Mar 8, 2021 - News

Des Moines residents reflect on one year in a pandemic

Illustration of a calendar with March 8, 2020, circled with the shape of coronavirus.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

March 8, 2020 is when Iowa health officials confirmed the first coronavirus cases in the state.

For many of us, the year that followed was unfathomable.

  • We’ve lost family and friends to the disease, been shut inside with limited contact with those we love and have been forced to adopt seismic changes to even routine and basic tasks like grocery shopping and dining.

There are bright spots.

  • We’re all aware of individual and inspiring acts of compassion. And we’ve sometimes found pieces of our lives improved — our commutes are shorter while our appreciation and use of our fine park systems is up.

Our thought bubble: We criticize 2020 as being awful. In many ways, it was. But it shouldn’t be forgotten. Let’s reflect:

We asked you: What were you thinking this time last year?

  • "I knew deep in my heart that the state of Iowa was completely unprepared for what lay ahead … To be honest, I don’t think anyone was prepared, not just Iowans." Debby Baker, rural Cedar County.
  • "How and when do I safely undertake the road trip to Boston to bring my daughter back from college." — Tej Dhawan, Grimes.
  • "I was thinking, 'It's heeeeeee-rrrrrrrreeeee' (in the voice of Carol Anne from Poltergeist)." — Lydia Fine, of North Liberty.
Mallory Utebay and her daughter
Mallory Utebay and her daughter. Photo courtesy of Mallory Utebay
  • "I’m pregnant — surely this will pass before I’m due in May and certainly before my maternity leave is done in July." — Mallory Utebay, who is working from home in Des Moines with her now 10-month-old daughter.
  • "I’ve been preparing for isolation my whole life." — Amy Miner, Johnston.
  • "Hmm, this sounds exactly like what I had after visiting New York City right before Thanksgiving." — Susan Judkins, Clive.
  • "How many bags of dog food can I order and fit into my apartment so my dog Lyla doesn’t go hungry?" — Tyler Coe, Des Moines.
Tyler Coe and his dog Lyla
Tyler Coe and his dog Lyla. Photo courtesy of Tyler Coe.

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