New York has hit a dubious anniversary as it has now been a full year since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the state.
The first COVID-19 case was reported on Sunday, March 1, 2020, in a woman in her late 30s, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced at the outset of the pandemic. The woman had recently returned from a trip to Iran, as noted in this Daily Voice report published on March 1, 2020.
At that point, in the coming days, only approximately a dozen cases were confirmed in New Yorkers, and less than 100 across the country.
Just a couple of days after the NYC case, a lawyer from New Rochelle tested positive, with the city soon becoming the new hotspot for the virus worldwide following community spread, leading to a containment zone.
Since then, New York has had 1,643,867 confirmed COVID-19 cases, which have resulted in nearly 48,000 virus-related deaths statewide, according to Johns Hopkins. More than 25 million infections have been confirmed in the country since, resulting in more than 513,000 fatalities.
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Once the epicenter of the pandemic in the early spring of last year when the virus came to New York from Europe, the state became the first to mandate facial coverings and rebounded to have one of the lowest infection rates in the U.S. just weeks later.
Following a post-holiday winter spike of infections, New York again flattened the curve and has seen the positive infection rate drop from double digits in January to under 4 percent in recent weeks.
Hospitalizations have been cut nearly in half since that holiday spike, from nearly 9,300 to approximately 5,000 on March 1, and fatalities have dropped back to double digits following a small peak in January.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called Monday a day for reflection and noted that there were lessons to be learned during the beginning of the pandemic that no one could have been prepared for.
“This has been the longest year in the history of this city -- the longest year, the toughest year -- and a year where there was so much that we had to overcome together," he said on Monday.
"What I reflect on after a year is the heroism of New Yorkers. I reflect on the strength of New Yorkers, the fact that this city came back time and time again. We still have a fight ahead, but this is the last great battle.”
Cuomo, who has been avoiding his famed COVID-19 briefings recently as he navigates his way through multiple scandals, said in a statement on Monday that New York is inching toward the “light at the end of the tunnel.”
“It's been exactly one year since we first identified COVID in New York, and while we've made incredible progress towards defeating it, testing and vaccinating more and more New Yorkers, we need to stay vigilant," Cuomo's statement said. "Our ongoing effort to get shots in arms is producing increasing numbers of sites where New Yorkers can get vaccinated, but we're going to need more supply to reach enough residents to put a serious dent in the virus' spread."
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