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One year of life during quarantine
This week I read some many inspiring and some tragic recollections of the year of the pandemic. So many changes to our world: how we work, how we educate our children, how we shop, how we eat, and what are the activities that we do. During 2020, I wrote about all these changes and challenges and hope to put that into print in the future. Most news agencies and major publications also did retrospectives about a year after lockdown. Here are a few notes from those I found interesting.
In the year since that ominous announcement, on March 11 of 2020, life in America has changed drastically. The U.S. has seen more than 525,000 deaths from COVID-19 and upwards of 29 million confirmed cases. There have been lockdowns, school closures, an economic collapse. Inequality has gotten worse. Our hospitals have been overwhelmed. It has been a year of pain, disruption, and incredible stress.
“On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization had declared a pandemic. It was the beginning of a trail of death and suffering, the start of a succession of lockdowns across the globe that followed the first, tightly restricted one in China. A year later, more than 118 million cases have been reported around the world, with more than 2.6 million known dead, database. On Thursday, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the United States’ top expert on infectious diseases, cast a somber look back at the past 12 months, “It was exactly one year ago this morning that I said, ‘Things are going to get much worse before they get better,’” he said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “But I did not realize in my mind even anything close to more than a half a million people having died in this country.”
This time last year, sports around the world came to a halt as a handful of elite athletes started to test positive for the virus. In the United States, over 20 million jobs vanished in just one month, the worst toll since the Great Depression. Food pantries have been swamped, schools have been disrupted, young people have grown anxious and depressed. American life expectancy fell by one year in the first half of 2020.Now, a year later, the United States leads the world with total known cases and known deaths: The deaths of more than half a million people in the country have been linked to the virus, and more than 28 million people have been infected. The brunt of the losses has fallen on those groups — Black and Latino people and Native Americans — already deeply disadvantaged in terms of income, health care, safety, education and having enough to eat.
Some good news: Hungary pays big for a Chinese vaccine. U.S. states are expanding vaccine availability and even former U.S. presidents have joined together in ads promoting the vaccine. Biden announced a plan that all adults to receive the vaccine, with the help of the Army to administer them. Dogs and cats were snatched up from shelters; some families were reunited when parents and students unexpectedly spent their days together at home or had the chance to cook a meal together. Artists invented new ways and places to perform; restaurants devised contactless delivery and sold their supplies when flour and yeast disappeared from grocery shelves.
When shutdowns began in the United States back in March, almost immediately there were titters and murmurs of the baby boom that would materialize nine months later. All that free time for cohabitating couples to stay home alone together, surely, would result in overflowing maternity wards come December, the speculation went. At the same time, others wondered whether worries about the devastating effects of the pandemic would cause some couples to put their plans to conceive on hold, leading to a “baby bust” in December and January. A 30% increase has been observed. The National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, doesn’t expect to release the nationwide birthrate data for late 2020 (and settle once and for all the whole “boom or bust” question) for another six months. But what’s clear now is that the first wave of pandemic babies — covid babies, coronials, pandemi-kids, whatever you want to call the micro-generation of children conceived, carried, and born during the covid-19 crisis — is making its way into the world, and their parents have experienced pregnancy in a way that few others in modern history have. Their nine-month journeys toward parenthood have been lonelier and more dystopian but at the same time more private and physically comfortable than those of people who embarked on the same adventure as recently as last year.
As an organization that observes trends and the like, these areas they felt had positive outcomes:
- Research has been advanced by adding a virtual component. We’ve seen other existing virtual tools and practices expand (Zoom, Telehealth, etc.) because the pandemic forced more people to change behaviors and adopt new ones.
- Prioritization and agility in the business world. Take the lead in driving strategic learning prioritization and agility. This often requires difficult decisions and firm stances. It’s hard work that’s worth it.
- Speed Typically, when the weight of a decision increases, we’re able to find time to slow down so we can fully consider and prepare. However, things within the pandemic change rapidly, and consumer/buyer sentiment can change just as fast.
- Relationships and human rights We’re building more meaningful and connected relationships with our co-workers, we’re also able to do the same with our customers/consumers from a research perspective. We get to see their lives from a different angle when we talk over video, while at their home versus at a traditional facility.
- Flexing our Influence Now we’re being called on and relied upon more right now than before. Some insights teams have never had the spotlight on them this bright before. In times of uncertainty, leaders rely on data to inform their decision making. We’re the experts at that. However, this is the moment to shine a light on what we’ve all been working a decade to achieve – turning data into action.
On this note, I will share some of my personal reflections. In March, I was off work for two months. I finally prepared my book draft for “Weaving Life”. One publisher that I had started talking to was to take additional manuscripts. I found another whose pricing was much more than most, I did start working with them and it resulted in a good edit. In my design work we started relying more on our internet-based leads and customer tracking and eventually brought our tools up to speed our online speed and systems as well. I work also in a web development company and sales for online stores and digital marketing saw a good increase. As my business Designertastes, I found an increase in demand for my rug and appraisal expertise. I moved to a different space within my community which is much more conducive to writing.
I accomplished two dreams. One I joined forces with another expert in the rug industry and we created a directory and a trademark: Rugology worldtm. Because of limited social interactions I went to a spiritual service I normally would not go to and met my literary agent. With her assistance, I found a more interactive and reasonable publisher, AuthorHouse and my book “Weaving Life” should be available in about 6 weeks through the publisher as well as Amazon and Border’s online. This only confirmed for me the need to look for the positive lesson during adversity!” The most successful people see adversity not as a stumbling block, but as a stepping stone to greatness.” Shawn Anchor