Arthur Christory / Gavel Media

Comparing COVID-19: Then and Now

I had almost thought that I escaped the dreaded 617 call. I was wrong. 

Flashback almost exactly two years, I was a senior in high school a few days away from a very much-needed spring break. I got an email from my high school on Wednesday afternoon– school was canceled Thursday and Friday due to COVID-19. Most people were overjoyed, we’d get an extra few days of spring break, and then we’d be back afterward. If only we knew how wrong we were and that we would still be living with COVID and the pandemic over two years later. Now I’m a sophomore in college and just had COVID for the first time after over two years of the pandemic. 

I had escaped COVID for so long. I never had to go to Hotel Boston or Pine Manor, I almost thought I escaped unscathed. I got COVID the week of Easter break, so I had already made my way home before receiving the call from UHS that I had tested positive. I was sick the days prior to coming home, so I got tested *just in case*. I happened to test positive, so my brother wouldn’t come home, and I wouldn’t see my grandparents over the holiday weekend. My dad had also coincidentally been sick and tested positive the day I planned to come home. So, I ended up having a very COVID Easter this year. 

It feels strange. Two years later, so much has changed, and my life is almost entirely different. I did the last two and a half months of my senior year of high school online, I started college and now I’m almost halfway done, my parents are getting ready to sell my childhood home, and I’m starting to enter the “real world”. Two years ago I had been so isolated and separated from my friends, which did not help my worries and concerns about starting college. I was also so unsure of what college meant during a pandemic, and now I know that last year and this year could not be more different from what I expected. BC was not BC last year. 

The world around me now is also drastically different from March 2020. Two years ago, former President Trump was spreading misinformation about the pandemic and conspiracy theories, criticizing Dr. Fauci, and promoting unsafe behaviors in regard to the spread of COVID. While Trump was able to accelerate the production of the vaccine, he didn’t help to ensure that the vaccine was the plausible and safe solution to ameliorate the effects and spread of the virus. We’ve undergone numerous mask and vaccine mandates, periods of uncertainty, and peaks in case numbers. I’ve received three doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and probably have another booster in my future. 

Now, after a tumultuous election, Biden is president. But beyond the election, we’ve seen many noteworthy events in the US. The summer of 2020 brought about a wave of Black Lives Matter protests in response to the killing of George Floyd and so many others’ tragic deaths. Former Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away. Trump selected justice Amy Coney Barrett to replace her – an unfortunately drastic change that pushed the table in favor of the conservatives. However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the Supreme Court. After Justice Stephan Breyer announced his retirement, President Biden selected Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as his replacement. Judge Jackson is first female of color to serve on the US Supreme Court. It is a historic moment for the US and a step in the right direction for diversity, equality, and inclusion for our nation.  

Looking abroad, there have been things that brought us closer together, but also that has pushed us farther apart. There were catastrophic bushfires in Australia. The United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union. Migration crises surged. The Capitol suffered from the January 6 insurrection. Supply chain issues were exposed by the pandemic. Trump was banned from Twitter–and lost the election (double win). America elected its first female, Black and Asian American Vice President Senator Kamala Harris. Ethiopia’s civil war waged on as the insurrection in the Tigray region grew more intense and violent. Global democracy has been tested and somewhat eroded. And most recently, President Vladimir Putin decided to invade and wage war on Ukraine. 

It hasn’t been all bad though. Families have been reunited as the vaccine has rolled out, some maybe even after two years of virtual communication. Scientists and volunteers are committed to making this historic vaccine available to all. This also leads to hope for better global health. The pause from the pandemic and virtual environment also allowed people to reconnect with one another. We saw two Olympic Games within 6 months. Students continued to graduate from school with real, in-person graduations again. Awareness about the UN Sustainable Development Goals has increased. Mask mandates have been lifted and life is starting to feel normal again. (Still take the necessary precautions to keep you and those around you safe and healthy, and if you feel sick, please get tested!) 

Personally, I made some amazing friends and got to experience the real BC this year. I started writing for The Gavel and got involved in other clubs and organizations on campus. Two long years have passed and so much has changed. It makes me wonder where I, and the world, will be in another two years. All I can hope for is fewer pandemics and country invasions, and more of the good stuff. I feel like our world needs a little more optimism after these two past tumultuous years.

International studies major who's obsessed with dogs and coffee

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