photo illustrations by Alissa Martin and Mason Thompson

The unfolding of a global pandemic

Additional reporting done by Abby Bammerlin and Hannah Horsington

To Shaoyang Zhou, Wuhan has always been a beautiful city.

Wuhan is a crowded city of more than 11 million people, and like many major cities, it has its rougher neighborhoods. But Shaoyang’s home is near Wuhan’s East Lake, which is surrounded by universities and the political center of the city, which is itself the political capital of the province.

He was born there and grew up there. He came to the United States at age 16 to finish high school and go to college at Miami University, where he is now a senior economics major.

The last time Shaoyang visited his hometown was last summer. The city is always changing, and every time Shaoyang returns he discovers something new. But he always enjoys taking a walk at night down to the riverside and smoking a cigarette along the fence.

“The world is so beautiful at [that] moment,” he said.

Wuhan is a household name across the world now, but not for the reasons Shaoyang loves it.

By Jan. 6, 2020, 59 people in Wuhan had reported pneumonia-like symptoms with no clear cause and were quarantined together. City officials traced many cases back to Huanan Seafood Market, which was promptly disinfected and shut down. By that point, however, it was too late to stop what had already begun.

Now, for many, Wuhan has become synonymous with sickness, as ground zero of the novel coronavirus pandemic that has swept all over the globe.

The virus works like this.

It is primarily spread from person to person through droplets that are too small for human eyes to see — but they are large enough to contain tiny particles of the virus which then enter your system, said Timothy Wilson, assistant professor of microbiology at Miami and a faculty expert on immunology, infectious diseases and vaccines.

Once someone is infected, they may be asymptomatic for part or all of the duration of the infection, and so may go about their life normally, unaware that they are spreading the virus to people and surfaces around them.

Many of its symptoms are similar to the flu, but it is from a separate family of viruses that humans lack base immunity to. Different strains of the flu crop up each year, killing thousands, but most people’s immune systems have at least some ability to withstand it through vaccines and prior exposure.

Not so with the novel coronavirus. Though there are several other coronavirus strains, this one is fairly unrelated to the others, Wilson said.

What makes this virus dangerous, especially for older and immunocompromised people, is that it goes after the lungs and causes inflammation.

“The more inflammation or swelling you get in your lungs, the less ability your lungs have to actually exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide,” Wilson said. “So your lung function starts to drop off and that’s usually what lands you in the hospital, is when you get enough inflammation in your lungs that your lungs aren’t functioning correctly.”

Initially, the death rate of COVID-19 — another name for the virus — was lower than that of the flu, which usually kills far less than 1% of everyone infected. But as early as March 3, according to the World Health Organization, coronavirus fatality had reached 3.4%.

First Patient with Wuhan Coronavirus is Identified in the U.S.

The New York Times, Jan. 21

The week before Miami’s spring semester started, life in Oxford was business as usual.

Students moved back to Oxford, or prepared to. Professors geared up to dive headfirst into teaching. For many, coronavirus felt far away.

Although Shoayang knew his family and friends were in danger of exposure back in Wuhan, he was not distracted from preparing for what would be his last semester at Miami.

“They are strong people,” he said. “They know how to take care of themselves. They won’t let me worry that much. So in general, I was fine.”

Shaoyang knew that with students returning to school from all over, the spread of the virus to the United States would happen sooner or later. However, he hoped that the rest of the world would learn the lesson that Wuhan was teaching and prepare for it accordingly.

Erin Beckloff, assistant professor of communication design, knew how serious the virus could be.

In early January, her husband took a business trip to Shanghai, China. Though Shanghai is four hours away from Wuhan, where the virus was still at its strongest, he self-isolated for two weeks upon his return. He consciously avoided meeting a friend with a newborn, and both he and Erin, along with a cautious neighbor, began collecting supplies.

Erin and her husband sensed that the virus would, sooner or later, end up everywhere.

Even so, the possibility of immediate danger was one of the last things on Beckloff’s mind. On top of preparing for classes, she was running a hiring search for a new faculty member.

“I just didn’t think through how it was going to affect education,” she said. “I don’t know why. I thought about health care. I thought about business. I thought about other economic implications, but I just didn’t really process the fact that … education was going to be kind of at the forefront.”

Dean of Students Kimberly Moore was wary of the virus from the start. It is her job to care for the overall well-being of the student body as a high-ranking member of the university’s administration. The news of a new virus caught her attention right away.

“With virus or disease or health-related issues that are global, you’re always kind of paying attention a little bit because it can be so personal so fast,” she said.

She began receiving more concerned calls about the growing outbreak, especially regarding study abroad programs. As part of a global Miami community, Moore had to think about students far beyond the Oxford bubble.

Over winter break, Moore began meeting with other members of the administration to go over contingency plans. The university has response plans in place for all sorts of emergencies, including crises of the infectious variety. In these meetings, Miami officials pulled up the pandemic plan. They began reviewing it in the context of the virus’ possible spread to Oxford.

Just in case.

Two suspected cases of the coronavirus in Oxford

The Miami Student, Jan. 28

Moore was ending a conference in New Orleans when she heard the news: two students who had recently returned from traveling in China had reported flu-like symptoms and were being tested for COVID-19. She spent almost the whole last day of the conference on the phone with people in Oxford. From the moment she set foot on campus, she was swept up in meetings as part of Miami’s Crisis Management Team.

The students, whose identities the university kept tightly under wraps, were isolated in their apartment off campus while waiting for their test results. Striving for transparency, officials then announced the situation to the public.

For senior Sabrina Ludwig, it was the first time she had heard about the virus and thought it must not be too serious. In China maybe it was, she thought, but not here.

Leaving class that day, she spoke to a classmate who disagreed.

“There’s two suspected cases here, so I’m going to get some masks from Lowe’s,” the classmate said.

Sabrina was skeptical. It seemed like an overreaction to her. But soon after the announcement, there was a run on masks in stores across Oxford.

Shaoyang decided to take it one step further: that day, he donned a full hazmat suit and set off across campus for class.

Though Shaoyang was not scared about the two potential cases, he wanted to raise awareness about the virus with the suit.

What happened in Wuhan was totally unexpected; he didn’t want the same to be true for Miami. It was entirely possible that the virus had reached Oxford, and he wanted people to be prepared.

“I [decided] to do that because I know college students are cocky,” he said. “They won’t take it as a big deal.”

Also, he thought it would be fun. And it was important to take any chances at fun he could get.

As coronavirus spreads, so does anti-Chinese sentiment

The New York Times, Jan. 30

“People react to fear in lots of different ways,” Moore said. “Some people rise to the occasion, and some people don’t.”

For some, that fear manifested in blame towards students from China for the spread of the disease.

Some thought every Chinese student ought to have been tested before being allowed back in class. Some said they ought to return there, though many of Miami’s Chinese international students had not been back to China since before the outbreak began. On social media, such comments cropped up with more frequency.

Neither of the quarantined students were confirmed to be Chinese. And in the months since, studies have found that the largest U.S. outbreak came from travelers from Europe, not Asia.

Beckloff thought the university should have waited for the test results to return before saying anything about the two students to the public, to avoid this sort of thing. She heard from some of her students that international students in dorms were facing trouble from the fallout.

Sabrina noticed xenophobic and insensitive comments both online and from people around her. One thing she heard a lot: “Some guy wanted to eat a bat, and now, he fucked us all over.”

Though there is a rumor that patient zero contracted the virus from eating bat soup, this has never been confirmed — and neither has the identity of patient zero.

“[I saw] people avoiding Chinese students,” Sabrina said. “Like, weird glances, I saw… stuff like that.”

Shaoyang, however, didn’t experience anything like this, nor did he hear about it happening to anyone he knew. Conversely, he noticed people being nicer to him, as if to make up for the hurtful actions of others.

“I think it’s because domestic people heard [of] those discrimination cases as well, and they know what is right and what is wrong,” he said. “Well, I mean, the cases [are] bad, but I also know there are good people and bad people everywhere.”

One thing that didn’t sit well with Shaoyang, though, was when people continued to call it the “Chinese virus.” He heard this even after the World Health Organization (WHO) named this particular coronavirus strain COVID-19, which avoided association with any geographic location, animal or group of people.

Moore knew about the comments going around on social media, but didn’t receive much in the way of reports through the university’s bias reporting system. Though she saw the worst in people through posts and comments online, she was also heartened to see the best of the community come forward.

Miami’s Associated Student Government wrote a letter encouraging the Miami community to be compassionate. Other student leaders wrote letters and cards that Moore took to the two students in quarantine.

“I saw and felt and witnessed a tremendous amount of community support and well wishes for those students,” Moore said.


Journalists from all over the state awaited with bated breath as Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton took the podium at Miami’s latest press conference, fingers poised to post updates as soon as the words left her mouth:

“I’m very pleased to share that the results are negative for both students.”

The news was a relief for people all over the community, but Moore couldn’t let her guard down. Though those two particular students were safe, the university still had to prepare for the situation to worsen everywhere.

“… This was just another thing that I was ready to respond to and move through,” Moore said.

Students and professors continued on as usual, but the scare was a wake-up call for Beckloff.

“I think seeing how seriously it was handled might have been the first time that I realized it was going to be worse than I expected,” she said. “I think that’s when the reality of it kind of hit me that this is coming. This is just the very, very beginning.”

But not everyone Beckloff knew felt that way. For some, the confirmation that the students didn’t have the virus meant life could resume as usual.

“I think a lot of people just let it go at that point,” Beckloff said. “And we all went on for a month.”

Miami restricts study abroad programs due to novel coronavirus

The Miami Student, March 3

Senior Leeann Tran’s parents didn’t want her to go to South Korea. A third party ran her study abroad program and started classes later than most Miami students, in mid-February. By then, the virus began to ramp up in China.

Deep down, Leeann felt that everyone wasn’t taking the outbreak seriously enough, but she wasn’t going to give up her study abroad experience that easily. She insisted that everything would be fine, that they would just keep monitoring everything closely, and boarded her flight to South Korea.

And for the first week, everything was fine. People filled the streets, businesses stayed open, and Leeann enjoyed the country with new and old friends.

By the end of that week, other programs began to cancel, and students started to leave. Every day, Leeann and other students would get notifications on their Korean phones of new cases cropping up in various parts of the country.

Leeann could read the writing on the wall, but she was determined to do as much as possible with the time she had left.

“It was us trying to cram in as many experiences as we could,” she said. “Because I was like, if this is my last week, I want to make an itinerary, and I want to visit all these places I want to go to.”

She visited the National Palace, popular shopping and cultural districts, traditional villages and other famous South Korean sights. But even along the tourist trail, the popular districts were sparsely populated.

One night, while out to eat with some friends, Leeann received a message in the program’s group chat: the United States had just raised its travel advisory for South Korea to Level 3, which meant avoiding all non-essential travel there.

Right then, some of her friends pulled out their phones and began booking flights home. In the next few days, students scrambled to book new flights, to pack, to say goodbye to the friends they’d only spent a couple weeks with. Soon after the travel advisory was raised, Miami strongly recommended that all students in South Korea and Italy, which was also at a Level 3, return to the States.

So Leeann did, even as she felt that the United States would be in over its head soon.

“Watching things from Korea I was like, no one is handling this correctly,” she said. “I was hearing things about people back home, like no one was wearing a mask and people were starting to panic buy stuff, and I was like, ‘Yeah, things aren’t gonna go well in the U.S.’”

More than 5,000 miles away in the tiny European country of Luxembourg, junior Kayla Jones awoke in the small hours of the morning on March 11 to a knock on her door. It was her housemate, one of three other Miami students who lived together with their host family.

“Do you know what time it is?” Kayla said, bleary and irritated from sleep.

The time didn’t matter to her housemate. 

“We’re going home,” she said.

President Trump had just announced a travel ban on most foreign nationals from Europe to the United States. It was not initially clear whether there would be exemptions for permanent residents, so Kayla and many other Americans traveling in Europe believed they had just two days to return or they would be stuck there until the restriction lifted.

Hours later, Miami announced that the university had canceled its current and upcoming study abroad programs that were not done through third parties.

Kayla and her housemates scrambled to re-pack a semester’s worth of belongings in a few hours. Some visited the chateau where professors held classes for one final time.

The students at Miami’s Luxembourg campus signed a shirt that would join dozens of others pinned to the walls of a local bar affectionately nicknamed “Das Boot.” It read: “CORONA WITH LIME PLEASE.”

With only the spotty signal of her Luxembourgish phone to aid her, Kayla embarked on a chaotic journey via public transportation to the airport after finding out that taxis couldn’t come to her host family’s home. She’d only been in the country for a few weeks, so she was still relatively unfamiliar with the bus and train systems, and was only able to find her way with the help of a kind stranger.

Flights were selling out quick, with prices reaching thousands of dollars; Americans weren’t the only ones trying to get home. With how things were escalating, plenty of people abroad had reconsidered their travels. On one bus, Kayla met a man from Ireland who was also trying to return to his home country.

As Kayla tried to find her way to the airport, her dad was thousands of miles away trying to book her a flight. Somehow, he managed to find one, and sent her the flight details as she finally arrived at the airport: she would go from Luxembourg to Amsterdam to Paris to Cincinnati.

“I didn’t sleep for like, three days,” she said.

Three Ohioans test positive for coronavirus

The Columbus Dispatch, March 9

Moore was not caught off guard when she heard that the virus had officially reached Ohio. She knew it was only a matter of time. But she felt prepared.

“When the case had popped up in the Cleveland area, you know, I don’t think that changed what we were doing,” she said. “We were always getting guidance from Butler County Health and Ohio Department of Health. We were well-connected there because of the instance that happened in February. And so when the state had their first cases, it was not a surprise.”

Sabrina, on the other hand, was just starting to realize how severe the situation was.

“The first time I really thought like, ‘Oh, this shit’s getting real,’ was when they postponed ‘No Time to Die,’ the James Bond movie,” she said.

Her parents had planned to spend spring break in California; Sabrina started trying to convince them not to.

The day before, the university told professors to start thinking about how to move their classes online by the end of the week.

Beckloff was teaching two classes this semester, both studios. When she came into her letterpress class the next day, she spoke with her students about the news of the cases in Cuyahoga County and tried to alleviate their anxiety. She joked about how they could do letterpress from home if they had to: by using potatoes as woodcuts and condiments as ink.

“So much of it’s so surreal — like we’re continuing to try to do our jobs to the best of our ability, we’re trying to do the very best for our students, but then we ourselves aren’t kind of functioning in our full capacity,” Beckloff said. “Because everyone feels that fear and grief and the ups and downs of it.”

For Shaoyang, the only surprise was that it hadn’t happened sooner. At the same time, he was beginning to worry about his loved ones in China.

Shaoyang learned that a close friend of his in Wuhan was infected. The hospitals were full, so he had to isolate and take care of himself. Another friend he knew from Britain had caught it as well.

The news hit him hard. For Shaoyang, it has always been much easier to care for a select few people than about the world as a whole. To be so far away and to be helpless was painful.

“I could do nothing,” he said. “That makes [it] very, very hard.”

***

On March 10, it was official: Classes would move online until April 13.

Some people went home straight away, and some celebrated; though it was a Tuesday, parties broke out in the middle of the day on the front lawns of houses across the Mile Square. Clearly, the severity of the situation hadn’t sunk in yet for some.

On campus, members of the faculty gathered to ask questions and to hear what university officials had to say. Not even two days had passed since faculty had been told to start planning to move online. For Beckloff, who works in the small College of Creative Arts, it was the highest amount of faculty members she had ever seen in one place.

“I think people were shocked,” she said. “And it was pretty hard to process in the moment.”

The atmosphere, she thought, was almost surreal. People asked about everything from online classes to intramural sports to horseback riding.

Sabrina was in a lab class when she got the email with the announcement. For the rest of the period, she had to take breaks to go to the bathroom and cry.

“I wasn’t really crying about a specific thing,” she said. “It’s just like, all the information was very overwhelming to me.”

Just days later, Miami went one step further: Classes would stay online for the rest of the semester, and almost all students living in the dorms would have to leave by the end of the month.

The administration had to move faster than anticipated, but based on the recommendations of the Ohio Department of Health, Moore and other officials knew it was necessary.

“This stuff is not easy,” Moore said. “It’s not easy, and it’s heightened. You have to make big decisions, sometimes quickly, more quickly than you probably would want. It’s not easy, but, you know, Miami has some really wonderful people here and it’s always easier to make difficult decisions and work through difficult things with good people.”

Though it may have been necessary, it took a steep toll on the campus community. The goodbyes that would have been said in May had to be abruptly done in March. Organizations’ events planned for months suddenly had to be called off across campus.

For many seniors, there was no closure on what was effectively the end of their college experience.

It took a long time for Sabrina to pack her things. She procrastinated as much as she could, partly because she hated packing, and partly because she just didn’t want to leave.

At 7:45 p.m., she and a group of about 15 friends gathered at the university seal in the center of campus. As the sun went down, they stood around the seal and screamed in a moment of pure catharsis. Afterwards, they went Uptown for ice cream at Graeter’s before parting ways.

Sabrina left campus as a student for the last time.

Beckloff, too, struggled to come to terms with it all.

“I’m in my office, thinking about all this and thinking about feeling detached from this thing that matters to me so much,” she said. “Teaching and being with my students is the best part of my job. And to think that I’m not allowed to do that. That was the thing that really got me.”

Beckloff met a student in Armstrong for dinner that Thursday. The student center was so empty, it felt surreal. As they talked, it was a moment of normalcy. But as she headed home, Beckloff couldn’t stop thinking about the small things lost: no more meeting with students, no more in-studio classes, no capstone presentations, no commencement for the seniors she knew.

She knew people were dying and suffering all over the world, but it was these small losses that hit her the hardest.

It was almost an hour-long drive between Miami and her house. She cried nearly the whole way there.

All over the country, restaurants and bars closed their dining rooms and dance floors. March Madness was canceled, as well as most other professional and college sports — if anyone still played, it was to empty stands.

Broadway stages kept their curtains closed. Blockbuster movies set to premiere in the coming months were postponed, even juggernauts like Marvel’s “Black Widow.”

Both Disneyland and Disney World closed their gates. Students all over the country canceled spring break trips.

In Oxford, a friend of Sabrina’s who worked at Bar 1868 found himself out of a job — and he was far from the only one. Income became an uncertainty for many, even with the promise of two weeks’ unemployment pay.

When Gov. Mike DeWine announced the stay-at-home order on March 22, the world of Ohioans shrank even further.

Classes from quarantine proved to be a challenge on both ends.

Beckloff was faced with the question of how to teach a studio class, which usually needed specialized equipment, from afar. She wasn’t the only one wondering this. As part of a well-connected community of designers and letterpress educators and printmakers, she knew plenty of people who could help. She started a Google Drive and invited more than 30 of those people to join.

“I don’t know how we’re going to teach this,” she said. “But let’s all figure it out together.”

Beckloff knew that lots of her students took her class because they wanted something you couldn’t get online: the act of creation, of physically making something with your hands. Even separated from the studio and the equipment, she wanted them to still have that. So, over spring break, she assembled packages of paper, craft supplies, brushes, X-Acto knives, stamps and more. The meditative process of assembling the kits helped her cope and process.

“I went through my own studio,” she said. “I’m glad that I held on to a bunch of stuff that I didn’t know why I was using it. It’s like I needed it for this occasion.”

Knowing that letterpress printer friends of hers were hurting for business, she also commissioned materials from them. With all of it sanitized, she taped up the 12’’x12’’x6’’ boxes and sent them off to her students.

“[I wanted to] give them this, like, physical reminder that we’re all connected,” she said. “I just want to introduce them to these experiences that they would have had if I was bringing in visiting designers to engage with them in person. So if they can’t have that experience, how can I introduce them to the printing community through these distance methods?”

Not every class adapted so smoothly to being online. The lack of structure and upending of routine set many students back.

For Kayla and Leeann, there was the added challenge of transitioning classes that they had begun in a different country.

Shaoyang at first thought moving online would be good, before many of his discussion-based classes became writing-based. It multiplied his workload.

To help offset the challenges that online learning posed, on March 25 the university extended deadlines to withdraw from undergraduate classes and to elect for a credit/no credit grading option to April 17.

Extroverts (and introverts, too) face quarantine challenges

Associated Press, March 30

Quarantine.

It’s a state of living that, until now, most people have never known.

No going out to eat, no meeting friends for drinks. No parties, no family gatherings. No seeing a movie in theaters, no shopping at malls, no casual interactions with friends on the sidewalk.

No end in sight.

For Beckloff, a self-proclaimed extrovert, the transition has been tough. Within the walls of her home, it’s only her, her husband and their best friend — they invited him to stay with them for the duration of quarantine, since he lives alone.

Beckloff tries to keep busy. While working from home, each member of the household stays occupied with their own hobbies. Beckloff decided to take up gardening, something she had never really done before, since she never considered herself to be good with plants. But in some strange way, planting seeds gives her hope.

“It’s like, time is still moving because these plants are growing,” she said.

Sometimes she stretches. Sometimes she meditates. Sometimes it’s necessary to physically calm her body down.

“I do have days where I just feel like I’m gonna burst into tears at any moment,” she said. “And nothing in particular happens. It’s just, the whole thing is overwhelming and it all hits you, you know?”

For Shaoyang, quarantine has had its pros and cons. His outdoor activity is restricted and his workout routine is destroyed. Once he can do so, he intends to return to China after graduating, so he is sad that his last semester in college and his last few months in America will be spent confined to his apartment.

But in some ways he is happier. He has more time to catch up virtually with his family and friends, and has connected with his two roommates more. Though all three of them have always liked to play video games, they never really played with each other before. Now, it is one of their most common pastimes.

“I am having a very positive attitude towards the future,” he said. “I believe everything will end soon. Also, I am prepared for the worst outcome.”

Since her return from South Korea, Leeann has made quarantine more bearable by staying in touch with friends she made in the program. Though they only met in person for a short time, they had gotten to know each other virtually beforehand and stayed in contact afterward, too.

“I never expected to get so close to those people so quickly,” she said.

They often FaceTime or watch Netflix together virtually. This kept her sane when Leeann first returned, when she self-quarantined for two weeks in an Airbnb to ensure she infect her family in case she was a carrier.

For Moore, work never stops. There are calls to answer, questions to field and problems to address even while working from home. She misses the face-to-face connections she used to have. She doesn’t sleep much.

But in these dark times, she is proud to see how her fellow leaders in the community have devoted so much to working through challenges with compassion.

“They really are trying to do the right thing,” she said.

Global Coronavirus Cases Top One Million, As Economic Toll Mounts

The Wall Street Journal, April 2

There’s an old English saying that is purported to be a translation of an even older Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.”

In these times, it is easy to understand why such a wish is a curse.

The sidewalks on campus are quiet. Classrooms sit darkened and empty. Offices are vacated, doors are locked, dorms are hollowed-out shells. Pulley Tower rings blithely on, playing cheery tunes few people hear.

Uptown restaurants’ dining areas are closed. No music spills from Brick Street or The Woods, night or day. Delivery drivers duck in and out of various establishments, keeping business alive while trying to chase their own paychecks.

In the surrounding neighborhoods, people out for walks or runs skirt each other cautiously. Others keep to their decks and porches, watching passersby with varying degrees of wariness.

It’s a suspension of normal life, a breath taken in and held.

Already, the financial impact on businesses that usually rely on students is tangible. Many restaurants have cut back drastically on staff and hours. Sushi Nara has closed.

Miami has taken drastic action as well.

“I’m definitely worried about the financial toll that this is going to take on our university,” Moore said. “In our economy, and our local economy and our national economy and global economy, there’s some major domino effects to this that we aren’t even quite sure about yet. And we’re all going to need to brace ourselves and adapt accordingly.”

Miami refunded tens of millions of dollars to students living in dorms and using meal swipes. Departments in each college were advised to tighten their belts. Half of all visiting assistant professor jobs in each department are on the chopping block, and tenure and tenure-track professors as a whole must take on greater course loads in the fall.

Nationwide, unemployment rises. College seniors fear for their job prospects.

Around the world, people wonder: when will all of this end? And what will come after?

China Ends Wuhan Lockdown, But Normal Life Is A Distant Dream

The New York Times, April 7

At home, Shaoyang’s family and friends are starting to regain some freedom; slowly but surely, China is beginning to emerge on the other side of the curve. His infected friend in Wuhan is recovering. So is the one in Britain. Now, his family worries more about him; the United States has more confirmed cases than any other country in the world.

Ohio has extended its stay-at-home order to May 1, which will be reassessed if needed. But Wilson predicts that all this is far from over. The need to shelter in place might end soon, but social distancing guidelines will remain in place far longer, in order to buy time until a vaccine is produced or an effective drug treatment can be found.

“There are going to be disruptions,” he said. “There are going to be various levels of social distancing taking place, essentially until a vaccine can be produced.”

Wilson estimated that could take anywhere from 10 months at, on the very shortest end, to two years.

The rate of new cases is slowing, but health experts warn this is not a time to become complacent. If people did return to their lives as they were pre-virus, ignoring distancing guidelines, the number of new cases would only begin to accelerate again.

But restlessness is growing. Across the country, people gather to protest the continued closure of businesses and stay-at-home orders. On April 20, hundreds of protestors flouted distancing guidelines to gather around the Ohio Statehouse and demand that Gov. DeWine reopen the state. Similar protests have occurred in over a dozen states from coast to coast.

Despite what they, and many others, long for, a return to normal is far away. Like it or not, some degree of disruption will be the new normal for some time.

“Keep going and be patient and adaptable,” Wilson said. “This is going to be with us for at least a year, and so we’re all going to have to be as adaptable in the situation as we can be, and keep moving forward.”