This day last year I met up with my mountain bike team at the Pint Room to talk about our race year. I had the Leadville 100 to train for and we all had big audacious goals. We met up around beers and to talk about what the year was going to look like. HA! Wow… we sure had it wrong!
Due to lack of inaction around the world, on March 11, 2020, exactly a year ago today, the WHO (World Health Organization) declared a pandemic. A pandemic. A what? Like… it felt like the black plague… and that didn’t happen in modern times! It’s fine. We’ll shut everything down for a couple weeks, we’ll flatten that curve, and then we’ll all be good. Hmmm…. *taps watch face*
I remember very early in 2020, we started hearing about this scary virus coming out of Wuhan, China. It wasn’t the first time we’d heard of scary viruses in other places… but this one was knocking on our door. And it was about to rock our world…
On January 21st, a guy in Washington who had just been in Wuhan, China was the first confirmed case in the United States. And then by February 29th, we had our first confirmed COVID-19 US death.
On March 5, 2020, here in Colorado, we had our first case appear in one of our ski towns. It had breached our gates. Then the next day, the first case appeared in Denver. We started learning words like presumptive positive and social distancing, worrying about a runny nose or shortness of breath, and being fearful of someone being too close to us. And then quickly, on March 10th, our Colorado governor declared a state of emergency in Colorado. Just three days later on March 13th, our first Colorado death.
The picture was already changing, people were wearing masks now for a few weeks. They were fearful. They weren’t going out. Ski resorts were quiet already and restaurants and hotels were already sparse of guests. As of March 16th, my 2nd grade daughter was now going to be homeschooled. And then that same day, the governor declared there would be a 30-day suspension of dine-in services at restaurants and bars and he closed many government offices, movie theaters and casinos.
We started sanitizing everything, we ran out of Clorox wipes and Purell hand sanitizer. We stocked up on toilet paper because now we were all at home and not at work or restaurants, so companies like Charmin and Angel Soft couldn’t keep up with the demand.
For my daughter’s 19th birthday on March 17th, we ordered takeout from Red Lobster and sat on my living room floor in a weird disbelief while we ate. It was going to be short term, just 30 days. We’re flattening the curve. We canceled our Spring Break trip to Washington DC and hoped that maybe we could reschedule in the Summer.
Everything was a whirlwind after that… parks and rec started closing, campgrounds and trails were closed. We reduced workforce in non-essential businesses to 50%, there were stay at home orders, safer at home orders, and suddenly people were rushing to liquor stores, dispensaries and grocery stores to stock up on things they would need while locking themselves in their homes.
Then April 3rd, the governor issued a mask mandate. Whenever you’re in public, wear a cloth mask. The rules were constantly changing. Press releases from the CDC didn’t match what fear based operations were doing. We were arguing about everything from if outside was even safe, to if masks really protected us. Oh, and then it’d change next week.
On April 7th this howling thing started… do you remember that? At 8pm every night step outside and howl in to the night. I think it initially started as a notice of gratitude to our essential workers. I thought it was ridiculous. People would do anything to have a reason to act weird. Looking back, it makes me sad. It’s like cries of people trapped in their homes, seeking out a companion or friend to acknowledge their existence. I didn’t participate, but there was always something eerie about it.
Life has changed dramatically since this time last year. It makes me want to cry. At the same time it gives me an immense amount of pride at the resiliency of the human race. This shit has had a lot of negative… judgement, criticism, anger, and frustration abounds. But we’re pulling through. And there have been positives (save that for another blog). There will be more milestones to recognize… but this is good for now.