The events of the last year – brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic – have tried our State and country like never before. But through it all – Nevadans remained determined, resilient and strong.
I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the events of the past year for our State. Through all the ups and downs, Nevadans have come together to support our families, friends and other loved ones through unimaginable tragedies. As of today, we have lost more than 5,000 of our fellow Nevadans to this devastating virus.
That’s 5,000 of our neighbors, our friends, and our family members. The loss is incalculable. The devastation will leave a permanent mark.
We will continue to honor each of their legacies – we will never forget the love and comfort they gave to us when they were here – and we will continue to hold them close in our hearts.
During these challenging times, we have seen the very best of the Nevada spirit – through the heroes that continue to help us get through these challenging times. The doctors, nurses, caregivers, faith leaders, public employees, business leaders, educators, the Nevada National Guard and the many others working on the frontlines of this crisis over the last year. That includes all those caring for our Veterans throughout Nevada who have served our country.
While March 5 marks the anniversary of the first presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Nevada, many of our public health professionals were preparing long prior to that, following updates from across the country and across the globe to help prepare our State as much as possible for a virus that we knew almost nothing about at the time.
The dedication and steadfast determination of these Nevadans has helped our State tremendously. From providing guidance on mitigation measures, to caring for and sitting with patients in the ICU or now, administering shots of hope through the COVID-19 vaccine, I am immensely grateful to all those who have played a part in our response.
It hasn’t been an easy year, Nevada. On more than one occasion over the last 365 days, it felt like we were on our own—left to navigate this historic global pandemic and national crisis by ourselves as a state. But we didn’t give in and we didn’t give up even when we were repeatedly tested. And we have been tested.
In fact, it’s easy to make the case that Nevada has faced the greatest challenges in the past year. It’s no secret that the biggest industry in our State is hospitality and tourism. It provides the most jobs and the most direct revenue to fund our schools and provide critical services.
And it’s also not a secret that the hospitality and tourism industry has been among the hardest hit by this pandemic. And for a year, and still to this day, we have been tasked with navigating the great balance between protecting public health and the need to protect our economy and keep people employed.
It will go down as the one of the greatest challenges our State has ever faced, and the decisions haven’t been easy.
But a year into this pandemic, I can say that despite the odds against us, despite every obstacle being thrown our way, this pandemic did not break us, and it will not break us. We stood up assistance programs in record time, we continue to work every day on reopening our economy, and we are ranked at the top of the list of states who are administering doses of the COVID vaccine.
When it comes to big challenges, Nevadans work together to overcome them – that’s our way. This is a somber milestone and anniversary, but I am filled with hope for what comes next. I hope you are too.
Please, continue to follow our mitigation measures as we head together toward brighter days. That includes staying home when you are sick, wearing a mask when you’re around folks from outside your household, practicing social distancing and when you are eligible, getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Together, we are getting through this. Thank you.