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Six feet apart and 14 days alone

When we tell the story of 2020, we do so in language rarely used previously: pandemic, distance learning, self-quarantine, WFH, social distancing, curbside pickup, Zoom.

We faced new rules: wait here, follow the arrows, wash your hands for 20 seconds (sing “Happy Birthday” if that helps).

And, of course, wear a mask, the unofficial symbol of 2020.

We have spent the year six feet apart and 14 days alone.

Businesses were order shuttered; some never to reopen. Thousands of people were laid off. The home became the schoolhouse and the workplace, all at the same time. From business meetings to happy hours to high school graduations, we have lived remotely.

Most of those infected, including entire families, would recover. But COVID-19 is a killer: more than 200,000 people in the United States have died as of this writing. In Connecticut, there have been about 4,500 deaths, more than 100 of them in New London County. By summer, nearly seven of 10 victims were in nursing homes, the new ground zero.

We are under attack, not by a hurricane rushing up the coast or a foreign power, but by a deadly enemy that can be airborne or sitting on our kitchen counter. We have become afraid of even things we enjoy: going out to eat, travel, playing sports, attending concerts or the theater. We don't shake hands or hug.

It hasn’t all been doom and gloom, though. In the tough times, we come together. Neighbors made masks for neighbors. Drive-by birthday celebrations were held. Musicians took to online for virtual concerts.

We feel safer outdoors so we hike, bike and kayak. We planted flowers and vegetables. We learned a new language, read that book we’ve been meaning to get to, finally gave yoga a try.

On March 13, like many of you, journalists at The Day headed home with their laptops and cameras. We have not returned to the newsroom in New London. We’ve spent countless hours chronicling this historic event. Many interviews were done over the phone. Photographs were taken mask to mask, six feet apart. Today, we publish this special section so we’ll never forget.

— Timothy J. Cotter, Managing Editor






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