Getting to the other side

3/18/2021, 6 p.m.
One year ago this week, COVID-19 stealthily came into our community and upended our lives. It has been a hard ...

One year ago this week, COVID-19 stealthily came into our community and upended our lives.

It has been a hard year.

Schools, businesses and churches have been on lockdown. Restaurants and barber and beauty shops are now open to limited capacity.

Our homes have become virtual classrooms, workplaces and sanctuaries with computers and cell phones providing connections. Birthdays, graduations and family visits have been conducted via Zoom, cell phone or drive-thru. Health and safety concerns keep us in a bubble and at least 6 feet apart from many of those we love.

And there have been losses.

Among Virginians alone, we have experienced more than a half million cases of COVID-19 during the past year. Thousands have been hospitalized. More than 10,100 have died.

It has been rough.

We salute the doctors, nurses, health care, hospital and nursing home workers who have put their lives on the line each day during the pandemic to care for many of us and our loved ones.

We acknowledge with gratitude the front line workers in grocery stores, drug stores and on the bus lines and mail routes who have kept essential services going.

We thank the churches, temples, mosques and food banks, pantries and carry-outs that have nourished our bodies and fed our souls during the past year.

We thank the teachers, administrators, tech people, business owners and others who have kept our children learning and families working without too many glitches.

We thank the innumerable people who, often unseen and unacknowledged, have kept our city and state functioning and safe during this time.

And we, at the Free Press, also thank our loyal readers and advertisers who have stayed with us during the past year as we’ve all adjusted to life under COVID-19, as well as the many unofficial ambassadors who pick up extra copies of the paper and deliver them to friends, shut-ins and loved ones.

We find encouragement in the collective positive spirit and goodwill within the Richmond community and in the growing numbers of people who are being vaccinated each day against the coronavirus.

To date, 2.8 million doses of the vaccine had been administered in Virginia, giving hope that soon we may be able to return to some routines of life as we knew it before March 2020.

We urge our readers to sign up on the state’s website to get vaccinated. Go to vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA. That’s (877) 829-4682.

While nearly 22 percent of our state’s population has had at least one shot of the vaccine, we remind that 78 percent of people have not. So remain careful during these next weeks as spring settles in, Passover, Easter and Eid al-Fitr are celebrated and the outdoors calls to us.

Please remember to wear a mask, even when outdoors in public around others, maintain a social distance and wash your hands frequently.

Yes, the past year has been tough, but we will soon get to the other side of this pandemic.