When the world started to shut down because of the coronavirus, many compared it to the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.
It was different back then.
Back then, news didn't travel as fast. Many people relied on newspapers to get their information — and some had to wait a long time to know the latest on the pandemic.
Take, for example, the Dec. 5, 1918, issue of The Gazette: "Unless a person having la grippe or influenza is properly isolated and quarantined in his home or the place where he resides, the entire home or building shall be quarantined and no person, sick or well, except the proper physician, nurse or attendant shall go in or out of such home or building during such quarantine."
When the coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020, it changed lives, including those at The Gazette. Reporters, editors and almost everyone associated with the daily newspaper in Colorado Springs began working remotely, unsure of how long the pandemic would last.
Nonetheless, they got to work.
The Gazette started a live blog with all coronavirus-related news from across the state, including links to daily numbers of cases and deaths and lists of business closed. Canceled or postponed events were reported, along with a list of testing sites. And when vaccines started rolling out, the newspaper provided up-to-date information about where, when and who could get shots in the arm.
The blog even listed restaurant takeout information. Remember those days?
Despite the challenges and risks, reporters were on scene when news broke. After all, they were considered essential workers.
"The interesting thing about the pandemic was that we were all suffering some of the same hardships, but apart from one another. The isolating nature of it all was damaging in a lot of ways," Gazette reporter Jessica Snouwaert said. "For me, as a journalist entering my first full-time position while the pandemic was raging was difficult because I was not only navigating a new job, but I was doing so without much of the usual support systems that may have been in place pre-pandemic."
The coverage was a reflection of the times. Take, for example, the introduction by The Gazette with its daily live updates: "This article is updated multiple times a day with coronavirus news from Colorado Springs, the Pikes Peak region and elsewhere in Colorado — and along with other COVID-19-related stories is free as a public service to non-subscribers of The Gazette. Click here to sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. If you're not already a full Gazette subscriber, click here for options."
Readers no longer had to wait an entire day to read the latest news. They could see The Gazette's coverage of a global pandemic through their handheld devices.
At the same time, it was a balance to supply readers with up-to-date information and a print edition that reflected the previous day's coverage of the pandemic.
To this day, The Gazette features a link on its website to its latest coronavirus news.