At that time last year, when Snohomish County recorded the then first known US coronavirus case, Jon Osterberg was attending a 100th birthday party with hundreds of other people, dining with his wife at Salish Lodge, and watching his grandchildren for a week .
In the end, he felt “so happy,” he said, now that we know that by then the virus had spread silently.
Gregg Browngoetz didn’t feel so happy as he drove through the Caribbean that week and mostly stayed in his room as every day on the ship became more intense: “It was scary when the pandemic broke out.”
Osterberg and Browngoetz are among the readers who shared their thoughts on what they did in this momentous week a year ago and whether they would do something differently if they had known of the illnesses, stalemates and upheavals ahead.
For a reader named Mindi, the answer to the last question is heartbreaking:
“I would have flown to my home state of New Jersey to visit my parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and my grandma. I would have loved to see my grandma one last time before COVID took her life in May 2020. It has been 18 months since I hugged my parents. “
Another reader writes: “I would hug my family longer. I would understand that there is so much more to grieve than the loss of your life. “
Others wish they had put more life into their travels while they could: “More time on the jet ski, more photos of the falls, one or two more visits to the market.” And for a reader whose last normal is this Singing in a crowded karaoke room included, “I would have sung one more Kelly Clarkson song for good measure.”
Still, you’ve found ways to deal with it: “I wish I had chosen socially distant camping sooner,” writes Lesley Jones. “It took me a while to stop feeling paralyzed, but when I got out into nature with a tent it felt a little better.
And then there are masks that several readers said would have worn much earlier if they had known what we know now. A woman wonders if she has had COVID-19 and inadvertently spreads it when she went to the grocery store. Another, who has traveled to New York City, writes: “We brought masks but were afraid to wear them because a woman was approached on the subway about wearing a mask.”
However, the pharmacist Jeanette Wallace reacted quickly. When King County recorded the first US death attributed to the virus and cases surfaced at a long term care facility in Kirkland, Wallace canceled her social plans: “I knew it was already in the community. … nursing homes do not go on excursions to China. “Now she’s on a vaccination team and she calls it” one of the most rewarding jobs. “
For some readers, what they did not know did not hurt them. “I might not have taken this 12-hour train ride from Anchorage to Fairbanks,” writes Gay Armsden. “In the end, however, it was fine and it was fabulous.”