Editor’s Letter: COVID-19 pandemic anniversary is one we’d all like to forget

On March 2, 2020 we reported that Fulton County had the first two cases of COVID-19 in Georgia. It would be the first of hundreds of stories and updates.

On March 2, 2020, I wrote a breaking news story for the Intown website with the headline “Fulton County has first two cases of coronavirus in Georgia”. That was how Atlanta Intown’s coverage of the pandemic began.

One year ago today, March 11, COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. It’s still shocking to look back and see just how quickly Atlanta – and the world – shut down as the virus spread.

Overnight, local schools and colleges cancelled classes, events were postponed, and government meetings were cancelled. With no federal or state mandate to wear masks, the adoption of them was slow in Georgia, but soon became ubiquitous.

On March 13, Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency. A few days later, frustrated by former President Donald Trump and Kemp’s hesitancy to act in the worsening crisis, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms locked down the city closing restaurants, bars, gyms, cinemas, and other gathering spots. The two leaders would remain at odds on the handling of the virus, which mirrored the national split between Democrats and Republicans.

Local nonprofits swung into action to deliver food to those in need, restaurants switched to delivery, and the arts community took their shows virtual. When we weren’t trying to track down toilet paper or paper towels, we binge-watched everything even remotely interesting on Netflix, Prime and Hulu, while many of us rediscovered the great outdoors and the simple pleasure of reading a book.

At this writing, 830,000 Georgians have been infected and nearly 16,000 Georgians have lost their lives due to COVID-19. The vaccine rollout in Georgia has been slow, but seems to be picking up more momentum with the addition of those age 55+ and with high-risk medical conditions.

Maybe this time next year, we’ll be able to report that we’re back to something approaching normalcy, although what that “new normal” will look like is still unclear.

What has been a constant this past year is the resilience and resourcefulness of Atlantans in the face of incredible odds, challenges, and sorrow. All of us here at Intown and Springs Publishing would like to thank you for making us a trusted source of information during the pandemic.

Keep your chin up, Intowners. Better days are on the way.