk of who is eligible, and how to get the approved vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Have you been vaccinated yet? Will you be vaccinated? Did you test positive, show symptoms, survive a case of COVID-19?

U.C. Clinician prepares Jarelle Marshall for administering of first of two doses of Moderna COVID trial vaccine in August (File))

Millions have been vaccinated throughout the United States. Vaccination programs are happening all around us – even if slowly. We look forward with eyes on a date – some say late spring, others suggest more probable summertime – when we will hear a declaration the COVID-19 pandemic is over. We look forward, but we’ll be looking forward through a whole different outlook to a much-changed world.

How do you see the future of life after this pandemic?

How has COVID-19 changed your life?   

Will you continue ordering necessary products and goods online? Will you return to shopping in person?

Will you have meals from area restaurants delivered? Will you continue to pick-up carryout? Will you return to in-person dining? Again, so many forms of entertainment: concerts, shows, movies, sports events. . . the list is long. Will you return to the show venues, the ballparks, the playing fields?  We have all felt the impact of this pandemic. There is no doubt we have all been changed by it. The question now is: how will we continue to respond to those changes to make life better . . . for all of us?

What is your answer? Email your written reply for publication in PEOPLES VOICE on Loveland Beacon to: editor@lovelandbeacon.com