Friday, Sept. 11, marked six months since the World Health Organization officially declared the coronavirus a global pandemic. Since then, it feels as if the world as we know it has been turned upside down and all of our lives have been transformed.
But the pandemic is impacting everyone’s lives differently and in ways we may never understand. The very young will never know the experiences of the very old, a single person in a studio apartment will have no idea what it’s been like for parents of five kids, a young jobseeker entering a shattered economy will never know how it feels to work for 50 years only to still be facing an uncertain financial future — and vice versa.
Even under the most optimistic projections, a vaccine won’t arrive until early in 2021. Six months down. Six months to go.
So with a full year of everyone’s lives consumed by the coronavirus pandemic, who is losing what during this lost year?
To mark six months since the pandemic was officially declared, BuzzFeed News has published The Lost Year series: a collection of six profiles of six people from six age groups across the US to see what toll the coronavirus has taken on their lives.
At 10, Kyle can no longer imagine what he wants to be when he grows up.
At 17, Noel’s college football dreams are up in the air. What else will he lose this senior year?
At 24, Sarah is set to graduate college — but will she have a place in America?
At 35, Carrie was finally feeling secure in her adult life. The coronavirus completely derailed it.
At 63, Marissa is missing her daughter’s wedding dress fitting as she fights for her fellow nurses.
At 82, my grandmother has lost her husband — and the world as she knows it.
Each of their unique stories is intensely personal. They’re from different parts of the country and they’re facing different challenges, different losses.
But their stories are also woven from bigger threads in the country at large — racial, political, geographic, and economic schisms that continue to roil America and threaten to pull it apart at the seams.
You may even recognize in their stories parts of your own. That’s because, together, these stories also paint a picture of 2020 that offers — at least, I think — one bit of comfort: However lonely or empty or scared or anxious you may have felt this year, however sad you’ve been to miss what you had planned for yourself, this has been a shared experience — a collective loss.
We are all going through it. We all can get through it. We will. We must. ●
Photos by Jackie Russo