Baby Born on the Day That Changed Everything Celebrates Second Birthday in a Changed World

Harley Stepanyan was born on the day the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Two years later, her family will celebrate her birthday in a much different world.

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At just under 2 years old, Harley Stepanyan hasn’t lived in a world without a global pandemic. 

She was born March 11, 2020, the day that changed everything

Harley was born after 56 hours of Labor at Kaiser-Permanente Hospital in Panorama City. What was a day to remember for her family marked a milestone for the world.

It was the day the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. State and local health orders, some remaining in effect about about two years, soon followed. 

For the Stepanyans, Hasmik and husband Harut of North Hollywood, it meant waiting to share their baby with her extended Armenian-American family. After all, mother Hasmik Stepanyan had always been there for other family members when they welcomed newborns. 

“Everyone comes in, all at the same time,” Hasmik Stepanyan said. “There’s like 20 people in the room. But not this time. Not this time.”

March 11, 2020 was a world before vaccines. A world that was masking up and, in many cases, shutting down in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Those changes included hospitals visitation rules, which changed overnight for the Stepanyans. 

Hasmik Stepanyan spent three emotional days at the hospital. She said she felt frustrated and alone, even with her husband in the room. 

This March 11, the family will celebrate Harley’s second birthday under much different circumstances.

The number of COVID-19-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals continues to plummet, nearing the 700 mark for the first time since mid-December, according to figures released Tuesday.

State figures showed 706 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals, down from 731 on Monday. The number of those patients being treated in intensive care units was 133, up slightly from 130 on Monday.

The precipitous decline has led to a loosening of many pandemic restrictions, most notably a lifting of the county's indoor mask-wearing mandate last week.

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