This is an anniversary that comes with no celebration, only sorrow.  We woke up on Thursday, March 12, 2020, to the news that the coronavirus had forced President Trump during an address to the nation to announce a ban on most travel from Europe to the US.  Up to that point, he and others had pretty much downplayed the virus, comparing it to the flu.  Lawmakers in Washington were discussing economic relief for individuals and small businesses and had no idea how severe and long the pandemic would be.  There was even disagreement on whether COVID-19 was an epidemic or pandemic…we of course know the answer.

Kevin Williams
Kevin Williams

The night before the NBA had announced they were pausing the season which some thought was rather extreme.  The Ivy League had already cancelled its postseason basketball tournament and later that day Rutgers was among teams pulled off the court as they were ready to play their first-round conference tournament games.  Fans of “March Madness” were in a panic over the possibility that the NCAA was considering cancelling their marquee event which they would do a short time later.  There was also a local angle to all of this chaos as Manasquan was moments away from boarding a bus for a trip to Toms River and a date with Camden in the most anticipated game of the basketball season.  The game would not be played and the season came to a sudden end.

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It would be great to report that sports were the only thing really impacted by a virus which many insisted was a creation of the media.  COVID-19 has claimed the lives of nearly 530,000 Americans, including more than 26,000 in New Jersey and 1,900 right here in Ocean County.  Not to be overlooked is the financial ramifications that have closed many businesses and resulted in job losses that were unimaginable prior to March of 2020.  People who were doing okay are now dependent of help from food banks and others and many are still dealing with stress, anxiety and depression like never before.

One year ago we questioned if all of this was undeserved panic. My oh my, how we wish it was.

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