» It’s hard to believe we’re approaching a year of COVID-19 restrictions, shutdowns and fatigue. It’s definitely been a rollercoaster of a ride.

When you look back to where we were this time last year, the world has managed to achieve a lot, and that’s a cause for celebration. Last March, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Many thought COVID-19 would go away within a few weeks and life would go back to normal in no time. We also didn’t know how many lives would end up being affected by it, nor how many lives would be lost.

Fast forward to today, we know how this virus spreads and many of the symptoms people will experience. We’ve got those masks on our face and are adhering to social distancing whenever we can. And, of course, we have vaccines available which offer hope to all of us.

It’s been a long year, and no one can tell you about it better than the five men we have featured in our magazine this month. You might recognize their names and faces, but you might not know that all of them have dealt with COVID-19 at some point in the last year.

Jay Tamsi, president/CEO of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and co-founder of the Kern County Latino COVID-19 Task Force, was among some of the first individuals in Kern County to be diagnosed with COVID-19. At that time, when doctors and scientists were just figuring out how this new virus impacted people, Tamsi felt so isolated and scared, not knowing exactly what would happen to him. But as the months went on, and more people were falling ill, more information was available. By the time Jim Scott, a KGET anchor, was diagnosed in January, he felt like he knew a lot about COVID-19 and how he could take care of himself. Today, he’s encouraging people who have recovered to donate convalescent plasma.

These five men wanted to share their stories to educate fellow Kern County residents and give them hope for brighter days. We all need a little bit of hope, and I want to thank them for being so candid with us all.

There’s been a lot of growing and learning, and there’s always room for more, but the world has definitely made strides in 12 months. Today, we’re celebrating those victories. Tomorrow, we’re rolling up our sleeves and continuing the fight.

And while we’re looking forward to brighter days, remember to celebrate the women in your lives for Women’s History Month!

Ema Sasic

Editor

661-395-7392

Ema Sasic can be reached at 661-395-7392. Follow her on Twitter: @ema_sasic.