Here’s “Just the Facts,” a series where we scour Greatist’s archives for the most vital need-to-know nuggets on any given subject. It’s the no-noise info you gotta have, the way you gotta have it.
Just like the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air — but with notably fewer comedic moments — our lives got flipped-turned upside down by the last 12 months of the pandemic. Yet, despite the stresses and strains of it all, we’ve proven ourselves to be resilient, adapting to change in many areas and demonstrating enhanced levels of care for ourselves and others.
As we hit the one-year anniversary of when sh*t got oh-so-real, there’s no better time to review what a year in a pandemic-filled world has looked like — both good and bad.
So mask up and join us as we (safely) share 29 facts of COVID life.
All kinds of figures and statistics have been thrown at us during the pandemic, but these are the ones that matter most.
1. It’s been a time of immeasurable loss
So far, more than 500,000 people in the United States have lost their lives to COVID-19 — and that number is anticipated to grow to more than 560,000 by May.
2. Every second counts
You can’t be too sanitary these days, especially when it comes to washing your hands. So make sure you scrub for at least 20 seconds on a regular basis.
3. Safety starts 6 feet away
That’s the distance you should be keeping from others outside your household. Physical distancing is an important part of getting things done.
4. Sickness can spread silently
Just because you feel fine doesn’t mean you are A-OK — 80 percent of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 don’t show symptoms.
5. Small choices can make a big impact
Don’t believe your actions will have any effect? Think again: Just 20 percent of people with the virus can drive up case numbers by 80 percent.
We all know by now that COVID-19 can do a real number on our physical health — but what does it really entail, and can we boost our natural defenses?
6. COVID-19 can fool you at first sight
Key symptoms of the virus — such as cough, sore throat, fever, and muscle aches — are also seen in the common cold, flu, and allergies. Our handy guide can help you tell what’s what.
7. The extended stay is hazardous
We’ve heard more about “COVID-19 long haulers,” those who experience symptoms for extended periods of time. Find out more about the 15 most common effects and how to deal.
8. Some drugs make people more vulnerable…
…such as immunosuppressants. But this definitely doesn’t mean you should stop taking any medications that help manage an existing condition — you just have to be a bit more cautious.
9. D > ABC
Vitamin D is key in maintaining healthy immune and respiratory systems. There’s been plenty of talk about vitamin D and COVID-19 — but is it all just hype?
10. Minerals are mightier than the sword
Vitamin D isn’t the only power player for supporting your immune system. Here are seven other nutrients to start loving ASAP.
11. Your capsule collection can build a defense against symptoms
There’s no cure for COVID-19, but a variety of drugs have been approved to help treat symptoms in severe cases of the disease.
Even if you’ve avoided contracting the virus, the anxiety and mental strain during this time have been heavy. Here are some tips and tricks we’ve learned to help us stay on track.
12. Laughter is the best medicine
It certainly doesn’t feel like the pandemic has given us much to chuckle about, but, as experts reveal, having a good laugh is more important than ever for maintaining psychological well-being.
13. Embracing your body is mentally freeing
If you’ve put on a few pounds during lockdown, you’re definitely not alone. But there are more important things to focus on right now than getting “summer ready,” so learn to manage those niggling body image concerns.
14. Grabbing on to something can help to stop the anxiety spiral
Doomscrolling? Catastrophizing about the future? Yup — for many, the pandemic has taken anxiety to the next level. The good news? There are at least 11 different ways to help slow down those thoughts and find calm.
15. $$ bills make great love notes
With many local businesses hit hard by the pandemic, doing our bit to encourage a sense of support and community can go a long way. One Greatist writer explains that tipping is a great way to offer a dose of happiness during this time.
Gone are the days when heading outside meant merely throwing on a jacket and grabbing your bag. While having a longer checklist might feel tiresome, it’s essential for keeping the virus at bay.
16. Even if you don’t feel it, you can put on a happy face (mask)
We get it: You want to feel the sunshine on your *entire* face and not breathe in the smell of the garlic you ate at lunch. But wearing a mask is still the most helpful thing we can do.
Bonus: There are plenty of great ones to choose from.
17. Good practice: Saying “stay out” to outdoor germs and “get out” to indoor germs
We know hand-washing is something we need to do on the regular — but there’s a whole list of household surfaces that need cleaning attention as well. Wiping down your home every day isn’t a must, but it’s a good habit to get into.
18. Germs can’t hold their liquor
When it comes to hand sanitizer, alcohol is known for its germ-killing properties, but it’s effective only in certain concentrations and for particular viruses. We’ve got the lowdown.
19. Some good hygiene cues are multicultural
Countries such as Japan and China have long adopted different approaches to maintaining personal hygiene and preventing the spread of disease — from wiping off cutlery in restaurants to greeting others with a bow.
We never used to give a second thought to heading out for brunch or celebrating seasonal holidays. And although our social activities look somewhat different (for now), there are still ways to safely enjoy them.
20. Giving extra thought to your dinner plans can be satisfying to your health
While concerns remain about people cramming into crowded indoor dining spaces, the risk of eating outdoors is lower. There are plenty of steps you can take to further protect yourself while eating out.
21. Travel plans have changed
Those who have traveled during the pandemic have no doubt seen the many safety procedures implemented by transportation providers. And there are plenty more steps you can take for safer travels.
22. “Fake it till you make it” just got real
Staying at home doesn’t have to mean nothing but Netflix. You can enjoy a “fakecation” and wander the globe — from live feeds of Tokyo’s famous Shibuya crossing to virtual explorations of treasures at the British Museum in London — without leaving your living room.
23. Many are singing 🎶 “Celebrate good times — stay home!” 🎶
Without the packed party scenes, you might feel like ditching celebrations entirely. Instead, try changing your approach. We have a whole bunch of ideas for celebrating safely, whether you’re with friends or family or flying solo over Zoom.
24. You’re the boss in your home office
The idea of working from home in your PJs might have seemed ideal at first, but no one can blame you if the novelty is wearing thin after 12 months. With little work-life separation, it’s more important than ever to maintain mental balance.
25. The kids are all right
Parenting is tough at the best of times, but throw a pandemic into the mix and 🤯 . There’s no handbook to offer — but one Greatist editor reveals four key lessons he’s learned while parenting during this time.
26. Not every loss has been negative
Changes in our everyday lives have forced us to do better when it comes to self-care. Three readers reveal the bad habits they’ve shaken off during COVID times.
While we aren’t going to get “back to normal” overnight, there’s a definite light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.
27. The vaccine scene is not an unexplored frontier
Mass vaccination is key to getting our lives back on track. But how do they work, and are they safe? We’re dishing out the answers, needle-free and painless.
28. 2021 is going to be a year of firsts
As the world starts to open up again in 2021, a lot of our choices will be made with fresh perspective. Three experts reveal what else they see coming in the year ahead.
29. A big change can also be a big catalyst for change
The pandemic has uncovered more than just issues related to well-being. Everything from the environment and minimum wage to health care policies and social justice are now in the spotlight. These readers muse over positive changes that could arise in post-COVID life.
It’s OK to reflect, because we’ve dealt with a lot this past year. Although not everyone’s experience of pandemic life has been the same, it helps to remain resilient during this time and hopeful for the future. Grab hold of what helps you feel well in the interim. Here’s to many happier and healthier days ahead!
Chantelle Pattemore is a writer and editor based in London, UK. She focuses on lifestyle, health, beauty, food, and fitness.