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.
Editor’s Note: For the past year, Melissa Marietta, Fly Creek, SUNY Oneonta director of career development, has chronicled her family’s year with COVID-19. This was posted on Facebook March 15, the anniversary of Otsego County’s state of emergency.
The sun shines! The temp rises above freezing! I’m here to check in.
It’s the anniversary of The Last Friday. We knew something weird and possibly dangerous was coming. With no real understanding of the situation, we all assumed it could be days, if not weeks, before we’d return to life as usual.
If we only knew. If only we’d gone to one last movie, one last dinner out, one last coffee with friends, or one last concert. If only we’d hugged one another one last time.
Twice this week, someone told me they wished they could hug me and I couldn’t find the words to tell them I want nothing more than to hug them right back. I miss so many things we took for granted.
Edited By MICHAEL FORSTER ROTHBART • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
Last March, SUNY Oneonta sent students home. Amidst massive disruption, Adjunct History Professor Ann Trainor was struck by the historic nature of the event. She encouraged her students and others to record diaries of their experiences.
Reading through these diary entries a year later feels like time travel, the experiences familiar while the perspectives seem naïve.
“I really thought we were going to come back to Oneonta at the end of March and this hysteria would be over,” student Maggie McCann wrote in mid-April. In July, looking back at her earlier entries, she commented that it “felt like it was written in a different decade, so much has happened since.”
Trainor collaborated with historians, librarians and others to create a blog-style website, “The Semester of Living Dangerously,” for the housebound campus. In the summer, with more than 100 diary entries, essays, poems and other writing shared, the organizers extended the project.
The blog continues to grow, and will be edited into an academic book to be published by SUNY Press in 2022. Below are a few excerpts from hundreds on the website.