NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Friday, September 11, marks six months since the first coronavirus cases were announced in New Mexico, and a lot has changed.
New Mexicans have seen businesses close and reopen with added health safety measures, and students started a school year online. On March 11, 2020, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and her health advisors passed around hand sanitizer at the start of a news conference where she announced the first COVID-19 cases in the state.
“We now have three cases, two in Socorro County, one in Bernalillo County,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said, during the March 11th news conference. “I am declaring a public health emergency,” Gov. Lujan Grisham added.
In the months that followed New Mexico saw cases climb, surging in July with more than 300 new daily cases announced. Statewide, businesses have closed, some permanently, while others started new ventures.
“We have so many customers supporting,” said Yuko Kawashimo. She and her husband opened a bakery in Nob Hill in the midst of the pandemic. “Huge, good change, but because of COVID it’s like challenging too, but we try to keep going lately,” she added.
Lately, COVID-19 cases are trending down again. Like so many things, regular news conferences are now virtual, with social distancing and mask-wearing now a common thing.
Daily case averages are now below the state’s goal of 168 cases per day. “We don’t get the best numbers we’ve had in four to six months unless people are staying at home, they’re wearing their masks, they’re not going to large gatherings,” said Dr. David Scrase, Secretary for the Human Services Department, during a September 10th news briefing.
“The changes that have affected me are the same that have affected everybody else,” said Richard Araiza. He’s lived in New Mexico for 35 years and seen a lot of changes.
“I know a lot of businesses have failed,” said Araiza. “It’s encouraging to see a few new ones like Ihatov and the donut shop across the street. I wish them well.”
Araiza said he’s tried to make positive changes. “We don’t watch TV,” he said. “I read a lot of books, I’m reading about two books a week.”
While Araiza misses going to the movies and casually eating out like he used to, he’s also happy to support local businesses trying to survive. “I’m hoping that breathes a little bit of life into the economy,” he said.
More big changes happened this week as lots of younger kids headed back to school in a hybrid model. Most middle and high-schoolers are still doing online school.
Looking ahead to winter, state health officials are hopeful a COVID-19 vaccine could be available to the public by January.
- Tracking Coronavirus in New Mexico
- Tracking Coronavirus in Navajo Nation
- Trendline Charts: New Mexico Coronavirus Cases by County, by Day