Heroes of the pandemic

Recognizing the heroes who kept us going

Nov. 17, 2019. A date many would not deem significant in the moment, but on that day, the first case of COVID-19 was discovered. Almost four months later, California and the rest of the U.S. would be under stay-at-home orders. During this time our nation would rely heavily on brave front line workers such as doctors and nurses. 

Ever since the pandemic hit, everyone has had to make changes to their daily lifestyle. Being locked up at home, millions of people facing unemployment and other unprecedented events became the new normal. During these turbulent times, healthcare workers risked their lives and comforted patients when no one else was able to. Many have made personal sacrifices and traveled across the country to help fight COVID-19. 

One of these frontline workers is Avneet Vats, a Rite Aid pharmacy manager. He has about 50-75 or more customers per day at his Rite Aid in the Bakersfield area.

“The most difficult thing to deal with during the pandemic is the amount of prescriptions that we have to deal with. We have less customers during the pandemic because everyone is scared and no one wants to pick up their prescriptions,” Vats said.

The pandemic affected many industries by causing workplaces to make mandatory — but effective — sanitary regulations. The pandemic also affected people’s mindsets regarding sanitation and social distancing as it has become another new “normal.”

“The pandemic made me more cautious of what I was doing and really made me be more aware of my surroundings and when giving injections to the patients we had to be at a safe distance so that we could not contract the virus, and it made me learn more about the places that am in,” Vats said.

Another group of heroes that kept us going were teachers. When schools had to shut down in March 2020 and make the transition to online learning, teachers made the transition as smooth as possible. One of those teachers was Kathy Bowman, freshman-year English teacher and chair of the English department for Oak Park High School, who has since focused on student interaction and personal connection. 

“The biggest challenge is creating personal connection. I feel it’s really important to have that personal connection in the classroom and that’s why I try to do so much discussion,” Bowman said.

When we initially shut down schools and businesses, the world didn’t know much about the COVID-19 virus, but now we have a vaccine and many have hopes of re-opening. Senior David Shiang expressed his understanding of school closures, but now with the vaccine available, he is ready to go back. 

“With the effectiveness of the vaccine and increasing distribution, our school and many others have begun to transition to in person classes,” Shiang wrote to Talon. 

During this quarantine we’ve had a lot of time to reflect. We’ve learned not to take anything for granted as we get to spend time with our loved ones and did our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. We’ve also gotten to learn about heroes during this pandemic.

“Reflection is an action we all need to take part in. These current times have taught us the need for deeper thoughts, and more consideration and deliberation on what we must do in order to keep moving forward and take on more challenges,” Shiang wrote to the Talon.