Today marks the one year anniversary of WHO (World Health Organization) declaring the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic and almost a year to the day – Friday, March 13, 2020 – when the village, following similar order from the state and county, issued the state of emergency.
At the time, a village press release said, “The Declaration preserves our right to issue emergency regulations necessary for the protection of life and property, establishment of public order, and control of adverse conditions affecting public welfare resulting from COVID-19…”
That day, the beloved Community Center closed and would remain closed late into 2020, Freebee ceased operations. The following Monday, Miami-Dade Public schools announced they were closing their buildings and switching to virtual learning. Crandon Blvd. sat empty most days.
All the reasons were the same: Control the spread of the coronavirus, which by March 31 had reached 5,704 confirmed cases in the state. In Miami-Dade County, there were 1,701 confirmed cases on that day, with 20 confirmed on the island.
A year later, the numbers are stunning: More than 1.9 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 statewide, with almost 32,000 deaths; over 415,000 in Dade, with 5,560; and almost 2,200 on the island. State health agencies no longer report deaths by zip code or community.
What … a … year.
By now, the growing totals of COVID cases are almost taken for granted, giving way to how many people have been vaccinated – more than 5.5 million across the state and over 420,000 in Dade.
While all of what’s transpired, and continues to transpire, seems to have taken a decade, it was “only” 365 days ago when things started to “get serious.” Restaurants closing, schools moving to virtual learning, beaches closing, public gatherings restricted, travel restrictions, mandatory mask ordinances, and so much more.
Today, with COVID cases leveling off or dropping, we allow ourselves to begin considering a virus-free future. Cautiously. Because we know there will likely be spikes, and perhaps even more deadly virus variations. COVID has proven an unforgiving, relentless beast.
This virus has changed our worlds forever.
Upcoming special section will explore impact of COVID-19 and celebrate the community’s resilient spirit
As we consider an uncertain future, we believe it is important to acknowledge and memorialize what transpired this past year. In the April 8 edition of Islander News, we will publish a special section entitled “2020. The Year of Covid” – to review what transpired on the island and how life changed.
We will publish a timeline of key events, and we’ll celebrate the many organizations and people who made dealing with the pandemic more bearable. We will look at what has happened to our island’s small businesses, and our education system. And we’ll look forward to what may come next.
Because we hope this will be a keepsake edition of our life and times, we’d like to hear your voice too. If you have an idea for a story, please share it. If you have a personal tale you’d like to submit, please do! Share your ideas -- or submit your story (250 words or less, please) -- to email@example.com
Be safe. This is not over.