A Year of COVID

At the beginning of 2020, most of us probably didn’t even know what an N95 mask was. Since then, roughly 90,000 Nashvillians have contracted the illness known worldwide as COVID-19. That means somewhere in the neighborhood of 13 of every 100 Davidson County residents has tested positive for the virus, with the fatality rate hovering around 0.7 percent.

COVID-19 has impacted Nashvillians in countless ways, and its fallout will surely continue to affect us even after the cases and fatalities have finally subsided. In this issue, we explore how the virus has hit Nashville over the past 12 months — from the restaurant and music-venue worlds to public education, transit and beyond.

A Year of COVID

The Human Cost

More than 11,000 Tennesseans have died from this virus. Is it possible to adequately acknowledge our grief?

By Steven Hale


Back to School

A year into the pandemic, challenges continue for MNPS students and staff

By Stephen Elliott


The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

Independent venues hold on until the Small Business Administration delivers promised federal relief

By Stephen Trageser


Routing Interest

Federal aid has kept WeGo afloat during the pandemic, but the agency hopes for increased local funding

By Alejandro Ramirez


Feeding the Community

Local free stores have stepped up to fill important holes in the food supply

By Chris Chamberlain


COVID-19 timeline

Jan. 21, 2020: Centers for Disease Control confirms the first U.S. case of COVID-19 in Washington state

Jan. 31, 2020: World Health Organization issues a global health emergency as the worldwide death toll tops 200

Feb. 3, 2020: The Trump administration declares a public health emergency

March 5, 2020: Gov. Bill Lee confirms the first case of COVID-19 in Tennessee — a 44-year-old male from Williamson County

March 8, 2020: Mayor John Cooper confirms the first case of COVID-19 in Davidson County — an adult woman with no travel history

March 11, 2020: Metro Nashville Public Schools announce closure; SEC announces men’s basketball tournament cancellation

March 12, 2020: Gov. Lee declares statewide state of emergency

March 15, 2020: Mayor Cooper closes bars throughout Davidson County and limits restaurant capacity; the city later limits restaurants to carryout only

March 20, 2020: Nashville surpasses 100 cases of COVID-19; the Metro Public Health Department confirms Nashville’s first coronavirus death — a 73-year-old man with underlying health conditions

March 23, 2020: Metro Nashville’s “Safer at Home” order goes into effect, closing all nonessential businesses and urging Nashvillians to stay home

March 24, 2020: Gov. Lee calls in National Guard to aid in expanded testing

March 27, 2020: Tennessee surpasses 1,000 cases

April 2, 2020: Gov. Lee issues statewide “stay at home” executive order, effective through April 14; he later extends the order

April 6, 2020: Nashville surpasses 1,000 cases

April 7, 2020: Metro Nashville releases COVID-19 “heatmap” showing a high number of cases in densely populated areas like Edgehill and Antioch; singer John Prine becomes one of Nashville’s first high-profile COVID-19 deaths

April 30, 2020: Nashville extends “Safer at Home” order to May 8

May 1, 2020: Trousdale Turner Correctional Center and Bledsoe County Correctional Complex develop two of the country’s worst outbreaks

May 4, 2020: More than 100 people experiencing homelessness at the Nashville Rescue Mission and temporary Fairgrounds Nashville site test positive for COVID-19

May 19, 2020: Every county in Tennessee is confirmed to have had at least one COVID-19 case

May 27, 2020: The U.S. surpasses 100,000 total deaths

June 25, 2020: Bonnaroo 2020 — after initially being postponed until September — is canceled, moves to streaming fest

June 26, 2020: Metro Board of Health directs health officials to order Nashville residents to wear face coverings in public

June 27, 2020: Nashville surpasses 100 deaths

July 29, 2020: Tennessee surpasses 1,000 deaths

Sept. 11, 2020: Tennessee surpasses 2,000 deaths

Sept. 19, 2020: Gov. Lee removes all business restrictions

Dec. 7, 2020: Tennessee surpasses 5,000 deaths

Dec. 16, 2020: Days after the Pfizer vaccine is approved by the FDA, Nashville surgeon Dr. William Polk receives the first administered dose in Tennessee

Dec. 18, 2020: Tennessee cases hit record high; the state is identified as the worst location in the U.S. for infection rates

Dec. 20, 2020: Gov. Lee limits gatherings to 10 people, refuses to issue mask mandate

Jan. 7, 2021: Nashville surpasses 500 deaths; city officials announce that they’ll begin vaccinating residents 75 and older by appointment

Jan. 12, 2021: Nashville surpasses 10,000 cases

Jan. 30, 2021: Metro Nashville Public Health begins administering COVID-19 vaccinations at Music City Center

Feb. 3, 2021: Tennessee surpasses 10,000 deaths less than two months after hitting the 5,000 mark

Feb. 10, 2021: Meharry Medical College President James Hildreth and Goodlettsville’s Bobby Watts are named to President Biden’s COVID-19 Task Force

Feb. 22, 2021: The U.S. surpasses 500,000 total deaths

A Year of COVID

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