COVID-19 Remembrance Day commemorates over 19,000 lost lives in Virginia | State and regional news
COVID-19 Remembrance Day commemorates over 19,000 lost lives in Virginia |  State and regional news

COVID-19 Remembrance Day commemorates over 19,000 lost lives in Virginia | State and regional news

Share. Delores McQuinn, D-Richmond, state and local representatives gathered at Virginia Union University on Monday to pray in memory of the Virginians who lost their lives to COVID-19.

As of March 14, 2022, nearly 80 million Americans have received COVID-19, and 964,774 people have died from it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Virginia, over 19,000 people died after getting the virus, 476 of those people were from Richmond, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

McQuinn sponsored the decision, which designated March 14 as the victims of COVID-19 Remembrance Day – the day James City County reported the first coronavirus death in the Commonwealth – to honor those who have lost loved ones during this pandemic.

“We need to be reminded that the pandemic is not gone, but a change is on the way,” McQuinn said.

McQuinn, Democratic Leader of the House Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and members of the faith-based community spoke to the audience about how the state has overcome the bulk of the coronavirus attack, but the fight is not over.

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McQuinn remembered her own experience with the virus when she, her husband, her daughter and grandchildren all got coronavirus. She said she remembers kneeling behind her bedroom door and praying they would all overcome the virus, but two years later her husband is still recovering from the aftermath.

“It’s just a small impact that this virus has had on many people’s lives,” McQuinn said. “I know people lying in bed and they need someone to wait for them all day long. That’s the effect of this virus.”

Mayor Stoney recalled that around this time in March two years ago, before Virginia’s stay-at-home order, Richmonders was preparing for Shamrock the Block. Today, residents still feel the heavy grief of not being able to see a family member sitting across from them during the holidays.

“I can only imagine that many of us did not believe we would be two years inside a pandemic,” Stoney said. “As head of government, I look back over the last two years, and you can feel the collective trauma that we have all experienced. But I also think that we as heads of government must also say that mistakes were made.”

Stoney acknowledged that the pandemic has had an exponentially negative impact on black and brown communities. The CDC says blacks, African Americans, Hispanics, and Hispanics are more than twice as likely to get COVID-19 because of underlying conditions as their socioeconomic status, access to health care, and employment.

Share. Filler-Corn, who delivered his remarks virtually, said that while some Virginians were fortunate enough to work from home and continue living their lives through secure means, others did not have that opportunity.

“We know that was not the case for many front-line employees,” Filler-Corn said. “We know that the virus disproportionately affected Virginia by color, and we know that some of us were able to stay safe at home and others did not have the opportunity.”

Filler-Corn thanked McQuinn for sponsoring the bill and for bringing together pastors and faith-based communities to pray over the loss of health, loss of stability, and spiritual restoration.

After prayers, McQuinn rang the bell on VUU’s campus 19 times in memory of people like Kelvin Allen, 58, of Richmond. His mother Louise Allen attended today’s ceremony with her framed university portrait and funeral program.

Allen said her son attended VUU many years ago. He was a high school and college sports star, and his teammates gave him the nickname “Skull Murphy”. She said he had lived in Atlanta, Ga. Before returning to Richmond to take care of his family.

It is in Virginia where he received COVID-19 and died on September 23, 2021, 20 days after his birthday.

“I know we should all go, but I never thought he would go this way. It’s heartbreaking right here,” Allen said as she grabbed hold of her son’s portrait. “Seven days a week.”

Allen said she prays for her son every day, and even though the pain in her heart is still there, events like today can be uplifting, things get better every day.

“When you get up in the morning and you do not know what to do, you do not know what to say, you walk by and look at this picture,” Allen said. “I like to stand there for a moment and look at it….it’s really sad in the beginning, then it gets a little better. “

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