MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Monday, March 8 marks one year since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Shelby County.
Since that day, life as we know it has not been the same.
But a year later, we can see light at the end of the tunnel.
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During the beginning of the pandemic, businesses and parks closed.
Schools went online.
Concerts and sporting events were canceled.
Debate raged over the government’s proper role.
Hospitals were inundated with COVID-19 patients.
Some felt lucky to have survived.
“We have got to get the message out and let people know this is the real deal,” said Crittenden County Judge Woody Wheeless.
He was discharged from the hospital after battling COVID-19.
But far too many Mid-Southerners succumbed to the virus.
Data from state health departments show more than 11,000 people died in Tennessee the first year, along with more than 6,800 in Mississippi and over 5,200 in Arkansas.
The end of 2020 brought renewed hope with the approval of multiple vaccines.
Shelby County Schools finally returned to in-person learning last week.
But the vaccine rollout has been far from perfect.
Investigations are underway in Shelby County to figure out how the Shelby County Health Department wasted 2,500 vaccines.
The health department director and two others have stepped down.
The City of Memphis recently took over vaccinations, hoping to vaccinate 700,000 citizens by the end of summer.
“We call it a mission because that’s the way we see it,” said Memphis Fire Department Director Gina Sweat.
While much has changed over the last year, hope hasn’t faded.
“My vision of a year from now that hopefully all of this gets under control, which the way it’s looking,” Miguel Valles. “I think it’s going to be that way.”