Year in the Bubble: Marking one year since shutdowns hit the US

For many of us, life can now be divided between life before the pandemic and life now.

One year ago Friday – March 12 — the end of major sporting events made things really real. The NCAA Tournament was canceled, the NHL season was suspended and Major League Baseball announced spring training was over.

Icon Ton Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson announced they had tested positive for COVID-19 while filming a movie in Australia.

March 13, 2020 was the day President Donald Trump declared a national emergency. Then, Governor Jay Inslee ordered all Washington schools to shut down temporarily – he thought – on March 17.

Idaho had its first confirmed case of the coronavirus on March 14, a year ago Sunday, and Vice President Mike Pence told the White House staff to avoid physical contact. It was that same day that Spokane County had its first three confirmed cases.

These are the major events that changed the way we see the world, but for most of us, the stories of what signaled the start of the pandemic are much more personal.

“Because of the pandemic, I ended up losing my job,” said Nick Brommer.

Million of Americans feel that pain; the pain of losing a job in the middle of a pandemic. Brommer did not know he would be losing his job when he was vacationing in Vegas last March, a trip he now looks back on as the start of this pandemic.

“It was sort of like a scene out of a weird post-apocalyptic movie,” Brommer said. “There was no one there.”

The city that never sleeps shut down for months; empty casinos and empty streets. As a person, Brommer was in shock to see the city so eerily quiet, but as a photographer, it was a dream come true. He captured those moments through his lens. But little did he know, those would be the last moments of the life he was so used to.

“Once you get a little break, you get to reassess things,” Brommer said.

He reassessed and went back to school to get into teaching.

“It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, so it was the perfect time to do that,” Brommer said.

The pandemic has hit us all in different ways and it set in a bit early for Andre Cossette, whose son lives in China.

“To us, he’s been like the COVID profit,” Cossette said.

In many ways, China showed the rest of the world what it was about to go through, a reality the Cossettes realized through their son.

“I would tell my son ‘We’re getting sent home for two weeks’ and he would say ‘No, dad, you’re getting sent home for the rest of the year’ and sure enough we would go back to work and we were told ‘you’re getting sent home the rest of the year,'” Cossette said.

Cosette is excited to hopefully travel soon to see his son.

While we look back on the anniversary of the pandemic, many of us have our eyes set on those normal days; days where we can see each other without worry.

“I think we’ve all just missed that human contact and some of those entertainment venues… at some point you do want to get out of the house and do something to see that starting to happen again,” Brommer said. “It’s a welcome sight.”