It’s been 2 years since COVID began: What has happened since?

Two years ago, COVID-19 shut down restaurants, shops, and stores across the globe.  

Everywhere, signs on the doors read, “No mask, no service.” People were scared, grocery stores did not have basic supplies, businesses shut down (some permanently), hospital beds were filled, and loved ones were lost without being able to say goodbye. 

When did the pandemic start in the United States?  

On January 20, 2020, the “CDC confirms the first U.S. laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 in the U.S. from samples taken on January 18 in Washington state,” stated the CDC website,  

The United States’ National Lockdown was declared by President Trump on March 13. People were advised to stay home except in cases of emergencies or to fulfill basic needs. If you went out, masks were required. 

All Rutherford County Schools, including Blackman High School, had an unexpectedly long spring break starting on March 13 and ending in August. Everyone believed we would be back with new cleaning protocols right after spring break, but it kept getting delayed until they decided to simply say that we were not returning to school that year. 

What started out as a few months became a much longer journey than expected, with all of 2020 and much of 2021 seeing new strains and more difficulties than had been imagined, from the sadness of the mounting death toll to the annoyance of constant shipping delays. 

2021 shined a new light on COVID vaccines, making many people feel safer with this new protection. 

Once they were able to see their loved ones again, many people started appreciating seeing them more since this disease took away the ability to see them without feeling fear. The mental and emotional tolls that COVID put onto people were present and real, as it divided the nation in some ways that have still not recovered.  

However, the past two years have encouraged many people to come together and see the problems within our world. 

How exactly did COVID-19 affect students at Blackman?  

Rebecca Price, freshman, was affected negatively by COVID-19. 

“Living through COVID made me feel honestly depressed because quarantine was probably one of the most dreadful and boring things I had to experience,” Price stated. 

Kiyah Shelby, freshman, had some similar feelings during this time. 

“It was horrible for me. I went from going out daily to being trapped in the house. Positively, there was no more bullying,” Shelby said. 

These two freshmen had a really hard time learning virtually – something most students could relate to – while others thrived. 

Aslan Nadeau, sophomore, mentions how COVID-19 took away activities that he enjoyed. 

“It impacted my schooling because it removed any of the possible fun activities,” Nadeau stated. 

Najah Holman was also affected by the lack of activities being offered. 

“I didn’t really get a chance to explore and get into school activities or even get to know people, mostly because I was a distance learner,” Holman said. 

While it took away opportunities for some, COVID-19 also allowed people to explore new interests and hobbies. 

“I learned how to play guitar over quarantine!” Olivia Suggs, junior, stated. 

For some, quarantine gave time to devote to things they could not have in the past. 

“During quarantine, I definitely binged watched TV shows, hung out and did things with friends and family, and just tried to enjoy life,” Ella Grace Patterson, junior, said. 

Ava Skinner, senior, felt as though it was hard to go through this all alone. She values her connections with her friends that COVID-19 took that away. 

“COVID made me feel very isolated and disconnected from all of my friends. It was hard to go through that time when everyone couldn’t socialize like we did before. Although for some it was a time to self-reflect and reevaluate their lives and emotions, for me, it made me realize that I need connection with others more than I thought I did,” Skinner stated. 

Likewise, Du’mikah Dowdy, senior, was feeling as though “shutting down” the connection between his loved ones was best to keep everyone safe. 

“Positively, it helped me stay cleaner and more sanitized than I usually am, and negatively, it has also allowed me to shut down certain things with my friends and family,” Dowdy says. 

COVID-19 has been in our lives for two years today. It isn’t going anywhere and will continue to affect individual lives differently. But we have come a long way in two years, and perhaps in some way, we have become better and more appreciative because of the losses experienced during this pandemic.