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Editorial: 2020 was the year of COVID-19

Never before have we found ourselves in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.

When we look back on 2020, there is clearly one thing that dominated the year: COVID-19. Never before have we found ourselves in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.

When we look back at the news at the beginning of 2020 we were already aware of this thing called COVID, but it had not yet occurred to us that it would affect us much here in Canada. We had lived through SARS, but that hadn’t had much impact on most people. For many, their lives hadn’t changed at all. Surely COVID would be the same, right?

It really wasn’t until March that reality hit us in the face with all the subtlety of a wrecking ball. Things were rolling along pretty much as normal until the provincial government announced immediate shutdowns of anything involving large groups as we tried to get ahead of the virus. We remember being shocked when the scheduled Natalie MacMaster concert, going ahead in the afternoon, was cancelled that night, as people were turned away with their tickets at the door.

The shutdowns and cancellations snowballed from there. Suddenly, the Citizen was filling whole editions with events that were called off or postponed (at the time, many hoped to reschedule in a month or two). For things that remained open, there were new COVID-safe protocols to let people know about. At the same time, people began the ridiculous panic buying that emptied store shelves of every last tin of beans, container of hand sanitizer, and, of course, roll of toilet paper. We will never understand why toilet paper became the thing people couldn’t live without thousands of rolls of stocked in the basement.

The summer saw some slight improvement, but it was not the end to the pandemic that many had hoped it would be.

Then the beginning of the new school year came and went. Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day. Christmas. And here we are, weary COVID veterans heading into a new year with a new appreciation of what a global pandemic is.

As 2021 dawns, we’re not out of the woods yet. Even as vaccinations are beginning in Canada, it will still be months before enough shots in the arm will have been given for things to begin to return to normal. We must brace ourselves for the first months of 2021 to continue to require us to be vigilant against the virus with masks, distancing, handwashing and limiting our contacts remaining essential to the survival of us and our loved ones.

Hopefully we can take lessons learned from 2020 and not just get back to normal, but make our comeback even better.

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