Coronavirus Diary Day 363: March 10, 2021

That Was Then, This is Now

On one hand, I absolutely cannot believe it’s been 363 days since I started keeping this Coronavirus record. On the other hand, I knew it from the start, and all along the journey, that we would still be here, a full year later.

What has changed? Nothing. And a lot.

There is a light at the end of this tunnel, at least when it comes to the virus. More people are getting vaccinated. Some states are lifting their mask mandates. Many municipalities are allowing people to dine indoors and gather in groups. We still don’t shake hands or hug people, not necessarily because of COVID-19, but because we forgot how, and now those acts feel downright criminal.

Don’t get me wrong. Corona is far from eradicated. People still go to the hospital, and people still die. Worldwide, there have been 2,624,854 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Here in the USA, 540,640 have died. But those numbers are dropping daily. Can there be another wave? I highly doubt it. It’s been a roller coaster year, though, and we learned anything is possible.

While I don’t believe COVID-19 will be a lingering danger, I see two immediate consequences that we are facing right now and for the foreseeable future: Crime and Inflation.

The National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice reported that homicides increased an average of 30% in American cities in the year 2020. Philadelphia – my hometown – reported 500 homicides last year. That’s an increase of 27% over 2019. The last time we saw that many murders was twenty years ago, in 1990. So far in 2021, Philadelphia homicides are up 55% over the same period in 2020.

The U.S. government has passed a number of economic stimulus relief packages since the start of the pandemic. These include tax credits, lump payment checks to individuals, payroll protection programs, and increased unemployment funds. These are good things, of course, because businesses are suffering, and people are suffering, and we need help. But what cost will this have on our future? I’m personally worried about inflation, and on the impact to my children as they navigate through young adulthood. I’m no financial guru, that’s for sure. Quite frankly, I have no idea what I’m talking about. But, I have a backup plan for when the banks go bust, and you probably should too.

But guys, I’m not all doom and gloom. In fact, I’m far from it. Spring is nearly here, and summer is right after that. As far as I’m concerned, Coronavirus can take the next rocket to Pluto and never meddle with us humans ever, ever again.

I got my second dose of the Moderna vaccine yesterday. I’m a Red Cross volunteer, so I qualified to be included in an early group of recipients. But even among those who qualify, getting a vaccine appointment has been a challenge in many places. I’m lucky that I didn’t suffer any side effects to either dose. Some people feel sick for 24 hours, mainly chills and night sweats. Still others want nothing to do with it. I admire those people. After all, you only get one body, and only you should determine what you do to it, what you put into it, and what you take out of it.

My Dad has been vaccinated, too. He got his through the VA. My Mom is still on a bunch of wait lists. You might recall that last Spring, they were both unbelievably sick after attending a St. Pat’s Day celebration in Alexandria. I’m convinced they had Corona. They don’t believe so. I guess it doesn’t matter. The two of them have enjoyed as much as they could over this past year. They weren’t afraid to socialize or travel, to the extent allowed by law, and good for them.

The Hubs’ parents are both vaccinated. All of my nurse friends are vaccinated. Some of my teacher friends are vaccinated, too. This makes me happy.

European borders are still closed to Americans, and vice versa. I think it will stay like that through the summer. Having said that, Americans can travel to Mexico and many Caribbean islands. I’ll be traveling to Jamaica later this Spring. I’m psyched.

Will the world get back to normal? In some ways, yes, I believe it will. We’ve spent the past year calling this “an unprecedented event.” But is it, actually? The Spanish Flu lasted from 1918 to 1920 and blanketed the planet in 4 successive waves. The global death toll is estimated between 20 million and 50 million humans. People practiced social distancing and wore masks. Eventually, it ended. And although it may have taken many years, the world did get back to normal.

And we will, too.


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