Three years ago this week, the world essentially started to shut down as COVID-19 began to spread across the globe, including finding its way into our little pocket here in the Valley.

The first Pennsylvania cases were confirmed on March 7, 2020. A week later, there were a dozen cases in one day, which led to the statewide shutdown of schools, businesses and just about every kind of social event. COVID hit the Valley about a week after that with the first cases in Montour County.

It is easy to forget what we didn’t know back then and how scared a lot of people were. The fear of not knowing what we don’t know is a lot to overcome. Some still have scars.

At least 3.5 million Pennsylvanians have been infected by COVID-19 over the last 36 months, including more than 58,000 in the Valley. Those two numbers represent more than a quarter of the statewide and local populations.

More than 50,000 Pennsylvania residents have died due to complications from the coronavirus. In that total are more than 1,000 Valley residents, more than half in Northumberland County.

The number of cases continues to decline but remains frustratingly high, still in the thousands each week. At least 100 Pennsylvanians have died from COVID in 31 of the last 32 weeks. The number of hospitalizations — another important data point to judge the pandemic’s strain on society — which pushed the system over the first year of the pandemic, has declined for 10 consecutive weeks and locally is at its lowest since August.

It does feel like we have learned to live with COVID. Some are still wearing masks in crowded areas. Some are still avoiding crowds altogether. Hundreds of people are still getting vaccinated each week, first and second shots, boosters too.

Hospitals have learned how to effectively treat patients. Those who may have died in the early weeks and months of the pandemic are being treated and sent home.

But for the most part, everyday life has seemingly resumed and that’s a good thing. We are able to do this now because many of us have done the right thing from the beginning or learning as the science gave us more information on the fly. We got vaccinated when the shots became available, isolated and stayed home from work if sick and sacrificed time and experiences to emerge from a global pandemic.

It has been a painful and difficult three years for us all. Some difficult times may still be ahead, but we have made it this far.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Editor William Bowman.

Trending Video