Something that is often forgotten about COVID-19 is the fact that the "19" in the term refers to the year 2019, as in the year that this particular strand of the virus was first identified. At the time, it had only been identified in China, but most of the scientific community agreed that it was already likely in many other parts of the world. Still, in the United States, we often do not associate the "beginning of COVID" with 2019, but instead with 2020 and March of 2020, to be more specific.
You surely remember the first creeping headlines about this disease that caught your attention. Perhaps it was on March 11th, 2020, when the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Maybe it was on that same day when the NBA postponed the remainder of its season, or it would have been the following day when Disney announced that it would be closing Disney World. Whatever the starting gun for COVID-19 was for you, you remember it.
Fast-forward to the present-day, and we are almost exactly two years on from when many of those events and announcements took place, and yet it feels like we are back where we started.
Many have alluded to the feeling of living through the COVID-19 pandemic as similar to the movie Groundhog Day in which Bill Murray's character is forced to live through the same day time and time again. In a cruel twist of fate, it seems like world events are lining up just perfectly to make that analogy even more apt, but this time with even more devastating twists.
No one could fault you if you hadn't noticed the various developments taking place in China right now as the country attempts to manage an upsurge in reported COVID cases. Yesterday (3/14/22), mainland China reported a total of 5,280 COVID cases, the highest daily total that the country has reported since the pandemic began.
The number of cases that China is ACTUALLY experiencing is very much up for debate, and many are arguing that the 5,280 reported are massively underreported numbers from the historically secretive nation. However, I contend that the accuracy of the total number is far less important than the fact that China is admitting to its highest number of COVID cases since this entire thing got started.
This is all particularly troubling news given that China has held a "Zero COVID" policy for the entire course of this event that causes them to push through very strict measures when even a single case of the virus is detected. Now, with thousands of cases being reported daily, China has moved to a hard lockdown of several cities including:
- Dongguan (population: 10.5 million)
- Langfang (just outside of Beijing 5.5 million)
- Shenzhen (population: 12.5 million)
- Xian (population 13 million)
In addition, other Chinese cities have been placed under partial lockdowns. Therefore, experts expect that additional complications could soon be coming to already damaged supply chains.
The worst part of it all is that while this latest flare-up is believed to be Omicron or an Omicron variant, even that much is not yet clear. If there is an even more dangerous COVID variant on the loose or a brand-new disease entirely, the world is not able to prepare for it at this time due to a lack of transparency out of China.
As we sit in March of 2022, could we be headed towards an even worse sequel of the story that was COVID in March of 2020?
Other news of note on this day:
--At least 2,400 civilians have been killed in Mariupol, Ukraine following ongoing airstrikes and combat in the area. The real death toll is expected to be much higher than that, but local resources are stretched to the limits right now, and it is difficult to get a full accounting at this time.
--A Fox News cameraman died today after taking gunshot fire will assisting in reporting on the conflict in Ukraine
--An editor for Russian state-run television network Channel One burst onto the set of the live newscast on that channel holding a sign and shouting to protest the war in Ukraine. Her sign read "No War", "You are being lied to" and "Russians for peace". She has been arrested.
--The average gasoline price in the United States ticked down slightly for the 3rd day in a row to $4.316 per gallon.