Mass. Approaches 3-Year Anniversary of 1st Confirmed COVID Case

Just over 2,000,000 cases have been confirmed in Massachusetts since Feb. 1, 2020

This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2
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This week will mark the third anniversary of the confirmation that COVID-19 had arrived in Massachusetts.

The first case confirmed by the Department of Public Health was in a UMass Boston student who had just traveled from Wuhan, China — the epicenter of the pandemic. The announcement was made on Feb. 1, 2020, and it marked just the eighth case to be the confirmed in the U.S., and the first on the East Coast.



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But the student may not have been the first person with COVID in Boston. Researchers at Northeastern University later found that the virus was likely circulating in Boston and elsewhere earlier than initially believed.

On Friday, Massachusetts passed the 2,000,000-case mark, while the death toll stands at 21,826.

After the first case was confirmed, the number of cases began to rise and, as the pandemic set in, daily life changed dramatically. Businesses shut down in-person activities, hospitals faced a deluge of patients, masks became required in most public places and scientists raced to test and develop vaccines.

Since then, COVID-19 has become a part of daily life — the latest surge in cases prompted some school districts to require or recommend students wear masks indoors, but such requirements weren't widespread, like they were before vaccines became widely available.

Last year, noting the second anniversary of Massachusetts' first confirmed COVID case, Commissioner of Public Health Margret Cooke said the state was in a much better place than a year before.

"With vaccines and boosters and new COVID-19 therapeutic treatments, we are in a much better place than we were at this time last year," she told the Public Health Council.

State House News Service contributed to this report.

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