LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The pandemic that has ravaged the United States and the rest of the world officially began exactly one year ago, and in Nevada the recovery and vaccine rollout took another big step Thursday.
In a prime-time address to the nation, President Joe Biden remembered the long and trying year we have endured.
"Over a year ago, no one could imagine what we were about to go through," said President Biden.
"If we all do our part, our country will be vaccinated soon, our economy will be on the mend," he added.
Rewind to March 11, 2020, and at the time the novel coronavirus did not have an official name.
There were only 1,200 known cases in the United States, and in Clark County authorities said there were only two known cases and three presumptive positive cases.
The same night, President Donald Trump addressed the nation and announced an immediate and sweeping restriction on flights between the United States and European countries in an effort to stop infected people from entering the country.
The NBA suspended the season on March 11, 2020, after a player tested positive -- and stopped a game before a packed crowd.
T-Mobile Arena hosted the PAC-12 men's basketball tournament but barred fans from attending in person.
The beginning of closures and pullbacks from normal business operations was a new and uneasy feeling for many.
The complete shutdown in Sin City followed soon after and restrictions remain in place for many businesses.
One year later, life is getting back to business in some respects.
Effectively immediately, workers in the key Las Vegas restaurant, hospitality and casino sectors join Nevadan's 65 and older who are eligible for the vaccine.
"I think the biggest challenge here is that this is the first time in our living history that anything like this has ever been attempted," said Caleb Cage, Nevada's COVID-19 response director.
Cage has led the state's response since the beginning of the emergency and says the titanic effort to ramp up testing and contract tracing has given way to the challenge to vaccinate every adult Nevadan with newly developed vaccines.
"Everyone's goal is the same and that is to get as many Nevadans vaccinated as possible," said Cage.
State leaders say the path forward and returning to normalcy depends on the vaccine distribution, which continues to speed up.
Next week, the state expects to allow Nevadans 55 and older with underlying health conditions to make appointments for their vaccine shots.
"As more Nevadans are vaccinated, it helps us move toward other groups faster," explained Cage.
On Monday, the next round of restrictions is expected to be loosened which will place 50% capacity limits for most businesses.
Nevada's first "Hero of the Day" Julie Danner is also reflecting on the pandemic's pain, one year later.
"It's kind of crazy, I have so much more hope, personally, than I've had in a really, really long time," said Danner.
"I honestly want to cry tears of relief and hope and happiness and joy that there's some light, you know, at the end of the tunnel, finally," added Danner.
Danner says the biggest needs remain for food and housing among those she assists in her newly renamed Facebook group "H.E.R.O. of Las Vegas (Helping Everyone Rescue Others)."
Like in previous holidays, Danner is attempting to supply Easter baskets and dinners for those who are in need.
Donations are being accepted as well as people who are in need of assistance are urged to contact Julie through her Facebook group which can be accessed by clicking here.