When a topic is common or overdone, it is more difficult to make it interesting. One of the main goals of these college application essays is to help differentiate students from the competition–other students. If your topic is one that many others will be writing about, you are already fading into the crowd.
Your COVID experience has impacted you in a way that is far different than how it has affected almost all other people.
I would say it would need to be something extreme, or highly unexpected, or unusual. Even better, somehow bizarre, or shocking. (Remember, it probably feels as though it has hit you harder than others, but chances are your experience isn’t as radical as it feels. That’s just the nature of this nightmare–everyone feels as though their life has been turned upside down on some level.)
Tragically, those students hardest hit by this pandemic, with parents and loved ones losing jobs, losing homes or getting evicted, or even worse, falling ill, simply aren’t that unusual. (These, however, are the exact students who MUST share their COVID hardships elsewhere in the Common Application, which I talk about next.)
I also want to flag the idea that finding the positive in your COVID-19 experience, or that you are actually enjoying this time, would not be enough of a “spin” to justify COVID as a topic.
I believe admissions officials are trying to discourage students from using this as their main college app essay (aka personal statement) topic as well.