COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – 2020 was a year for the history books. In December 2019, a new coronavirus that mimicked the flu, only in some cases worse, was discovered in Wuhan, China. On February 3, 2020, the U.S. declared a Public Health Emergency. By February 11, the World Health Organization or WHO had given this new virus a name: COVID-19.
Health officials learned that this new virus kills, particularly in those patients with underlying health issues. It was spreading across the United States quickly. In March 2020, many states began shelter-in-place orders. The world as we knew it, seemingly shut down. Georgia would join those other states by issuing orders limiting contact between its citizens to help stop the spread of COVID-19. On April 3, Governor Brian Kemp shut down the state.
To date, more than 503,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the United States. Nearly 15,000 people have died in Georgia. Chattahoochee Valley area residents are reflecting on the turbulent year now behind us and the lasting effects.
Jo Jones, a former Muscogee County School educator:
“It has been a true roller coaster. First there was curiosity, then fear, then extreme caution, and finally hope in a vaccine. I think I have experienced most all emotions throughout this past year. I am thankful that my faith in God has held me up. I cling to Him and face tomorrow with possibilities.”
Mitzi Oxford, former Development Director at Valley Rescue Mission and former WRBL staffer:
“I am heartbroken at the number of people across the US who have died as a result, the number of family members who could not be with their loved ones during hospitalization, and the delay in getting where we are today for vaccinations. I know people who have died. I know people who struggled with coronavirus. I know people who had COVID months ago and have experienced ongoing symptoms-the long haulers-as they are called. It hurts me that the news media which I was a part of for 21 years is blamed for prejudiced reporting when many were just trying to do their jobs and report the facts. I worry and pray for my husband who works in a grocery store because people come there without a mask. Mostly I pray and try to find a tiny piece of normalcy in a world full of doubt and hate.”
T. Culpepper Lisa Davis:
“Being that I lost my Dad in March of last year when COVID-19 had just started. We could not visit him the day after his surgery because, they had started the no visitation at St. Francis Hospital. He actually went in for a simple feeding tube! I still feel as if he gave up because he didn’t see his kids there waiting on him. The nurse told us he woke up from surgery looking for us. He went back to sleep and never woke up again. Now I feel like even though he didn’t actually have COVID it did take his life. It really makes me mad when selfish people don’t wear a mask. Two of my brothers had COVID-19; my oldest brother was a bad case. I would drop medication off on the doorstep get back in the car call and tell him it was on the porch. It was hard not being able to take care of him. I was so afraid of losing him. I remember thinking how would we do this? We haven’t even had a funeral for our dad. I’ve had to home school four grandkids which was so so stressful. I think it’s getting better. I see more people wearing masks. I was so glad when my husband decided to retire last year being he was a firefighter. I was so worried he would bring the Virus home and the grand babies would get sick, then again their mom is a nurse. So that really didn’t calm my nerves! But, the most heart-breaking part is losing my father!! Not being able to say good bye! I totally feel COVID is responsible indirectly. I pray God will take control and make this COVID go away. We all just need to continue to wear the mask and follow the CDC guidelines and most of all PRAY!”