On March 11, 2020, Mississippi reported its first case of COVID-19, an acute and highly contagious respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a novel coronavirus. The virus, originally detected in a major transport hub in China in December 2019, quickly overwhelmed the globe. The first Magnolia State case was at home, right here in Forrest County. We were not ready for its impacts, and how could we be? We heard of its potential severity, and we saw the rising global death toll, but how could something like that infilitrate our lovely little corner of the world? Naive thinking, maybe, but a generation-defining event only comes every so often, and who knew it was our turn for it?
One day, after we have found refuge on the “Other Side” of this pandemic, we can review the lessons we learned over the past year. For now, however, we must do what we can to defeat this plague. We have the tools, and we have each other. We can, by the second anniversary of its arrival in our state, defeat the virus and find a different, but functional, normal. As we look forward to that time, we remember who we lost just in Forrest and Lamar counties: 221 of our neighbors. We honor those who bravely fight, and we tip our hats to the ones who made pandemic life a little more tolerable. We mourn our losses, but we step back, take a deep breath and realize that the tide is slowly turning. We are nearing the shore. There is hope all around us.
We at The Pine Belt News pause to look back over the last year:
• "'Grief and also hope,' city marks anniversary of COVID-19"
• OPINION: "Lessons for the 'new normal'"