The Evolution of the Pandemic in the U.S.
This article was written by Lonestar Writer Gabrielle Choi
In 2020, COVID-19 spread to the United States and forced everyone into a panic. It may feel like a long time ago, but it was only about a year ago that the first case of coronavirus popped up in the United States. Much of the initial panic has died down, and we have adapted our daily routines to include a few more precautions. However, the pandemic is far from over and its many effects are still being felt.
On March 19, 2020, California became the first state to issue a stay-at-home order. Even before this point, people’s mental states had been affected as demonstrated by the extreme precautions people were taking. For example, you probably remember the huge amounts of supplies people bought in a panic. But California’s stay-at-home order, and later many other states’, affected people’s mental wellbeing even more. Isolation has been proven to be linked to poor mental health, and data showed that 47% of people sheltering in place felt negative mental health effects.
Another issue the pandemic brought was racism. Prejudice against Asians rose due to the coronavirus originating in Wuhan, China. From March to May in 2020, 2,583 anti-Asian incidents were reported in the U.S. Even political leaders- like former President Donald Trump’s use of phrases “Kung-flu” and “Wuhan virus”- fueled the flames. Asians were verbally assaulted, physically attacked, and had their homes and businesses vandalized. Asian people all over the country as well as the rest of the world were unfairly targeted due to the pandemic. Even now, so far into the pandemic, hate crimes against Asian-Americans continue and are overlooked.
Another disturbing and well-known effect of the coronavirus pandemic is the high and climbing death toll. Every day, reports show a new, higher death count and a huge amount of new cases. The newest data available shows that over 486,000 people in the U.S. have died from coronavirus, with the number still rising. There are currently over 27 million cases, with more people getting infected every day.
Even with so many obviously negative impacts of the coronavirus, it’s hard not to feel desensitized. It feels so routine to grab a mask whenever you head to the grocery store, and for many people, to open up a laptop in the morning to attend work or school. Personally, I find it hard to remember what it was like to leave the house every single day. However, there is hope. A vaccine has been developed, and millions of people have already been vaccinated in the U.S. alone. It seems that this year may show the beginning of the end of the pandemic. Still, even with the vaccine, a lot of people are being too casual about the pandemic. There are even people who insist the vaccine is untrustworthy and that they will not be taking it.
We have all had to build a new routine to live through the pandemic, and I’m afraid we are losing momentum. Every day, I see someone on social media showing off a vacation or a large group of friends without taking safety precautions. With so many terrible things happening, it seems like many people are giving up.
Continuing 2021, we should try harder. When the virus first began to affect our country, businesses and schools shut down, and people remained tightly locked in their homes. Infographics and animated commercials urged everyone to stay apart, wash their hands, and help flatten the curve. A year later, and the curve is definitely not flat. What many people thought would be a few months has turned into a year, and we are facing what looks like a long road to a full recovery. Everyone must do their best for us to begin our journey on that road.
“CDC COVID Data Tracker.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#mobility.
Donlevy, Katherine. “Anti-Asian Hate Crime Jumps 1,900 Percent.” Queens Chronicle, Queens Chronicle, 17 Dec. 2020, www.qchron.com/editions/queenswide/anti-asian-hate-crime-jumps-1-900-percent/article_f007a05b-f43e-54ca-a3c6-1b5493333dea.html.
Nirmita Panchal, Rabah Kamal, and Apr 2020. “The Implications of COVID-19 for Mental Health and Substance Use.” KFF, 21 Aug. 2020, www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/.