On March 10, 2020, I ran my last run starting from someplace other than the end of our driveway.
Yeah, that was six months ago and back then there were legitimate questions of whether I would be here writing this post or not due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I have been identified as one of the at-risk populations due to my age. Luckily, some of the worst of the dire predictions did not come to pass and I am writing this post.
However, the year since that day has not been what I would call good and it has been a tough six months for the Country as a whole.
As far as running goes, most in person races were initially postponed and now mostly cancelled or turned into virtual events. Personally, I have been able to still go outside for a run when I want to and could go other places to run if I chose to.
I made a conscious choice not to and while I would love to start running with my friends, other Central Maine Striders and even go to races, I will not until there is a safe and effective vaccine available – in other words next year.
Due to the Pandemic, my wife and I are taking a very conservative approach to dealing with things or going places. We are mostly staying on our little hill out in the willywags, where there are fewer people and less exposure to everything going on around us. No, we are not burying our heads in the sand, we keep abreast of everything and have our own opinions about what is going on, but have chosen to self-isolate as much as possible.
We shop mostly online, go out about twice a week to get necessary items, mask-up, change out clothes/wash them immediately when we get home, clean-up and when talking to neighbors we tend to stay 6-10 feet away from one another. A lot of around the house projects have been completed and while we are not thrilled by the new normal, we are living through it.
Unfortunately, while it seems we are adapting to the new normal and most of us go about our daily lives the best we can, all while others endure their personal struggle with COVID-19. If it were not for the news coverage, it would almost seem as though the pandemic is not real and not something that concerns us. I know that is not the case and luckily, I do not personally know anyone who has contracted COVID-19 and have not had to deal with it at a personal level. However, there is a part of the population that does not agree with that sentiment and is very vocal about their thoughts on the pandemic.
However, between the low density of population of Maine and the idea the State Government took the pandemic seriously, the infection rates and death toll has been lower than most areas of the Country.
No, not everyone is happy with the pandemic restrictions and while some parts of the State’s response makes you scratch your head and go WTFO, at least we didn’t “just open back up” as a certain cadre of people demanded and other States did to the increased number of infections and resultant deaths. As a result despite Maine having one of the oldest populations in the Country, the number of cases, hospitalizations and yes, deaths have been significantly lower than many other places.
Sadly almost 200,000 people have died throughout the U.S. and the death toll will continue to climb as the infection rate of the pandemic continues to run at higher levels through many sections of the U.S., with no coherent national plan to abate the pandemic. The hodgepodge efforts, mixed messages and lack good leadership against the pandemic has led us to where we are now, with no real end to the pandemic in sight – other than it will magically disappear or we will have a vaccine by Election Day.
Unfortunately, for many the economic toll of the pandemic has been nearly as catastrophic as COVID-19’s affect on individuals. Too many good businesses and jobs are gone and will never return, causing the owners, workers untold amounts of stress from the monetary concerns they rightly have. However, the open it up mentality has not worked either and until the pandemic either just disappears or a safe and effective vaccine is developed, the economic impact and death tolls will continue to climb.
In addition to the pandemic, mix the effects of the wildfires out west, hurricanes, other natural disasters, police brutality protests that start out peaceful, but all too often agitators/criminals have turned several into violent riots with destruction and violence. It makes for more difficulty for those parts of the country that are effected.
Also there is the fact of a very nasty election year where a polarizing President is running for re-election and is willing to say and do almost anything to ensure that that happens. Add in his party is desperately attempting retain their power and with the opposition doing whatever it can to ensure that their agenda is front and center as well.
It has lead to a period at the federal levels where very little to nothing has been accomplished, there has been a vacuum when it comes leadership that could/should unite us together during these dire times and far too many people have suffered as a result of the gridlock and power struggles.
The lack of leadership and mixed messaging on how to deal with the pandemic (along with the coverups/lies that are being exposed), on top of everything else and the political infighting of this election cycle probably has made a terrible situation even worse than it needed to be.
Yes, a lot has changed regarding running and life in general, in the United States since the last day I started a run someplace else other than the end of my driveway – to say the least.
Even so, I am hopeful that life will be better a year from now than it is today. That the pandemic will end, we will have a vaccine that is safe and effective, that the polarization and political divisiveness will be lower than it is now. Those are my hopes and while we will never go back to the way things were on March 10, 2020 or before, we can create a new normal that is better than what we have today.