Seven Positives on the Pandemic’s One-Year Anniversary

Not everything turned out as bad as we feared

Will Leitch
5 min readMar 11, 2021

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So we have reached the one-year anniversary of March 11, 2020, the unofficial “start” of the pandemic in the United States. There were cases and outbreaks and deaths before March 11, but that day — the day of then-President Trump’s sniffly, error-filled speech, the halting of the NBA season and Tom Hanks’ and Rita Wilson’s positive tests — was when everything changed. That day was when you knew we were going to be in this for a while.

And here we are, one year later, and we have been through so much. There has been so much pain, so much suffering, and it’s going to take most of us the rest of our lives to process it … and that’s not even accounting for the fact that this pandemic is still far from over. It is worth noting, though, that some of our worst fears about where Covid-19 would lead us did not end up materializing. We knew it was going to be bad. It, obviously, was bad. But it could have been so much worse.

On the one year anniversary, we can, and absolutely should, reflect on all we have lost and all the work left to be done. But we can also feel grateful. Here are seven ways we’re better off today that we had any right to believe one year ago.

  1. The virus did not transmit as quickly and readily as we feared. When my family left for a vacation on March 7, 2020, we all knew about Covid-19, but it didn’t feel real, or lurking, just yet. We even made a funny video of my son William cleaning the seats on the plane.

When we flew back home on March 13, there were no jokes. We stared straight forward, said nothing to anyone, touched nothing, tried not to breathe. And we lived in that state of fear for months, leaving packages outside the house for days to “disinfect,” and only eating food we’d prepared ourselves. But it turned out that much of that fear was misplaced. The virus did not end up spreading rapidly on surfaces, and masks proved effective at limiting the virus’ reach. There have been…

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Will Leitch

Author of six books, including “How Lucky” and "The Time Has Come." NYMag/MLB.. Founder, Deadspin. https://williamfleitch.substack.com