12 months into the pandemic, 'One year in' series seeks readers' perspectives | February 26, 2021 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - February 26, 2021

12 months into the pandemic, 'One year in' series seeks readers' perspectives

Weekly to publish reflections from local residents on how coronavirus has changed them and their lives

by Palo Alto Weekly staff

It's been nearly a year since Bay Area public health leaders enacted the nation's first stay-at-home order, the opening salvo in our prolonged battle against the new coronavirus. To mark the anniversary, the Palo Alto Weekly is preparing to publish a two-part series, "One year in," that captures how the pandemic and the shutdown have affected local residents and their perspectives on life.

And as part of this reporting project, we'd like to hear from you, our readers. What's your takeaway from this unprecedented year of isolation? What will the legacy of the pandemic be in how you live your life?

The health and economic crises have impacted different groups of people in divergent ways: Front-line hospital workers are increasingly exhausted, and some are angry, at the never-ending influx of patients; those who have been unemployed are facing mounting debt and fearing the day that back rent will be due; others have volunteered to help others and, through doing so, experienced the world in new and different ways.

The Weekly's "One year in" will publish in two parts starting next Friday. Our journalists are busy interviewing and photographing people from different walks of life, but we'd also like to include your contributions in this series. So what's your story been during the pandemic? How are you different today than you were one year ago?

We welcome your thoughts, whether brief or lengthy. Send us your perspective by emailing [email protected] or by leaving us a three-minute voicemail message at 650-223-6514 by Wednesday, March 10. You'll need to leave your full name and a way for us to contact you.

To read the reflections now of one local resident, see this week's guest opinion column on page 16, written by former Palo Alto Unified School District educator Rachel Kellerman, who became a contact tracer last year.


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2021 at 7:47 am

Bystander is a registered user.

For many, working from home is the biggest change and it is getting old.

In our home we fortunately have enough space that working in one room away from the rest of the family is possible. I am not sure how well we would be surviving if we were in smaller space where computers/zooms/eating/tv watching/exercising were all done in the same room by several family members at the same time.

3 weeks to flatten the curve was a doable prospect, but if we had known that it would be 12 months of living on top of each other with very little personal time in personal space it would have been a dreadful prospect.

Until we are allowed to return to our workplaces where we can have connections with our coworkers and a commute in which we can mentally transition from work time to home time, it will continue to feel like lockdown. We never really understood how important that commute is for mentally ending the work day even on the days we chose to work late. Without a mental transition the work day feels as if it never ends.

Posted by Hinrich
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 1, 2021 at 6:21 pm

Hinrich is a registered user.

The Center for Disease Control surprised me. They didn't seem to have a plan. If a terrible plague struck, if a disease got out of control, are there enough hospital beds, enough supplies - like PPE, how would testing be organized, how do we target care and identify most vulnerable populations, etc.? It seems that most of this happened on-the-fly. There were desperate calls for testing. People demanding millions of testing kits for all Americans. Testing sample populations to determine spread is useful but not wholesale populations especially when the turn around time in the lab was over a week and those who were tested could get infected on the way out the door. The whole thing became a numbers game with everyone watching the latest count. The latest count was not very useful. The only counts that were useful is how many people were showing up for critical care - people who had normal symptoms or no symptoms didn't need to be counted. Fauci always had numbers but surprisingly, for me, not much of a detailed plan of execution. It surprised me that the health departments ran the show. Input yes but they should only be a part of the broader policy and that policy should have never - never - have become shutdowns. Shutdowns of the economy was just crazy and we will regret it in many ways for years to come. As a whole, I was surprised and saddened by how unprepared our leaders were - not all by any means but too many. I was surprised how the Constitution was ignored - no excuse for that. I was surprised at the strength and responsibility of most Americans.

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 1, 2021 at 6:53 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

Fauci wasn’t the person in charge of making a plan. The response was up to Trump. Unfortunately we had possibly our historically worst President in charge during what had the potential to be, and did in fact turn out to be, a historically worst time. Trump was even left a “Pandemic Playbook” by the Obama administration that even featured a section on how to handle a novel coronavirus and he ignored it. I guess it was too hard for him. Although you can’t blame Trump for causing the virus initially, you can blame him for his complete mishandling of the response to it and blame him for causing all of this fall out and misery. I can even just casually mention his downplaying of the severity of Covid itself and his anti-mask stance. He also spent the last 3 months of his Presidency lying about election fraud when he wasn’t on the golf course and didn’t prepare vaccine distribution which put our country back another 3 months as far as getting shots into people’s arms. I saw today we currently have 10% of the US population fully vaccinated and another 20% have received at least one dose. It’s not out of the question to say we could have been close to normalcy right now and maybe not as worried about the new variants that are currently spreading if Trump actually worked. Finally, to your comment about the CDC not having PPE prepared, that was also up to the Trump administration to replenish. He spent over 3 years doing nothing about it and then also tried to comically blame Obama for the shortage. What’s even sadder is some people are still so programmed by him, they are pining away for him to run again in 2024. He appeals to people with low intelligence and it’s just very sad.Fortunately, Biden is currently getting us out of this hole but it’s just not going to happen in one day. Hope that explains it all to you Hinrich....
Web Link

Posted by Martha Dogood
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 1, 2021 at 7:00 pm

Martha Dogood is a registered user.

Lockdown policies were horrible, unconstitutional, and very counterproductive. States like Florida got it right: be careful, have reasonable safeguards, wear masks, keep 6ft+ distance, protect the vulnerable, but figure it out and get back to life and work.

My family who live in Florida have had a much better situation there than we have here. California’s imbecilic approach was terrible for millions of small business owners and all the many millions of children. We will suffer the consequences for years, some business owners will never recover. This State government destroyed many lives. They made the “cure” worse than the disease. Inexcusable!

My great uncle died very young in the Spanish flu pandemic, after returning from fighting in WWI. That pandemic was far deadlier, with much fewer treatment options and inferior healthcare technology, yet they never even considered shutdowns close to what we did. Even then they used churches as hospitals, they never closed churches! This was an unforgivable attack on our constitutional rights.

CDC revealed themselves as overly bureaucratic and ill prepared, while the WHO has been revealed to be a tool for the Chinese Communist Party and a highly political and untrustworthy organization.

Finally, it was unconscionable and actually criminal action that the democrat party fully weaponized and leveraged the virus crisis as a political weapon. From day one they viciously attacked everything President Trump’s team did, hardly a party sincerely interested in unity.

Back in 1918 we acted as REAL Americans: we pulled together, figured it out and got through it. We ended up stronger and improved as a nation through the experience. In 2020, the pandemic exposed how terribly divided we are, how intolerant we’ve become, how we’ve lost our understanding of Americanism - what it means to be American. Hopefully, before it’s all over, before it’s too late, we’ll rediscover what being American means again.

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 1, 2021 at 7:42 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

@Martha- “Finally, it was unconscionable and actually criminal action that the democrat party fully weaponized and leveraged the virus crisis as a political weapon.”
First of all, technically speaking, even if Democrats did “weaponize the virus” against Trump as you proposed, that is not a “criminal” action as no laws were actually broken.
Secondly, Trump brought it all on himself. He floated along for 3 years and when he had to “lead us” he completely failed.
Thirdly, if a sitting Democratic President completely mishandled a pandemic the way Trump did, Republicans would have done the same thing. It’s called “politics.”
[Portion removed.]

Posted by Jud Taylor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2021 at 6:41 am

Jud Taylor is a registered user.

[Post removed; off topic.]

Posted by Rod Stephens
a resident of another community
on Mar 4, 2021 at 8:00 am

Rod Stephens is a registered user.

The various business shut-downs over the past year have created many inconveniences for some.

Restrictions on dining out, going to theaters or ballgames, working out at the gym, getting a regular hairstyling or cut have all taken their toll and it will be terrific to see everyday life return to normal regardless of the coronavirus.

While we have a moral and ethical responsibility not to infect others, we do not have any responsibilities to ourselves if we happen to get sick or infected.

Things happen and it is an individual choice whether to take chances on one's own.

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 4, 2021 at 8:08 am

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2021 at 8:46 am

Bystander is a registered user.

I think the hardest thing is how anti-social we have become. Walking down the street and people cross the street to avoid each other. Passing a neighbor or acquaintance but we don't notice because nobody has an individual identity behind a mask while wearing sunglasses etc. No eye contact because we are too far apart to do so. People seem so ready to condemn another because of fear. I look forward to seeing people's smiles again, having firm handshakes with eye contact, being able to chat to a friend in a store or over a coffee without fear.

Posted by Phoebe Tarkington
a resident of another community
on Mar 4, 2021 at 9:10 am

Phoebe Tarkington is a registered user.

NOTHING will ever return to the way it once was.

The virus is actively mutating and there will be newer outbreaks following every attempt to re-establish everyday life.

Face masks and safe distancing measures are here forever and we will never see a salad bar again in our lifetimes.

Schools will have to initiate periodic closures and large public gatherings like sporting events and arena concerts will be permanently limited to 25% capacities with cardboard cut-outs to simulate crowds.

Movie theaters will periodically be forced to close and eventually go out of business as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon become the prime players in the movie industry.

Various airlines and hotels will merge or shut down and large conventions of any kind prohibited. Tourism and travel as pastimes are finished.

The primary businesses surviving the recurring pandemic will be grocery stores and pharmacy chains, ZOOM, Amazon/FedEx/UPS, Costco and mortuary homes.

Churches will be further reduced to minimum capacities and religious freedom eventually curtailed on behalf of increasing public health concerns and mandates.

[Portion removed.]

Posted by Shaquon Davis
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 4, 2021 at 11:09 am

Shaquon Davis is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 4, 2021 at 11:44 am

Online Name is a registered user.

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]

Posted by John
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 4, 2021 at 2:45 pm

John is a registered user.

As a frontline worker who has been interacting with people on a daily basis since the beginning, its been an amazing experience. [Portion removed.] I've watched businesses being destroyed, school kids suffering mental health breakdowns and the cure essentially being 10x worse than the disease. Heck, I caught COVID 19 in Feb of 2020. It was 2 days of irritation. Now I marvel at how eager people are to inform on their neighbor's perceived transgressions and do ANYTHING they are told under a guise of "safety." [Portion removed.]

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