At this time last year, who would have thought we would all be wearing masks to the grocery store throughout the holidays? That there would be a toilet paper shortage, and that thousands of Utahns would lose their lives to an unknown virus named COVID-19?
The global pandemic has affected everyone in Utah, but none more than the elderly and families with children in school.
In Lehi, as of December 29, 2020, the Utah County Department of Health has reported 6,686 cases in our city, and 65,643 throughout Utah County. There have been over 1,200 deaths in Utah, with the elderly and those in long-term care facilities hit the worst. Thankfully, vaccination of health care workers and first responders has begun. Over 20,000 vaccines have now been given throughout the state.
There is no news story in Lehi that comes close to having the general impact that the pandemic has had. It has interrupted nearly every aspect of our lives. It has caused worship services at every church to be canceled, it has postponed weddings, and made gatherings such as funerals and family reunions impossible. It has caused delays or interrupted missionary service. Separation from loved ones has caused depression and loneliness. Those who have lost loved ones have felt sadness and despair, knowing their beloved died alone.
Parents with school-age children have had lives up-ended as they try to juggle caring for children while working from home or conducting meetings with colleagues online. Funny stories have surfaced of moms in Zoom calls with naked toddlers running around the house. It’s tough to be professional when kids sit on our laps while we try to do computer work. The transitions back and forth from home-based online school to physically going to school have tested every parents’ patience and resiliency.
A bright spot in all the disruption caused by the pandemic is the remarkable speed in the development of a vaccine. Several pharmaceutical companies developed COVID-19 vaccines in record time. Scientists at companies such as Pfizer and Moderna put the best and brightest minds on task. The vaccination of front-line health care workers, first responders, the elderly, and veterans living in care facilities has begun in earnest. Everyone who wishes to receive the vaccine should get the shot by the end of March.
Another remarkable benefit of the pandemic has been creating time for each of us to slow down, review our lives, and focus on what we have that is good. It’s caused us to think about what is most important and reevaluate how we spend our time. It’s given us a chance to slow down and be grateful.
Grateful for the ability to get on the phone and talk to a friend. Thankful for a warm home and food to eat. Thankful for the support of friends and neighbors. Thankful for the brilliant scientists who developed the vaccine. Grateful for our faith and family.
Yes, we have all been affected by COVID-19 and are glad to see 2020 go, but let’s take some of the lessons we learned into 2021 and remember every year that hopefully, the pandemic taught us to be just a little more patient a little kinder, and a lot more grateful.