A reporter looks back on two years of pandemic in Utah

Mar 12, 2022, 1:20 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 9:26 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Two years ago on March 11, 2020, the world changed for many Americans as COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. 

Today, things are slowly getting back to normal. 

Field crews at KSL returned to work in the newsroom this week if they chose to do so 

Alex Cabrero was one of them who said coming back was a reminder of what life was like for all of us two years ago. 

It’s almost like stepping back in time.

“Many desks in the KSL newsroom were how we left them,” Alex said. 

His desk still had a Christmas card from then-Governor Gary Herbert and a colleague’s desk had a yellowing newspaper from March 2020. 

Calendars still had reminders about plans that never happened. 

Many workers across Utah experienced the same thing as they returned to the workplace and asked, “Did all of this really happen?” 

It seemed COVID-19 became very real when Utah Jazz player Rudy Govert tested positive and the NBA canceled that game in Oklahoma City. 

NBA Suspends Season Following Utah Jazz Players’ COVID-19 Positive Test

The same day President Donald Trump announced all European flights to the U.S. were banned. 

“These prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo but various other things,” President Trump said. 

The next day in Utah shoppers met long lines. as water and toilet paper become hot commodities. 

“I’m just worried because everyone else is worried,” shopper Jason Lynn told KSL. 

We can laugh at that now, but at the time there was some sense of fear because nobody knew what was going to happen. 

Shoppers Met With Long, Long Lines For Groceries

Utah universities started canceling classes and so did high schools. 

“I’m trying to graduate this semester,” one student said. 

Church meetings stopped and even hospitals announced delays in elective surgeries. 

Elected leaders did their best to try and calm the unknown, but those first few days, for many people, were scary as we learned new terms like social distancing, slow the curve, and zoom calls. 

“Fighting at Costco or Wal-Mart over different issues out there and not being friendly in the process is something we don’t want to see,” Herbert said during one of his daily COVID-19 news conferences. 

Utah’s cities and streets were empty as working from home became normal. 

Healthcare workers became known as heroes while dealing with COVID-19 cases on the frontlines. 

F-35 Jets Fly Over Utah To Show Support For Healthcare Workers 

“People recognize what we do and that it’s important,” one healthcare worker said. 

We know better now how to handle those cases but looking back, two years later, it can be emotional knowing how quickly normal life stopped with a virus no one knew how bad things could get. 

Dr. Emily Spivak with University of Utah Health said, “We do need to encourage each other to try and practice social distancing and best practices to be in this together and to work as a team.” 

As of Friday, the Utah Department of Health said Utah lost 4,539 people to COVID-19. That is about six people every day since the pandemic started. 

Although life is getting back to normal and society is putting the pandemic behind, it’s a moment in time we’ll never forget, especially for those families who lost loved ones. 

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A reporter looks back on two years of pandemic in Utah