Who said what when? Key Covid quotes to mark the lockdown anniversary

Covid quotes collection of people speakingIt’s two years since the first UK Covid lockdown was announced on 23 March 2020. Let’s take a look back at some of the voices of the pandemic – from business, health, government and entertainment.

During Covid, business trends fluctuated; people stopped buying deodorant, people bought a lot of pizza…

Amongst you will be employees happy that restrictions are few and far between right now, business managers frazzled from the stress of constant change and challenge caused by Covid, healthcare practitioners helping to rehabilitate Covid patients, as well as people personally affected by loss caused by Covid.

You might even have Covid right now.

So who (including health and wellbeing hero Joe Wicks) said what when?

22 January 2020

“We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.”

Donald Trump, President of the United States

17 March 2020

“The actions we require to take to mitigate a health emergency will for many businesses and individuals cause an economic emergency.”

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland

March 2020

“If my wife hadn’t taken me to A&E I would have died within hours. I had blood clots in my lungs and bleeds in my brain. Lost sight in eye, hearing in ear, feeling in toes. Flu?”

Michael Rosen, Poet, in a Tweet to Piers Morgan

23 March 2020

“The worst case scenario is simply intolerable. It would represent the greatest loss of New Zealander’s lives in our country’s history. I will not take that chance.”

Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand

23 March 2020

“From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction - you must stay at home. You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say No.”

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

April 2020

“Wash your hands and stay indoors

Thank you Baked Potato

Only visit grocery stores

Thank you Baked Potato”

Matt Lucas, Comedian

April 2020

“Homeworking is here to stay. We’ve launched a new range of homeworker furniture designed to meet the most stringent of employer health and safety regulations.”

Ian Fletcher-Price, CEO, Posturite

June 2020

Quote about the British weather June 2020

Dr Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre

The UK enjoyed exceptional weather in Spring 2020 during the first year of Covid.

July 2020

“I’ve run out of fancy-dress outfits!”

Joe Wicks, the nation’s PE teacher

September 2020

“I don’t want to really set up a home office because I want to believe that the pandemic is going to end soon. So, month by month, I stay here in my son’s old bedroom without fixing it up - out of kind of stubborn hope.”

Reed Hastings, co-chief executive officer of Netflix


Mouths speaking Covid quotes

December 2020

“During those frightening weeks and months of 2020, thousands of heroes – dedicated scientists here in Oxford and across four continents, but also clinicians, regulators, manufacturers, and volunteer citizens – came together to achieve something extraordinary. Within less than a year, together we had designed, made, tested, manufactured at scale and started to distribute a vaccine that was very safe, that was highly effective, and that would be available around the world in huge quantities at low cost. Together we had made a vaccine for the world.”

Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, Covid vaccine creator

January 2021

“So what does a reasonable recovery look like?’ I asked the doctor. "What is the best we can hope for?” His shocking reply was ‘being able to hold a hairbrush’.”

Kate Garraway, TV presenter, whose husband had Covid

January 2021

“2020 was an exceptional year for Just Eat.”

Jitse Groen, chief executive, Just Eat Takeaway

5 March 2021

Quote about lockdown homeschooling

By March 2021, UK parents were desperate for schools to reopen!

Georgina, Parent

Mum hating homeschooling

July 2021

“A few patients we are caring for still deny Covid exists, even as we strap oxygen masks to their faces. That is perplexing. Staff find that particularly hard. We are absolutely, genuinely exhausted. After more than a year of Covid, resilience is very low.”

Anonymous NHS A&E Consultant

September 2021

“The week that trillions of dollars of market value came out of the global economy because people could not work and consume and live normally - that really ended any debate over the value of HR to the enterprise. If HR didn’t already have influence in the C-suite before the pandemic, it does now.”

John Bremen, Managing Director of Human Capital and Benefits, Willis Towers Watson

March 2021

“Lockdowns and social distancing exacerbated the value decline of the deodorants market in 2020.”

Emilia Greenslade, Mintel personal care analyst

October 2021

“You’re going to the office, but you’ve got that one person on your team who’s really remote. And they’re not going to fly in for a meeting, so guess what, you’re commuting to be back on Zoom, which is a new circle of hell in an open-plan office.”

Drew Houston, Co-founder and CEO, Dropbox

February 2022

“COVID-19 was an accelerant of long trend lines that were happening in the workplace. Even the current trend toward high-density, unassigned space in workspaces was already on the rise prepandemic.”

Diane Hoskins, Co-CEO of Gensler, interviewed by McKinsey & Company

March 2022

“We have attempted unsuccessfully to persuade the UK Government to take a more gradual approach to the rundown of Covid testing.”

Mark Drakeford, Wales First Minister

What’s next, we wonder?