Locals reflect two years after first cases of COVID-19 found in Wuhan

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) (Photo: CDC)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) —Local residents, a business, and a health official  spoke with WWAY about how things have changed for them 2 years after the first recorded cases of COVID-19 found in Wuhan, China, that developed into the pandemic.

In an unclassified summary of assessment on COVID-19’s origin released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, COVID-19 probably emerged and infected humans no later than November of 2019, eventually exploding into a pandemic.

Amanda Mayberry and Tricia Meredith are both mothers of young children under the age of 5, and say the pandemic impacted their children, and social interactions in their early childhood.

“My kids first birthday was very difficult, because it was right when COVID started, so having a birthday party was kind of complicated, and her having to wear a mask the first couple years of her life I don’t know that she understands why she had to do it,” said Amanda Mayberry, parent.

Meredith said she had concerns about her son entering preschool when the pandemic initially began, not knowing what to expect.

“I feel like I actually waited longer than I actually wanted to put him in pre-school, just because starting pre-school was kind of nerve-wreaking for me and my husband. We we’re just kind of wondering lik how often he was going to get sick, if he was going to catch COVID, if he was going to bring it home to our new baby, like things like that,” said Tricia Meredith, parent.

Front Street Brewery in downtown Wilmington had to make multiple adjustments to its business model, when the pandemic created challenges, as restaurants across the country and state had to limit indoor seating or close their doors.

“We’re just now starting to offer our event space for booking private events again. So, it’s taken us a year and a half to get to that point, so we’ll continue to morph, we’ll continue to grow, continue to adapt. I think that’s the biggest takeaway from the entire endeavor, is that we’ve got to adapt,” said Ellie Craig, Front Street Brewery’s spokesperson.

Dr. Jonathan Hines, chief medical officer at Wilmington Health, said for health care systems the increased use of telehealth and virtual appointments has been well received with many patients and doctors looking forward to using it beyond the pandemic.

Hines said  one challenge is the increased stress on nurses and doctors, which may continue to be an issue even when the pandemic fully ends.

“This is a novel virus, that we were faced with, and this is why it’s had such repercussions. I think some people are going to be much more weary of respiratory viruses. I think we have a long way to go to get everybody on the same page here,” said Jonathan Hines.

“I think COVID’s definitely taught us how to be super considerate towards others and to be a little more sensitive to what other people are going through, and how us being sick could impact their lives,” said Meredith.

As COVID-19 restrictions have loosened across the country and state, and adults and children have been deemed eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, many are hopeful the pandemic is near an end.

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