2020 was not a fun year, for anyone. No matter what your politics or ideology, no one can say that they truly enjoyed the losses of freedom, companionship, and choice that came about because of the virus. Family has not been able to see each other, and friends have not been able to go out and have fun. 2021 had a promising start, what with the distribution of the vaccine and the record numbers of early vaccinated that were able to help society to return to a semblance of normal. Many of us, myself included, assumed that this was the beginning of the end of Covid-19 troubles and worries, but it was not to be. Mere months later, the virus has spawned several variants, some of which can either work around or simply bull through the protections created by the vaccine. Delta especially has been gaining ground here in the U.S., which makes one think back to the earlier months of the virus, to the way that we needed to work, live and interact with one another.
No one enjoyed the social distancing and mask mandates, but they were a necessary evil, and many great Americans put aside their personal comfort in order to protect themselves and each other. If we are to return to that darker period, perhaps we should take a look at how the mask mandate changed our perspective, our views, and even the ways that we lived and worked. For one, our country has been divided severely, between those willing and those unwilling. Friends and family have found themselves distanced not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, from one another as we all strive to find our place. Some have been able to move past these differences to care for one another in spite of the changes, but others have had their relationships damaged. Bad information, false information has had a greater effect on our people now than it ever has before, costing lives all around the country.
We now live in bubbles, separated from one another by a six foot distance that at times can even seem like miles. Going out to restaurants means that everybody needs to have their mask, and while it is nice that restaurants now offer more space per table, that probably isn’t helping the profits and wages of those who work in the food industry. Not to mention their own risk of catching the virus. We have learned that our essential workers don’t just mean police officers, firefighters, doctors and nurses. It means sanitation, it means waiters and waitresses, it means grocery store baggers and clerks. So many people are more important to our day to day lives than we usually think, and deserve all the care and kindness that we can give them.
Work is no longer something that you have to drive to. Many people are now realizing how easy and affordable it is to work from home, and while not every job can be thought of in this way, there are so many more positions that don’t need office space than we thought. Should work even return to the old way, or should we embrace this as part of the new era. Either way, we learned about this because of Covid-19, and no matter what side you fall upon, I think we can all take a moment to appreciate that whatever the danger is, so many people stepped up to help, to organize and protect us that need our thanks.