Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021
We can’t see ahead. I threw away my crystal ball months ago. But we can look back and it’s clear that COVID-19 is still here, still affecting our lives more than we ever expected. Instead of a return to “normal,” 2021 is turning out to be a year of adjustment. We live in an era of negotiation about which COVID restrictions we can live with, which we have to modify, and which we really hate. A year ago, we thought these rules were temporary. Now we’re not so sure.
Let’s go back and look at the Los Angeles Times, September 25, 2020:
September 2020 was concerned with lockdowns. The pandemic had already lasted longer than we thought it would and people battled in frustration against the things they couldn’t do. Without vaccines, the only way to screen people was by testing. Weddings were postponed. But for how long?
- There was a focus on young people because they are active: “Young people fuel rise in COVID-19 infections,” reads a headline, because the CDC found the median age was dropping.
- Memorial services were kept small: “Services are private, due to COVID.”
- Entertainment and public events were cancelled. No Los Angeles County Fair. No live performances: “Oh, for a return to live theater.” Digital substitutes were just not the same.
- They could even blame COVID for the stock market: On Sept. 25, 2020, volatility was attributed to: the upcoming election, doubts about Congress delivering more economic aid, uncertainty as to when the vaccine will be ready, rising tension between U.S. and China—AND as if that weren’t enough–“layered on top of it all is the still-raging COVID-19 pandemic.”
September 2021: One year later, we are opening things up–while trying to determine which conditions are effective and reasonable.
- There’s still a focus on young people, whose statistics are worse, because now a lot of the old people are vaccinated. “Average age of Californians dying of COVID-19 getting younger.”
- Memorial services are being publicized, sometimes with conditions: “Masks required.” and sometimes without: “followed by a reception in her home.”
- Entertainment, sports, and public events are opened, often on a smaller scale and always with conditions. At the UCLA vs. Stanford game fans have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours of game time. At the Orange County Fair, you could walk outside without a mask, bur masks were required in the buildings. Broadway shows will require both proof of vaccination to get in and masks during the performance.
- Yes, COVID is still to blame for the stock market. The word this week was “choppy,” as in: “Choppy week of trading.” The choppiness was attributed to: “COVID-19 and its lingering effect on the economy along with a slow recovery for the employment market,” as well as supply chain issues and the Chinese real estate developer Evergrande.
What about September 2022? Maybe we will reach a consensus on what health measures are reasonable. After all, we have OSHA and the FDA. Or maybe this virus will still be raging and changing and dodging, making it harder than ever to agree on how we’re going to live with it. But we can still blame it for the stock market.
Today’s Notable Headlines
“This cruise ship had an infamous coronavirus outbreak. Now, it’s set to sail again,” Los Angeles Times, Sept. 25, 2021. https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2021-09-25/grand-princess-cruise-ship-los-angeles-port-sails-covid-pandemic
“Norway to end coronavirus-related restrictions on Saturday,” Reuters, Sept. 24, 2021. https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/norway-end-coronavirus-related-restrictions-saturday-2021-09-24/
“Government COVID experts push strategy rethink as infections spread,” Times of Israel, Sept. 23, 2021. https://www.timesofisrael.com/government-covid-experts-push-strategy-rethink-as-infections-spread/
“Limits On Toilet Paper And Cleaning Supplies Are Back At Costco,” NPR, Sept. 24, 2021. https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/09/24/1040471872/limits-toilet-paper-cleaning-supplies-costco-delta-covid
Los Angeles Times, September 25, 2020.
Los Angeles Times, August 26, 2021.
Los Angeles Times, September 24, 2021.
A Complete Guide to Broadway’s Reopening, May 14, 2021. https://www.broadway.com/buzz/200777/a-complete-guide-to-broadways-reopening/
Why am I doing this?
The coronavirus pandemic will be indelibly written on our memories just as the Great Depression or the Battle of Britain left their mark on past generations. I intend to journal the pandemic experience from three perspectives: as a retired medical technologist, as a historian (Ph.D., 2014), and an ordinary person living through an extraordinary world crisis.