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Today marks one year since first COVID case in the United States

Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 6:41 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -It’s been one year since the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in the United States. The first case was a man in Washington who had traveled to Wuhan, China where the pandemic began. Since then there have been over 24 million cases in our country, 307,000 of them have been right here in Iowa.

“We are far, far from the end yet,” says Dr. Jorge Salinas, a Hospital Epidemiologist at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

In Iowa alone there have been over 4,300 deaths from the virus.

Lynne Rothrock of Cedar Rapids says the recent rollout of vaccines made her feel like we were getting over the hump until she got news her longtime friend Jeff Lisenby of Nashville died of the virus earlier this month.

“To learn that a friend of mine who was healthy and thriving was just suddenly dead was really a shock because I, I had mentally put it on the backburner and it was too soon,” Rothrock told us.

The virus is still taking lives like Jeff’s.

“Jeff was just the greatest guy, just a brilliant musician,” Rothrock says.

Dr. Salinas told us it’s important for people to continue things like social distancing and wearing masks, he says it is too soon to let our guards down.

“Let’s say that we have 30% of people who have immunity either through natural infection or vaccination, that means that there’s 70% of Iowans who are susceptible to COVID. So yes, no we are not out of the woods,” he says.

While we may not be out of the woods yet, the vaccines are bringing hope which is something we can’t get enough of right now.

Residents at The Keystones of Cedar Rapids retirement community got their vaccines last week and with them, some relief. They celebrated with COVID-19 themed cookies.

“I have more confidence and everything. And also I’m thankful we could get it,” says Robinette Sage, one of the residents at The Keystones.

Little by little we will get there, but as Rothrock remembers her friend she wants others to remember we aren’t quite there yet.

“We must be vigilant we cannot stop,” she told us.

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