Lessons from a Covid anniversary


Good afternoon,

Today marks the anniversary of the first coronavirus case in Delaware.

A University of Delaware professor came down with the virus, and it became apparent that things would not be the same for a while. (I gave it six months). Sadly Congress did the same.


A  year ago, I wrote that Delaware woke up to a different day after that first case was detected. 

The impact hit home the previous night.  While riding back with a family member from a movie, we turned on the radio and learned that the NBA had canceled all games.

It was one of those “holy Sh*t” moments.  I  haven’t been back to that theater, which remains shuttered.

(In the  accompanying photo, ChristianaCare CEO Dr. Janice Nevin speaks at an event marking the anniversary of the first case)

As the number of cases rose sharply,  the conversation already was tinged with political overtones as some angrily claimed that coronavirus was a manufactured crisis. 

Not long thereafter, Gov. John Carney issued a state of emergency that, after many revisions, remains in effect to this day.

Meanwhile, a former Vice President living in Delaware – whose campaign had been at death’s door – won a string of primaries. Tonight,  Joe Biden will speak from the White House is marking the one-year milestone and on the eve of signing a $1.9 trillion relief bill.

His predecessor’s erratic actions in dealing with the virus included highs (vaccine development) and lows (no consistent message, blaming others, ignoring public health guidelines and Twitter rants).

The nation and state were initially caught flat-footed in their response. 

Mistakes were made. We overestimated the spread outdoors and underestimated its impact indoors. At times, the doom and gloom predictions were counterproductive and hardened the views of skeptics.

Still, we now know that more than half a million Americans are no longer with us. Despite the skewed statistics we see on social media, the nation’s death rate was higher in 2020 than in the previous year. 

Along the way, the most vulnerable among us fell victim. The isolation had devastating effects on education, physical and mental health.

The virus also exposed the deep racial and economic divides that had been papered over for decades.

On the bright side, as I  read a few of the more than 1,000 Delaware Business Now posts since March 11,  I  was heartened by the dozens of examples of people pulling together. 

Many of us see the value to the community of restaurants, the arts, frontline workers, and many other things taken for granted in the past.

I closed the column from a year ago with the following, …” it’s time to rely on science, rather than speculative social media posts or theories of cable news pundits.” 

Science was far from perfect over the past year,  but it got many things right, including fast-tracking vaccines that make March 11, 2021, a  much brighter day – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.