A Year in Review: COVID-19’s Impact on Palm Beach County
One year ago, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, and the nation soon descended into fear. Aisles of grocery stores were left empty, toilet paper, water, and other essential goods were sold in earnest. Millions were laid-off their jobs or shifted to remote learning and social distancing became the new norm.
Socially, the nation might never feel the same, and our adjustment period is still continuing one year later. Economically, the nation and individual households were devastated. Medically, the nation forced first responders and essential workers to become the backbone of our society.
This year proved to be challenging as the United States was forced to adapt from our normal social and busy lives to a complete halt on activity to preserve public health and safety. However, we can see through documented statistics during this pandemic, the country reopened, and it exacerbated cases.
There are few statistics from the beginning of the pandemic, but during the summer of 2020, information has become more readily available through each state’s Department of Health and Dr. Anthony Fauci’s public statements.
On June 12, 2020, there were 8,209 total COVID-19 cases in Palm Beach County. March 11, 2020, shows 124,230 total cases. On June 12, the Palm Beach County government began to reopen the county claiming the curve had been flattened and it was time to reopen the economy.
“With the flattening of the curve accomplished, we are now watching certain metrics to ensure that we are not seeing a new surge,” County Commissioner and Palm Beach County Vice Mayor Robert Weinroth said in June 2020.
As of June 19, 2020, there were 464 deaths in Palm Beach County, on March 11, 2021, there are 2,528 deaths in Palm Beach County.
Face masks were made mandatory in Palm Beach County on June 23 in an attempt to combat the spread of COVID-19, and this policy was met with aggressive complaints by citizens.
“You’re not listening to ‘We The People’, you made your decision,” one citizen, Butch Diaz argued on June 23, 2020. “You do not care about ‘We The People.’ It’s pathetic. It breaks my heart because I would die for the flag, I would die for the country and I would die for the Constitution. And you guys are supposed to uphold the Constitution. But you know what? You didn’t. You let ‘We The People’ down.”
Palm Beach County leaders continued with their plan to mandate facial coverings and chose to prioritize the overall safety and health of all citizens, citing Dr. Alina Alonso, Palm Beach County’s Department of Health Director’s advice. Dr. Alonso advocated for the use of masks to protect people by wearing a mask.
COVID-19 was a polarizing political issue that was one of the main topics for every election cycle since. COVID-19 was one of the main issues in the presidential election and trickled into local politics too, being noted throughout Boca City Council’s recent election cycle.
From June 12, 2020, to June 19, 2020, there was a massive growth of COVID-19 cases with an increase from 8,209 positive cases to 10,116 positive cases.
Positive COVID-19 cases exploded throughout the summer as testing became more widely available. In this year in review, we can see advancements made, but also faults exposed by this virus.
There is an estimated end in sight by Dr. Anthony Fauci, but pandemic fatigue has plagued our nation. Many have lost hope in a return to normalcy despite three variations of the vaccine being distributed now.
After a tumultuous year of adapting to a new socially distanced society, hope can be found in one of the vaccines for COVID-19. Currently, 5,791,074 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered with 3,784,870 total people completely vaccinated.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has projected for late spring to become “open season” in terms of vaccinations, with doses being readily available for all people.
There are nearly two million positive COVID-19 cases in Florida as of March 11. There were 89,748 positive COVID-19 cases in Florida on June 12. Despite the massive growth of COVID-19 cases, normalcy is projected to return in late December by The White House.