NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It was two years ago this week when the first person tested positive for COVID-19 in Davidson County. A lot has changed since then, including how we handle the coronavirus.
Two years ago, we were just learning about the new coronavirus. Now, the word is part of our everyday life.
Dr. Alex Jahangir went from his full-time job as a trauma surgeon to also being the head of the Metro's Coronavirus Task Force.
"While there's been lots of ups and downs over the past two years, where we are today is so much better than where we were two years ago," he said.
Metro Nashville had its first positive COVID-19 case two years ago.
To date, nearly 207,000 people have tested positive and more than 1,500 have died from the disease, according to the Metro Public Health Department.
It was shortly after the announcement of the first case when Davidson County's safer-at-home order was established. Gatherings with more than 10 people were discouraged. All businesses not performing essential services had to close.
As the positive cases continued to climb, many restaurants went from half capacity to closed for business, the music on Broadway was put on pause and mask-wearing and social distancing were mandatory.
During this time, Jahangir says we saw that kindness wasn't canceled, the importance of treatment for mental health and the need to tackle health disparities in minority communities.
"I feel very optimistic today compared to...where we were...years ago now," he said.
Jahangir credits the city's success two years later to the speediness of creating vaccines and the determination of front-line workers.
"I think the past two years has shown us what can happen when a lot of people come together," Jahangir said. "And in this case, scientific community, medical community, lowering of red tape in order to really get a quick understanding of this virus...I do think we'll continue to be able to go back to everything we've done and hopefully, this chapter in our history as a world, as a city, will be behind us."
Jahangir credits the federal government's Operation Warp Speed for getting vaccines to the populace as quickly as it did.
Jahangir will publish a book about his first year of the pandemic as head of the city's Coronavirus Task Force. The book will be available on September 15, 2022.