A year of COVID headlines

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CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) – 2020 was a year no one saw coming.

”It’s really the unknown,” Mary Ellen Kochis Rouillard, the Chief Nursing Officer for Beaumont Hospital, said. “We are in a perfect storm.”

As the ball dropped in New York City a year ago, around the country there was hope for 2021. Especially with the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We will reach the point where we will be able to get back to doing things the way we did before,” Dr., Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said.

In Central Illinois, as the new year started, schools across the region were working on a plan for the rest of the year and how they would keep students and staff safe.

“All superintendents, all school boards, we want our kids in front of us, all day under normal and regular conditions,” Alicia Geddis, Danville Superintendent, said.

In May, Governor Pritzker lifted the mask mandate for anyone fully vaccinated, but it wouldn’t last long. By the end of August, the mask mandate was back in place for everyone two years old or older.

“We’re used to it. We did it all last year when we were open, so it won’t be too hard for us. All the students are wearing them anyway, per their class and university. So, it won’t be too bad,” Diana Emery, the manager of Ragstock, said.

Restaurants and bars were settling into phase 4 of the reopening plan at the start of the year. Then, ready for phase 5 by the summer.

“This is certainly a relief to get to this point. When COVID first started, we thought it was going to maybe be a couple of weeks of us sort of locking down, and getting through this, and then it kept going on, and on and into the winter. So, after going through this for some time, it is a sense of relief to finally be getting back to normal.” Gayle Starks, the owner of Neil St. blues, said.

Now, as the Omicron variant surges across the country, and COVID cases climb again, we all wait for the ball to drop to bring in 2022, and all it has in store.

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