The Pandemic Year • First Death On March 23, 2020
By MICHAEL FORSTER ROTHBART • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
On Monday morning, March 23, 2020, Otsego County confirmed its first case of coronavirus at a Fox clinic in Oneonta. Just three days later, the county recorded the first COVID-19 death.
Now, one year later, there have been over 3,500 positive cases here; 54 county residents have died from COVID-19 and related complications. At least eight former local residents are also known to have died from the virus. The deceased ranged in age from 55 to 103, with more women than men dying of COVID.
In tribute to the lives lost, are brief profiles of the fatalities identified in public records. Other families have chosen to keep the deaths anonymous.
LETTER from R. SCOTT DUNCAN
To the Editor:
Kindness is very powerful.
Many years ago I had surgery. The hospital kept me till the end of the day and then pushed me out the door and into a cab. They stuffed a prescription for pain killers in my hand.
I don’t remember filling the prescription, but I do remember the brutal pain of climbing up two flights of stairs to my apartment. Then collapsing into bed.
After a while, things simmered down and I got up and took the pain killers.
Many hundreds of years ago in Baghdad when you went into the hospital they would take your clothes and you would get a linen gown to wear. The beds had linen sheets!
When you were ready to leave they would give you your clothes back, all clean and fresh. They would also give you some money so you did not have to go back to work for the first week. That would give you some more time to heal.
Recently I was in the hospital for four days. A little while after I got home friends stopped by on two different occasions. They each brought me some food. It was a great thing to do for me. It made me feel connected. It’s nice to taste food that is made by different people.
I remember church suppers in the basement of the church. They were once a month. People would bring different dishes to pass.
Tomorrow, I am making a calamari and tomatoes stew. Pam is making fresh loaf of bread. Bread to dip into the stew to soak up the juices and to excite the taste buds.
We are going to take it to a special friend who has just gotten out of the hospital. I hope it helps her to recover faster. Plus, she won’t have to think about dinner for her family that night. Rest and relax.
Isn’t that why we are here: To help each other in times of need? It certainly helped me that time. I had forgotten how powerful the kindness of sharing food can be.
R. SCOTT DUNCAN