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COVID-19: A Year in Reflections

Dr. Daniel Uslan, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of environmental health sciences and clinical chief of infectious diseases and co-chief infection prevention officer at UCLA Health, has been responsible for key elements of the university's pandemic response for more than a year

Friday, March 19, 2021

As we mark a full year since the global pandemic upended all of our lives, we asked members of the UC community to share their reflections on how these past months have changed them, and what will stay with them about this unprecedented time in the years to come.

The picture that emerges is one of hardship, courage, gratitude and resilience. For many of us, the last 12 months have meant long hours and rising to meet new challenges with our teammates, families, communities and bubbles. We helped support others in their grief and were helped by others when grief came home to us. We found new strengths in loneliness and formed new practices and bonds to ward off despair.

Now, as we begin to see a little light at the end of the tunnel, here in their own voices, members of UC’s community look back on a year like no other.

On never falling off the treadmill

In the early days of 2020, two doctors, Daniel Uslan and Annabelle de St. Maurice, had already begun preparations with their colleagues in the command center at UCLA Health for the looming pandemic. As clinical chief of infectious diseases and co-chief infection prevention officer at UCLA Health, Dr. Uslan was working alongside Dr. de St. Maurice, pediatric infection control lead and co-chief infection prevention officer, nearly every waking moment. Their work spanned planning for patients, emergency preparedness, communications, and more.

Dr. Uslan:

“By the time California shut down non-essential businesses, I had already been working on COVID-19 for several weeks and my day-to-day life had already been thrown into chaos. In the early days I hoped, perhaps naively, that we would all hunker down for a few months and then the crisis would pass us by.”

As more information became available, that hope dimmed.