Today marks the one-year anniversary of the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Maine. It feels surreal that we’ve been at this for a whole year. To date, the coronavirus has infected more than 46,000 Mainers and claimed the lives of more than 700 of them, as well as the lives of more than 525,000 Americans.
One year ago today, life was very different, and we mourn that normalcy as well. We are all gravely aware that COVID-19 has also claimed the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands nationwide – restaurants, hotels, arenas, boutiques, manufacturers, family businesses, and unfortunately, so many others. Few have been immune to its impact. Since the early days of the pandemic here, businesses and their employees stepped up in extraordinary ways to face this adversity head on and to aid their communities wherever a need arose. As we continue to write this chapter of our history, it is likely that the past year will be among the biggest challenges of our lifetime.
But, history also reminds us that Mainers are notoriously resilient. In countless, profound ways, the pandemic has both tested and highlighted that resilience. In the months and years to come, Mainers will continue to face challenges and obstacles, mourn lost loved ones, search for employment amidst economic uncertainty, find ways to safely connect with family and friends, and employ creative measures to keep their businesses alive. Simultaneously, as more vaccines make their way into the arms of Mainers, there is an undercurrent of hope spreading quietly throughout our state.