October is here and leaves are changing.  In the United States we are approximately eight months since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in our country, that first case here in the Seattle area, just north of where I live.  Every state is in a different phase of recovery, our once united country is no longer that.  News and messaging regarding COVID-19 from “higher up” are inconsistent leaving many unsure of the appropriate protocol.  Although we continue to associate this pandemic with a global lockdown and assume the world is collectively on hold, in reality, that is not the case.  Wars and conflicts still rage on, elections are still taking place, and we now face an uncertain future in both the political arena and global health.

This is clearly far from over.  Over half the United States is experiencing a new wave of COVID-19 cases, leaving us wondering if the world will ever be truly back to what we know.  We begin the process of slowly accepting the “new normal” as our local governments develop COVID 19 protocols impacting our everyday lives and the immediate future.  Being a 22-year-old and seeing the new wave of cases hitting my age group due to the resumption of college classes, is concerning as it was our once held belief that the COVID-19 virus was most threatening to those who are older and/or health compromised.  In the health-conscious community of Kirkland, WA, my hometown, in February of this year, we were reported as the epicenter of COVID-19 in the United States.  Our local government quickly responded, applying protocols that quickly became more restrictive.  Phases of reopening were established, and we are currently floating somewhere between phases two and three.  We take masks very seriously here in Kirkland and all of Washington state.  As the colder months approach, local restaurants face the inevitable closing of their outdoor space, thus compromising the success of their future.  The local community can not help but feel we are drifting through a never-ending state of limbo.

Although those in the White House attempted to downplay the threat of this pandemic, our “Commander and Chief” is now being treated in a Washington D.C. hospital – yet another confirmed case of COVID-19.  This just a few days after our first presidential election debates.  How will we move forward if we continue to be divided in our treatment of COVID-19?  The future is unclear, every day we take steps forward holding hope for brighter days to come.