By Steve Coulter
Congratulations! You’re reading this column and made it to the end of 2020. You deserve much more than a participation trophy. You deserve the whole showcase showdown! I mean really…what a mess we have lived through.
In January I was playing music on the radio station Magic 104.1 KMGL. While playing music in the studio that Saturday afternoon, news broke about a new virus called the coronavirus. It originated in Wuhan China and was extremely contagious. I immediately texted some friends and told them I was very concerned about a new SARS like virus.
Over the next several weeks we started hearing more and more about COVID-19. People in China were becoming very ill and dying from this mysterious virus. All they knew to do was wear mask and social distance from others. I thought surely that wouldn’t become the way of life in the United States of America.
COVID-19 was spreading quickly and in March we were getting reports of cases right here in Oklahoma. March 11th was a surreal night that stopped everything. That was the night Oklahoma City Thunder fans were asked to evacuate the arena immediately. The NBA shut down after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic.
That triggered an avalanche of closings. Major concerts like Alan Jackson, Michael Buble, The Foo Fighters and Kiss all cancelled their upcoming shows. The Oklahoma City Zoo, Civic Center, Frontier City and local casinos all closed. The NCAA canceled the March Madness tournament games and Cruise Ships came to a halt. The Las Vegas strip closed and became a ghost town. Everything from Disney Land to the Oklahoma City Festival of Arts was cancelled or closed until further notice. Almost every festival and even the State Fair of Oklahoma wouldn’t go on in 2020.
Most restaurants were required to close indoor dinning and offer takeout or curbside delivery. No more going to movie theaters. Everything was coming to a screeching halt and most businesses were in complete panic mode. Forced with tough decisions-thousands of people were laid off from businesses on the brink of collapse.
Cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and toilet paper were flying off the shelves. On May 4th Costco announced it would be requiring all shoppers to wear a mask or face covering. They faced immediate backlash as people said they would no longer shop at the grocery store if forced to cover their faces. Walmart, Sam’s Club and major retailers all followed with face covering requirements. Walmart known for operating 24 hours a day-quickly reduced store hours for sanitizing and to restock depleted stores.
Coronavirus cases continued to rise over the summer and fall months. Social distancing, face coverings and quarantining have become the new way of life. Events continue to be cancelled and postponed.
We all know someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. And there’s still a lot we don’t know about this mysterious virus. Why are so many people infected but asymptomatic? Why do some people just have mild symptoms? Why do some people get attacked viciously?
Several celebrities who tested positive for COVID-19 include Sharon Osbourne, Ellen DeGeneres, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Madonna, Russell Westbrook, John Elway, Mel Gibson, Christopher Cross, Pink and Lesley Stahl from 60 Minutes just to name a few.
We lost a ton of legends in 2020. Here are just a few of the biggest names we lost this past year. Kenny Rogers, NBA Star Kobe Bryant, Jeopardy Host Alex Trebek, Sean Connery, Van Halen, Charley Pride, Regis Philbin, Little Richard, Jerry Stiller, Fred Willard, Kirk Douglas, Roy Horn, Charlie Daniels, Carl Reiner, Hugh Downs from 20/20, Bill Withers, Joe Diffie, Ken Osmond who played Eddie Haskell on Leave it to Beaver and David Lander who played Squiggy on Laverne & Shirley.
2020 is coming to an end and the list of disappointments could just go on and on. Goodbye 2020 and good riddance. Hope is on the way with the distribution of the vaccine over the next few weeks and months. Let’s pray it’s safe, works and ends this pandemic.
We thank you for supporting local journalism and look forward to bringing you news, sports and coverage about our community in the new year.