It happened all at once.
One second we were working in offices, walking through crowded grocery stores or picking up our kids from daycare. Then social media exploded. News stories about a novel coronavirus that first appeared in China began to paint a less abstract picture. Everything shut down and we started asking how long this would last.
Well, it’s a year later to the week. COVID-19 did not go away when the weather got warmer, we didn’t kill it by injecting bleach into our veins and while we all jumped on the #CrushTheCurve bandwagon, the entire nation got stomped by COVID-19.
Things are getting better. As of right now, a good chunk of Americans have rolled up their sleeves for the vaccine. We’re seeing less cases and lower hospitalization numbers than just about any other time in the pandemic. In other words, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
But we can’t forget how many lives we lost, more than half a million as of right now, and the people who lost their jobs, pushing them toward, or even deeper into, homelessness and poverty with too few solutions to help them.
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At The Reader we wrote about COVID-19. A lot. We’ve interviewed restaurant owners and doctors, tenants facing eviction and frustrated politicians. One of the questions we ask everyone is what they hope people learn from all this. We get a lot of different answers, but if we had to sum them up they all come back to this: COVID-19 was the catalyst, but the issues it accelerated have existed for a long time.
We hope these stories collectively show that. They’re by no means an all-inclusive portrait of 2020, but what they do show is a city and a nation trying to figure all this out in real time.
March 16, 2020
Our first story about COVID-19 came with the news that the only lab in Nebraska equipped to test DNA samples for the virus was running low on supplies.
March 18, 2020
Two days later we released a list of resources to help people understand this new virus and where to go if they needed help.
March 19, 2020
Caroline Cimino told The Reader of what life was like in Italy during their lock down while states considered whether to take similar actions.
March 24, 2020
The Reader got it’s first look at the food insecurity crises that erupted following the country’s response to COVID-19.
With so many people dealing with a new and frightening public health crisis, we tried to offer up some fun ways to get even a moment of distraction.
Direct Payments, Expanded Benefits and New Business Loans: Your Guide to The $2.2 Trillion Federal Stimulus Package
April 1, 2020
No joking around here, this story tried to break down how the government’s stimulus package would work.
April 8, 2020
To get a better idea of how COVID-19 might affect our world, we tried to see how it was affecting one small business district.
April 16, 2020
With so many people staying home, mail became the preferred voting method last year, leading to some record turnout.
April 23, 2020
Across the United States, but especially in Nebraska, workers in meatpacking facilities started catching and dying from COVID-19 at very high rates.
April 29, 2020
Videographers Josh Foo and Lauren Abell set out to tell personal stories of how the pandemic was affecting small business owners.
“We’re Not Even Close”: Protections for Plant Workers Continue to Lag as Workers Fear Increased Infections
May 13, 2020
While meatpacking workers waited for needed COVID-19 protections, advocates said the state and federal government continued to lag.
June 3, 2020
June 30, 2020
As Douglas County received millions of dollars to address social needs and economic shortfalls, commissioners clashed over just how to spend the money.
July 7, 2020
With libraries closed, Omaha’s homeless community lost a key resource to escape the summer heat.
July 10, 2020
As the pandemic stretched on, cinema buffs were faced with the real possibility that moveigoing will look very different after the pandemic.
July 24, 2020
With the pandemic slamming small business and people calling for racial justice flooding the streets, The Reader put together a list of Black-owned restaurants to support (spoiler: this list is still very, very applicable).
‘A Blessing and a Curse’: How $166 Million in COVID-19 Relief Has Challenged Douglas County Government
Aug. 4, 2020
The Reader took a deep look into how the Douglas County Board was deciding to spend all $166 million in CARES funding.
Aug. 17, 2020
As we rounded five months of living with COVID-19, The Reader started a weekly column to look at news about the virus as well as the latest data.
Aug. 18, 2020
COVID-19 challenged America’s food supply in a way we’d never seen before
Aug. 24, 2020
While Omaha’s largest art organizations got monetary aid from the county, a lot of the smaller venues and establishments were left out of the conversation.
Sept. 11, 2020
As the 2020 Nebraska Legislature’s sessions closed it left many senators upset that issues such as racial justice and the pandemic didn’t get more time on the floor.
Sept. 22, 2020
A personal story of a false negative COVID-19 test.
As the death toll from the pandemic rised, we partnered with local media to try and tell the stories behind the numbers.
Sept. 3, 2020
With no end in sight for musicians stymied by the pandemic, artists started to get creative about how they could continue performing.
Oct. 2, 2020
Omaha comedian Carlos Tibbs and his mother died of COVID-19 days apart, bringing tragedy to the city’s standup scene.
While we paid attention to first responders, we left out the last responders: the people who lay our loved ones to rest who also struggled during the pandemic. This was the first story in an ongoing Reader series.
Oct. 30, 2020
A group of Omahans banded together to try and funnel money toward small businesses.
Nov. 25, 2020
The first in a series about a worsening pandemic and how some of the best doctors in the world were getting shut down by local government.
Nov. 27, 2020
Health care workers share their personal stories of struggling to keep up with an avalanche of COVID-19 cases.
Nov. 30, 2020
State senators told us they were running into a brick wall trying to pass legislation that would lessen the effects of COVID-19.
Dec. 4, 2020
As safety nets disappeared for renters hit hard financially by the pandemic, many feared they’d soon lose their homes.
Dec. 4, 2020
With so many musicians stuck inside, a deluge of music followed.
Dec. 16, 2020
After months of debate and struggle, the Douglas County Board allocated the last of its $166 million in CARES fund, putting a bitter end to the acrimonious process.
Jan. 6, 2021
Gov. Pete Ricketts made confuding comments that seemed to indicate undocumented people would not be prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine, going against federal recommendations.
Jan. 8, 2021
With vaccines on the way, The Reader sat down with Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour to discuss the state of the pandemic and the light at the end of the tunnel.
Jan. 29, 2021
The state released on an online resource to get people in line for the vaccine.
Feb. 3, 2021
After months of missed opportunities, advocates hope 2021 will finally bring necessary protections to meatpacking workers.
Feb. 11, 2021
What do you say as an anti-establishment punk band at a time when society is in a freefall? Ask No Thanks.
March 4, 2021
Although venues are starting to reopen, bands remain cautious about performing live.