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Events on 3/11 began a great interruption

Newsmaker of the Month: A date our lives became very different

Wednesday, March 11, 2020. For years to come, it will be the day the United States of America — and New York state in particular — began a screeching halt. We had all heard of the coronavirus, which was greatly affecting China, Italy and Europe. We just never expected to be in its path.

In a matter of eight hours on that day, state Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the State University of New York system would be shifting to online learning. A player on the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association tested positive leading to the league to suspend the season for the time being. Then, within the next hour, actor Tom Hanks and his wife let the world know they were battling the virus.

On March 12, America began going into shutdown mode. Major sports called it quits. Neighboring states were already closing schools.

Cuomo, for his part, was likely the most proactive elected representative from the start. He began daily briefings on what was happening with the virus before March. In that second week, as SUNY campuses shifted learning, was when our lives really became interrupted. Limits were made on gatherings and businesses. Restaurants could only serve takeout. And, barbershops with hair and nail salons being closed.

For its part, Chautauqua County also was a bit proactive. Going through our news files, one of the first mentions the Health Department makes is on Feb. 4. The department noted then that influenza was the greatest risk to residents at that time with no coronavirus concerns noted by the department.

Today, the flu is a worry, but not our priority.

Winter has transitioned to spring. Sports are nowhere to be found. Toilet paper is nearly extinct.

Yes, a lot has changed in 17 days.

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