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Thank you to all who keep us safe

Last spring, while the world was hopeful the coronavirus pandemic would be short-lived, it seemed as if Northeast Michigan might be spared entirely. While cases piled up mostly in the Detroit area, Northeast Michigan went weeks without a single infection.

Then, on April 6, 2020 — one year ago today — an Onaway paramedic working in Otsego County became the first Northeast Michigander infected.

In the year since, the coronavirus made it clear it would spare no one.

As of today, Alpena, Presque Isle, Montmorency, and Alcona counties have recorded a combined more than 3,000 infections and lost more than 100 residents to the virus.

But it could have been much worse, and, today, with three vaccines rolling out, we see hope on the rise.

So, as we mark this sad anniversary, we want to take a moment to say thanks to everyone who worked hard to keep us safe.

Thanks to every doctor, nurse, and other health care professional for treating the thousands of Northeast Michiganders who’ve survived infection. Thanks to every public health official, health care provider, pharmacists, and others who taught us how to protect ourselves, who tested us, and who now vaccinate us. Thanks to every volunteer who helped them do so.

And thanks to every Northeast Michigander who put in the hard work, wearing their mask, washing their hands, staying home when necessary, and staying six feet away from strangers. You have undoubtedly saved lives.

Thanks to every volunteer who ran a food bank, who sewed a mask, who worked through a charity or did anything to make the past dark year a little brighter, a little more tolerable.

It seems as if we’re on our way out of this mess.

Thanks to everyone who kept us safe long enough to get there.

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