It’s Been a Year Since COVID-19 Was Declared a Pandemic. Here are 4 Positive Outcomes.

Child in mask

Child in mask

One year ago, the world turned upside down.

One day, people around the world were going into the office, hosting parties, attending weddings, and engaging in all sorts of close interactions. With what seemed like the flip of a switch, cities went into lockdown, and people were implored to stay home, stay safe, and prevent the spread of a brand new virus — COVID-19.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, citing deep concern about how quickly and efficiently the virus spread.

Now, one year has passed (though to some, it may feel like just one month, and to others, one decade). As of mid-March, the world has lost over 2.6 million lives to the virus, and people everywhere have also faced job losses, financial difficulties, feelings of isolation, and other versions of hardship.

However, we have learned a lot during this fight — about science, gratitude, working together, and even ourselves.

COVID-19 is not behind us, and we still have a lot of work to do. But that doesn’t negate the incredible accomplishments that have occurred over the past year. Here are just 4 of them.

1. Science has advanced considerably, and researchers deserve a huge round of applause.

Starting in February 2020, scientists have worked at record-breaking speed and efficiency to understand COVID-19, including how it spreads, who is most at risk, and what tests, drugs, and vaccines will help us fight it.

One year later, more than 70 COVID-19 vaccines are being tested in clinical trials on humans, 20 have reached their final stages, and 4 are approved for full use. As of March 10, more than 319 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccination have been administered worldwide.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations were designed in just 2 days.

Science has been supercharged this past year. Many of these remarkable scientists have entered the public spotlight like never before.

In Sydney, chemist Pall Thordarson took center stage for explaining how the simple task of washing your hands protects you against COVID-19.

In Germany, virologist Christian Drosten developed the first test for COVID-19 and spoke about the virus on his widely popular podcast.

In the US, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, became a reliable and consistent source of information (in addition to showing up on T-shirts and coffee mugs, among other memorabilia).

In the past year, these scientists — among so many others — have changed the world of science. Together, they have saved countless lives, and their work will continue to protect people moving forward.

2. Healthcare workers have supported the world — and received much-deserved gratitude in return.

As of February 22, 2021, more than 111 million people have had COVID-19 around the globe. In the US, up to 132,000 people have been in the hospital at once — including up to nearly 24,000 in intensive care units.

Healthcare workers have shouldered the burden of overflowing hospitals, long work hours, lost patients, and loads of stress. One survey found that from June to September 2020, 93% of healthcare workers experienced stress, and 76% said they were exhausted and burned out.

And yet, healthcare workers around the world kept showing up, caring for patients, holding their hands, helping them video chat with family — anything it took to support patients and keep the healthcare system afloat.

In return, people have shown gratitude in a variety of ways. Two moms in Akron, Ohio delivered healthy snacks for healthcare workers. Local veterans donated meals to a hospital in Batavia, New York.

Here in Nebraska, a woman from Papillion started a Facebook group called Adopt-a-Nurse/Healthcare Worker, where healthcare workers sign up and create an Amazon wishlist. Then, community members can show their support and gratitude by purchasing one of the items on the list.

People donated supplies, gave shout-outs on social media, contributed money to GoFundMe accounts, and cheered from balconies as hard-working healthcare workers showed up to care for their patients and keep everyone safe.

3. Community workers have kept the world moving forward.

While healthcare workers have certainly been a crucial part of getting us through the pandemic, there are many other individuals who have kept the world spinning in the midst of all the chaos.

From postal workers to delivery drivers to grocery store employees to teachers, there are countless workers that took on extra tasks and even increased health risks to do their jobs. For instance, as many schools shifted to virtual classrooms, 77% of educators have said they are working more than prior to the pandemic. As for grocery store workers, one study revealed that workers who interact with customers are five times as likely to test positive for COVID-19 compared to colleagues in other positions.

Many of these unsung heroes have shown the world how much we truly rely on one another to keep moving forward, and they all deserve a huge “thank you” in return.

4. Many people have a new perspective on life.

The world continues to navigate through a challenging period in history, but one thing is certain — many have a fresh outlook on life.

As people have been asked to stay at home, families have reconnected in new ways, such as game nights, movie marathons, and crafts galore. With video chatting becoming the norm to connect with one another, some have rekindled relationships with family and friends across the country or even the globe.

People have taken up new hobbies, found creative ways to volunteer, explored nature, reignited their exercise regime, and taken time to relax in ways they never thought possible prior to the pandemic.

A lot has changed in the past year. While there have been significant losses, there has been some good that has come out of the pandemic. As we continue to move closer to putting it all behind us, remember how far we’ve come — and how much we’ve learned as a result.

Do you have questions about COVID-19 and your child? Call their pediatrician to learn about things like keeping your family safe and healthy during the pandemic.

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