9 surprising consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic — so far

By | 2022-05-31T13:28:00-04:00 March 19th, 2020|4 Comments

No matter where we turn these days, coronavirus (COVID-19), is on everyone’s mind. Family members, neighbors, friends and 99% of people on Facebook want to talk to nurses about it.

And for good reason.

The virus is impacting communities big and small nationwide. Globally, the number of cases and fatalities continues to climb. Throughout the disease’s progression across continents, nurses have been at the forefront of care. That is what the public tends to expect from nursing professionals. But many developments have shocked us all.

Here are 9 unexpected twists that COVID-19 has taken — so far:

From unknown to global crisis

On March 11, the WHO designated COVID-19 as a global pandemic, a declaration that has had widespread political and economic ramifications around the world. Three months earlier, no one had ever heard of the disease.

Disease grips Italy

Perhaps the hardest hit nation has been Italy, which has experienced more than 2,100 deaths. One nurse on the front lines in that country equated battling COVID-19 to facing a world war.

Life slows almost to a halt

The virus has closed schools, community centers and suspended the seasons of professional sports leagues. It has caused restaurants and dining areas to close. Because of its rapid ability to spread, COVID-19 has led to a “complete lockdown,” of the San Francisco Bay Area that allows people to only leave their homes for essential needs. From east coast to west coast, our way of life has been drastically changed and social distancing is being touted as a way to save lives.

Sadness in Seattle

The picture of just how bad the virus is can be traced to Life Care Center in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland, Wash. As of March 13, COVID-19 had claimed the lives of 29 residents. Meanwhile, 30 of the remaining 43 residents tested positive, according to The Washington Post, along with 60 staff members.

Drive-through testing

Dozens of drive-through COVID-19 testing sites have popped up from California to New York. Medical experts in South Korea say this quick, free testing method has slowed the number of cases and fatalities, thanks to the ability to test approximately 250,000 residents in less than two months.

A run on respirators

As private citizens rushed to buy N95 respirators to protect themselves, that caused the supply to dwindle for American healthcare workers. That has led to the CDC to loosen guidelines for masks, upsetting many healthcare professionals who eventually will care for COVID-19 patients. While manufacturers try to replenish supplies and the federal government reviews ways to increase production, some local construction sites began offering to donate their N95 respirators to local hospitals.

Hand washing and the rush to sanitize

The simplest of tasks has become a rallying cry across the world: Wash your hands. Nurses around the globe are reminding people from ages 2 to 92 of the importance of hand hygiene, while the public scurries to find hand sanitizers in stock online or at their local grocery stores.

Americans rushing to stock up on essentials for potential quarantines cleared the shelves of food, toilet paper, disinfectants and, most importantly, hand sanitizer. This led to homemade sanitizer recipes and distilleries making their own concoctions.

A race to a vaccine

Scientists worldwide are working to produce a potential vaccine. In Seattle, the first volunteer received an experimental dose during a clinical trial for a vaccine. Health experts maintain that a fully available coronavirus vaccine will take about 12-18 months to be ready.

States enact their own initiatives

As Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker calls in the National Guard to help with anything from meal distribution to school children to possibly establishing drive-up testing sites, California plans to buy two vacant hospitals and prepare them for a possible surge in patients.

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About the Author:

Barry Bottino
Barry Bottino is a freelance writer and editor who has more than 25 years of experience at various newspapers and magazines.


  1. Avatar
    Robert P. Megerle March 24, 2020 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    We are strangled by our politicians who decide not to replace national stockpiles of masks (deliberately) to save money. National news agencies don’t announce actual news (only opinions about the news are actually being broadcast) which leads to citizens making very poor medical decisions about their health and welfare.

    Even nurses with experience that I work with spout opinions that have no evidence to back their comments. It is very frustrating to see people in positions of leadership that the public relies on, telling the public extremely false information (lives are lost to these improper public statements).

  2. Avatar
    ksbs April 5, 2020 at 11:42 pm - Reply

    Although the HMH-wide visitation policy allows all ambulatory care patients to be accompanied by one visitor, RCCA is a center that treats cancer patients whose immune systems are compromised. The HMH-wide visitation policy fails to take this fact into account. The leadership at RCCA should challenge this policy immediately and not allow visitors. If RCCA where to ask what reasonable and prudent health care providers would do in a cancer treatment center such as theirs, the resounding professional opinion would be to exclude visitors at this point. RCCA’s failure to do so is negligent and exposes RCCA to potential liability for poor infection control practices.

  3. Avatar
    Phoebe April 14, 2020 at 5:20 am - Reply

    More and more businesses around the world are atempting to fund and produce a great number of medical facilities such as masks and breathing appliances. We’re are so grateful for their dedication and supports. Thanks for sharing this post!

  4. Avatar
    Sheri April 21, 2020 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    Every time someone finds out I’m a RN they thank me for my service. I don’t want thanks; this is MY job.
    What I want:
    – is enough equipment to care for all who need us
    – no TWEETS giving false information AKA lies
    – a President who puts American lives above profits
    – a President who doesn’t pit States and hospitals against each other to get necessary life saving equipment
    – ALL news broad castors to report real factual news not LIE or exaggerate to get ratings
    – people to listen to the real medical experts not a bunch of businessmen on how to protect themselves and their loved ones.

    When I started nursing I was told that each day I came to work I would be risking my life, be it from an angry patient or visitor OR from a highly contagious and deadly disease.
    No one said I would be risking my life because the leader of my Country cared more for increasing his and his buddies’ wealth than for the people he is supposed to be serving; this isn’t Russia, Saudi Arabia or Syria.

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