BOSTON — Wednesday marks exactly six months from when Governor Charlie Baker ordered the stay at home advisory - and a lot has changed since March 24th.
Let’s start with our vocabulary. Terms like social distancing, PPE, working from home - or as the kids say WFH - are all new. Even being six feet apart is now a regular way of life.
When most of us six months ago may have needed a ruler, now we can all eyeball what six feet looks like. The sad part is we were hoping we could celebrate the six month anniversary in large crowds or without masks on, but even that is still a no-no.
“We’ve been married 45 years,” said Janet & Sal Ledda of Dedham.
That 45th year of marriage is much different from the previous 44.
“I would tell myself from six months ago to pay attention and listen this should be behind us," said Janet. “I never would’ve anticipated this six months later that we would be staying here with masks on.”
At this point, it’s hard to even remember what life was like more than six months ago?
“It’s been really crazy it’s been a struggle for a lot of us,” said Eve from Rochester. “My old self six months ago was a little healthier than I am now. I just struggle with my health and I’m just scared of going back to my workplace right now.”
Chances are that, six months ago, you were out and about, not planning to spend your entire spring and summer either at home or social distancing with a mask on if you had to leave your home.
“Hugging and handshaking, I miss that,” said Janet & Sal. “Hugging is the worst part. I really miss the hugging. Seeing friends and you can’t hug them.”
We all miss the hugging, the close embrace of those we love. Even the high-fives at sporting events have now been replaced with at best a Zoom watch party. But, at least the sports are back. What’s not back are the crowds. The arenas are empty, so are the airports and many streets.
“The traffic is getting a lot more in the last month, but still there’s a lot of places people don’t go,” said Eve. “People would rather stay at home.”
“The last restaurant I went to was in March,” said Dedham resident Kevin Niland.
“I’m thankful that we are here and we’re still surviving but there’s a lot of people who have not made it,” said Eve. “A lot of people who passed.”
But even for those who are surviving the pandemic, it’s still hard to not feel the fatigue.
“In mid-August was our peak in mask wearing where people were wearing masks and seeing the value but what we’ve seen in the last few weeks is a steady decline,” said Maury Blackman, CEO of data science company Premise. “They feel a little safer because they feel COVID is on the decline mid-August’s true or not and then wearing masks is not cool. It’s somewhat a burden and cumbersome and requires discipline.”
But now we sit at 200,000 U.S. deaths, the highest death toll in the world.
“We certainly didn’t think it was COVID-19 be as big as it was,” said Janet & Sal.
If only we knew then what we know now. But the question is, “What decisions will we make now that can help us six months from now?”
We all can’t wait for the day when we can throw away all of our masks, but we also know that we can’t fully get back to the old normal until we’ve fully embraced this new normal.
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