We’re roughly at the one-year point of the global COVID-2 pandemic—Ars’ initial explainer on the virus first published on March 8, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic on March 11, and the US declared a national emergency on March 13. As we all grapple with the realization 12 months have passed, various anniversaries are being marked. There are lots of major mileposts to mark; moments that made the severity and global scale of the pandemic clear, or were the first signs of the new reality of social isolation, remote schooling, and offices created out of any available spare space.
For many of us at Ars, the big mileposts were abstract—things that happened to other people or society as a whole as we continued to work from home. But as we talked about the experience of last March, each of us seemed to come up with a different moment when the severity of the pandemic really clicked.
What follows is a collection of the experiences that drove home the severity of COVID-19 to each of us—the moments we knew things weren’t going to be the same. Feel free to add your own in the comments.