GREEN BAY, Wis.— One year ago Thursday the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak to be a global pandemic.
Stephan Walker says the past twelve months have proven to be quite difficult. He says it’s flown by in all but one regard.
“That painstakingly slow [part] is the not [having] the opportunity to go see family,” said the Flintville resident. “I’ve had the chance to see my mom just twice in the last year and that breaks my heart.”
Prevea Health president and CEO Ashok Rai said the pandemic has been emotional for him. He’s spent the last year on the front lines planning the fight against the virus.
Rai says when he thinks back on the last twelve months he only feels one thing.
“It’s an overwhelming wave of sadness to be honest with you, for everybody,” Rai said. “Over half a million citizens… gone. We’ve lost patients as a practicing physician. I’ve lost family. It is something that I never thought we would ever see in a lifetime and we saw it in such a compressed amount of time. A year is not that long.”
Matt Fisher reflects but with an eye to the future. He would like to be able to see friends again. He manages Broken Spoke Bike Studio in Green Bay.
“It’ll be nice when we can all got to a live music venue or something or just even kind of go back to backyard cookouts and stuff,” Fisher said.
Rai says we can get back to that, but now isn’t the time to go back to life as it was before COVID-19.
“It’s important to remind everybody, just because we don’t mean game over,” Rai says. “This is the hardest part of the race.”
He says another surge in cases could wipe away all gains made against the virus. Rai says we can avoid that if we all keep following safety measures while more people get vaccinated against the virus.