Editorial

Reflecting on the lockdown a year on

lockdown in Wales, Mark Drakeford
A year on: on March 23 2020, Wales entered a UK-wide lockdown. Source: Doubledoppler (via Wikimedia Commons)
A year following the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown period in Britain, we must reflect on the year we’ve faced.

By Tirion Davies | Editor-in-Chief

The UK began the lockdown period on March 23 2020. Now, as we continue into April 2021, a year on, we can reflect on a year no one saw coming.
Although February 2020 saw the first COVID-19 positive case in Wales, no one could have known then the extent the virus could have on not only Wales, but the rest of the world. It seems odd in retrospect that, after seeing the wide-scale impact the virus had on Wuhan and China, many of us never quite expected COVID-19 to impact our lives to such an extreme.
Before March of 2020, the virus seemed to only impact a few people, but suddenly the world found itself at a standstill. Italy were the first in Europe to go into lockdown, and quickly lockdown measures were put in place.
The initial lockdown period saw a lot of optimism; clapping for our carers each week, enjoying the outdoors and for many there seemed to be a sense of novelty to the initial lockdown. Yet, the numbers of cases and deaths rose and rose, the anxiety surrounding the pandemic really began to seep in.
There was still a general hope that the lockdown period might end by September 2020. After cutting our university year short in March, many of us believed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic might have eased by the time we began our next year. Yet, as we grew closer and closer to the beginning of another academic year, it became obvious that the virus was still very much here to stay.
Moving in and out of lockdown at the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, there finally seemed to be a solution with the announcement of the first COVID-19 vaccine accepted for use by Pfizer and BioNTech in December. With a vaccine, a vaccination plan, and some newfound hope, we began a move towards the end of the lockdown period.
We’re now, thankfully, at a point where we can begin to see the end of the hold COVID-19 has had on us for a year. It won’t be easy, and it’s possible it’ll take longer than we presume; vaccines will no doubt need yearly top-ups and face coverings may widely be in use for some time to come, but we may, finally, be able to return to a semblance of the normality we once experienced.
The second and third lockdown periods were incredibly hard on many. As measures began to ease before being returned, there a sense amongst some communities that the pandemic was becoming too big a disruption in their lives. Generally, rules were followed and numbers dropped significantly across Wales during the third lockdown, but the pandemic became more of an inconvenience each time regulations were heightened. Some issues, such as the scenes in front of the Senedd recently, indicate the sentiment that the lockdown period has become tiresome for some, and many want to see it end as soon as possible.
We’ve all lost a lot this year. It’s arguably the hardest year many of us have ever experienced. But we are beginning to make positive moves away from the way the UK was in March 2020.
Everyone has had to adapt to the new world. It was hard to begin with, but in some ways, we’re becoming used to the new normal.
It can be easy to fall into the habit of thinking about the opportunities missed because of COVID-19. But the main thing we need to take from the experiences we’ve had this year is that we are in good health.
When reflecting on the past year, it’s important to remember those we’ve lost and celebrate their lives. We won’t remember the trivial things in twenty years’ time.

Dechreuodd y cyfnod clo yn y Deyrnas Unedig ar Fawrth 23 2020. Nawr, flwyddyn yn ddiweddarach wrth i ni gyrraedd Ebrill 2021, mae modd i ni edrych dros y flwyddyn nad oedd unrhyw un yn disgwyl.

Er i Gymru cael yr achos cyntaf o COVID-19 ym mis Chwefror 2020, nid oedd modd ystyried y flwyddyn bydd Cymru, na chwaith y byd, yn wynebu. Mae’n od meddwl nad oeddem wedi disgwyl y fath effaith bydd y feirws yn cael ar Gymru ar y pryd, er i ni weld yr effaith cafodd ar Wuhan a Tsiena.

Cyn mis Mawrth 2020, oedd hi fel petai oedd y feirws ond yn effeithio canran bach o bobl, ond cyn hir, yr oedd y byd wedi stopio. Yr Eidal oedd y cyntaf yn Ewrop i fynd trwy gyfnod clo, ac yn fuan yr oedd y byd wedi dilyn i gyfnod clo ei hunain.

Gwelwyd y cyfnod clo cyntaf ym Mhrydain llawer o obaith; yn dathlu gweithwyr y GIG, mwynhau’r haul, oedd hi fel petai oeddwn yn disgwyl cyfnod byr ac yn ceisio’i fwynhau cyn iddo orffen. Ond, wrth i niferoedd COVID-19 yng Nghymru dechrau codi’n fwy ac yn fwy, dechreuodd y pryderon effeithio arnom ni.

Ceir obaith bod y cyfnod clo am orffen hyd at fis Medi llynedd. Ar ôl torri ein blwyddyn prifysgol yn hanner yn 2020, yr oeddem yn gobeithio dychwelyd i’r brifysgol heb pandemig. Ond erbyn i ni ddechrau agosáu at y flwyddyn academaidd newydd, yr oedd hi’n amlwg nid dyna fyddai’r realiti.

Yn symud mewn ac allan o gyfnod clo rhwng diwedd 2020 a dechrau 2021, gwelwyd gobaith newydd yn y cyhoeddiad o frechiad Pfizer a BioNTech. Gyda brechiad, ffordd o frechu’n gyflym, a gobaith newydd, dechreuodd y newid at ddiwedd y cyfnod clo.

Erbyn hyn, diolch byth, rydym wedi cyrraedd man lle gellir ystyried diwedd ar y cyfnod clo. Mae’n bosib bydd y cyfnod yma’n cymryd cyfnod hir a ni fydd y cyfnod clo yn gorffen yn llawn am flynyddoedd i ddod, ond mae’n ddechreuad.

Mae’r cyfnod clo, yn enwedig yr un olaf yma, wedi cael effaith gref ar nifer ohonom ni. Fel gwelsom o flaen y Senedd yn ddiweddar, mae pobl wedi gweld eisiau bywyd arferol, ac yn mynd ati i ymateb fel nad yw’r pandemig yn parhau.

Rydym i gyd wedi dioddef eleni. Mae’n bosib mai’r cyfnod yma yw’r flwyddyn anoddach mae nifer ohonom wedi wynebu. Ond, rydym yn dechrau gwneud newidiadau, ac mae mis Mawrth 2020 yn wahanol i’n byd erbyn hyn.

Mae’n hawdd cofio’r flwyddyn ddiwethaf fel cyfnod lle’r ydym wedi colli cymaint. Ond, mae’n rhaid cofio ein bod yn iachus.

Wrth gofio’r flwyddyn ddiwethaf, mae’n rhaid dathlu bywydau’r rhai ein bod wedi colli eleni. Ymhen deuddeg blynedd, ni fydd y pethau bychain y cyntaf i ddod i gof.

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