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Moments of fear and sadness have been replaced with hope

In looking back through our archives, there are nearly 600 stories that we classified as related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When I saw that number I was shocked — not because of what some might say is a lot, but rather at how low that number seemed. I would have sworn it was far more.

For more than a year, my team at The Post has covered — rather documented — the COVID-19 pandemic in our community. For more than a year, we have written more and learned more about this virus than we could have ever learned or written about any other topic.

This virus, and the coverage of it, has consumed every part of our lives.

I can remember the frantic pace at which we covered the first case when it was confirmed on March 29, 2020. I remember the feeling of fret and concern as Warren County had for so long held off on joining the list of counties with confirmed cases.

I then remember the sadness on April 6, when we reported the first virus-related death.

But through all the stories, there are two things I remember most about the past year and this pandemic.

The first is the image of a good friend, Rick Daughtry, who works for the city, putting caution tape around a playground in my neighborhood in the early days of the pandemic. The move was part of early shutdowns and restrictions aimed at mitigating the spread of the virus.

At the time, I remember the feeling of sadness coming over me watching a swing set taped off, preventing children from enjoying the spring weather, especially after schools had been shuttered and all learning moved to virtual.

The second was sitting on my couch, next to my wife — again in the early days of the pandemic — and being nearly overcome with fear about my family, specifically my children.

I was convinced that it was only a matter of time before I would contract the virus and spread it to Stephanie and the kids.

As I continued to work outside the home, covering the pandemic, I was sure I would be the one to bring it home, and I am just a journalist who writes stories and takes photos. Think about the concern and worry frontline medical workers must have felt as some of them moved to different parts of their homes, segregating themselves from their loved ones, their children.

In fact, writing this, I can feel my heartbeat perk up remembering that moment and resigning myself to not if, but when.

While some might consider themselves lucky to not have contracted the virus, I and my family have been blessed. We have known people who have fought the virus and won, and those who have fought the virus and lost. Even today, we have friends who are in hospitals, on ventilators fighting for their lives, and others who are still overcoming the effects of lengthy battles.

In the past few weeks, both Stephanie and I have had our first doses of the vaccine and I am just days away from the second dose. And, I say that not to toot my own horn for stepping up and doing what I need to do to protect myself and my family, but to celebrate what a difference a year makes.

While there are still those fighting and dying from this virus, the fear and sadness I felt in those first few days and weeks have constantly moved to hope. What was a feeling of when, not if, has been replaced with celebrating the battles won, accomplishments made, and obstacles overcome.

In a recent interview with Dr. Dan Edney, the state’s chief medical officer and my physician at Medical Associates of Vicksburg, he said the amazingly quick development of not just one vaccine, but three, is not just an accomplishment of man and technology, but an accomplishment of divine intervention. I could not agree more.

From those first days of the pandemic, my family has remained healthy, my children have been able to go to school and my daughter and her teammates have been able to continue playing softball — a game they cherish, and a game that ultimately will be the physical and fiscal death of me.

As we mark the one-year anniversary of the first case of COVID-19 being confirmed in Warren County, it is a moment where I take pause, reflect on the past year; reflect on some of the darkest moments and those worthy of true celebration. This is also a time where I stand even more committed to doing the things that I know keep me and my family safe.

This milestone is not the finish line. There is more work to do, steps to take and stories to tell.

Tim Reeves is editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at tim.reeves@vicksburgpost.com.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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