COVID-19 has now spent months sweeping the globe. Some lives have been lost; others have been destroyed. Unemployment numbers have seen unimaginable peaks, while job demand is virtually nonexistent. Bills remain unpaid, and hope and the horizon of normalcy seem like the furthest things from sight. No matter how COVID-19 has affected your own life, you know it well.
COVID-19 has become like the uncomfortable stranger in the room, the one whose presence is constantly felt, but rarely mentioned, except in the news. No one wants to speak about it, or even speak the words, but it is a constant shadow in everyone’s mind. The virus has turned a simple trip to the grocery store into the most stressful task of the week or month. Eyes of shoppers glance coldly as you grab a carton of milk, and a sneeze or slight cough will turn heads the way being called on in grade school would turn those of your classmates. That is to say, human interaction has changed, and it will take time to change back.
As the daily case and death numbers roll in, as if counting box office numbers or copies of a new book being sold, we all seem to have convinced ourselves that it is so far away, no matter how close we really are. The truth, however, is that COVID-19 is closer to us than we wish to see. Many are lucky. The ability to work remotely and continue to receive paychecks without issue is a privilege that a few lucky individuals maintain. And while COVID-19 has us worrying about our own problems, we all are closer to it than we may realize. Someone we know has lost their job. Someone we know has lost a loved one. Someone we know has contracted it. Someone we know has died. Many of those who fall into one of these categories of affected individuals (or an unmentioned category) haven’t said anything to us, nor will they. But we will all know someone who is personally affected before this is over. We will all know COVID-19.
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