Right now, COVID-19 cases are declining and some are returning to a sense of normalcy, but the pandemic has left a lasting impact.
Friday, March 11, is the two-year mark since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
“It has definitely been a rollercoaster ride,” said Dr. Mark Rupp with Nebraska Medicine.
In the earliest stages, some of the first Americans feared to have been exposed to the virus were quarantined in Camp Ashland after leaving Wuhan, China. None of them tested positive, and they were released after 14 days.
The State of Nebraska confirmed its first case on March 6, 2020. Two weeks later, Lincoln confirmed the city’s first case on March 20, 2020.
Doctors said there was a lot we did not know about COVID-19.
“We had no data to go off of as far as what therapies were useful or beneficial,” said Dr. Matt Maslanko, a Nebraska pulmonary doctor. “And a lot of that unknown created an environment of added stress to an already stressful situation.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 476,807 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nebraska, and 3,291 deaths.
Much of the pressure in the early stages was to make tests available as the virus began to spread.
“At first, you’ll have a lot of worried people coming through like what do I do and how do I handle this,” said Tiffany Martinez, Site Lead with Nomi Health. “Now that it’s been around for a while, it’s been easier to explain to people what to do and how to handle it.”
Along with uncertainty came highs, lows and new variants. Cases peaked in Nebraska this January, with more than 4,000 daily cases on average. Recently, it has dipped back below 100.
“It’s changed a lot, but it’s also been pretty good,” Martinez said. “It’s nice to see it go down.”
With cases and restrictions dropping again, there’s reason for optimism and continued caution.
“If there’s anything that we have learned is that things are somewhat unpredictable,” Dr. Rupp said.