Nearly three months into lockdown, 40 million Americans were unemployed. Kids lost out on three months of schooling. Businesses shuttered, many never to open again. Mental health suffered. People lost their homes. Tens of thousands died alone in hospitals, family members were prevented from holding the hands of their loved ones in their final days, and in many cases they weren't allowed to bury them or hold a funeral.
Parents struggled to balance distance learning and work. Teachers worried that their most vulnerable students weren't logging in to class. People couldn't receive medical treatment or attend birthdays and graduations.
But humans are creative, resilient creatures, and it didn't take long before we adjusted to living online. Necessity forced ingenuity. AA meetings, fitness classes, happy hours and business meetings all pivoted to Zoom. We started group chats with family members and college friends to stay connected. Mostly, we shared memes.
We posted pictures of the dog we adopted, or the sourdough we attempted to make, or the projects in our houses we'd been putting off forever that we finally got to finish, just to try to stay optimistic. There were silver linings, too. Much ink was spilled about learning to slow down, finding joy in being home with the family. All that time commuting — was it worth it? Who did we value — and why? Instead of honoring celebrities, athletes and musicians, we applauded nurses, doctors, truck drivers and grocery-store cashiers. We smiled at each other with our eyes as we stood six feet apart in lines. A feeling of solidarity and grit in the face of a common hardship pervaded, for a brief moment.