We have officially marked the one year anniversary of the university’s announcement that Brandeis was transitioning to remote learning and closing the campus, which was revealed on March 11, 2020. Within a few short weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way of life for virtually every individual in the world.
When we published our first-ever editorial about the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer than one hundred thousand individuals had been infected with COVID-19, according to the editorial. As of press time, over 118 million individuals have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.
In an editorial in February 2020, the 2019-2020 editorial board of The Brandeis Hoot asked Brandeis to stand together as one community and have compassion for others during those challenging times. How far we have come since February 2020, not only with the COVID-19 pandemic, but also with a time of reckoning this past summer as the Black Lives Matter movement boomed as well as the tumultuous presidential election. The recent upward trend in anti-Asian hate crimes, as reported by The New York Times, shows us that we still have a ways to go in cultivating empathy in our communities.
Many of our editorials during the past year have focused on the university’s response to COVID-19, expressing both frustration and appreciation for the protocols that have been set forth to ensure our safety. Though these editorials have mostly been a call for the community and the university to do their part and to do more, we want to take the time to remind the Brandeis community that we share a common goal. We all want this pandemic to end. From the greatest scientists to the common folk, we, through just our habits, can all have an impact on limiting the harm this virus causes.
The COVID-19 pandemic has redefined normalcy in our society, and while parts of the United States, and the world, continue the process of adjusting to the “new normal,” it is important that we do not become complacent. Just because it seems like we are over the hump with vaccines being rolled out at a record pace does not mean that we should be loosening or easing restrictions. Easing these restrictions could lead to more unnecessary deaths that could have been avoided.
The coronavirus has shown us that we stand as the human race against a virus. The 2019-2020 editorial board of The Hoot said it perfectly in February 2020, before we even knew the long lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic: stand united, not divided.