San Diegans Look Back at Pandemic, Then and Now

Ten months into the pandemic, San Diegans are looking back on where we're at now as COVID-19 cases climb at alarming rates

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Local hospitals are facing a difficult month ahead as COVID-19 cases continue to surge, surpassing previous records. San Diego county reported more deaths this week than ever before.

As 2021 begins, locals are looking back at how the pandemic started compared to where we’re at now.  

“[In] March it really seemed like, I mean, everyone was really scared,” said Brandon Cook, of North Park. “I would ride my bike downtown, it was deserted. This park was also deserted.”

“Everybody, just complete shutdown, disappeared. Everybody hunkered down,” added Shannon Chaney, of Point Loma.

“Oh, it was crazy. It felt like a little bit of an afterworld, after apocalypse, kind of scenario,” said Rada Mocean, also from North Park.

Locals told NBC 7, communities look livelier now.

"Now it’s like, I would say life is 80 percent back to normal,” said Chaney.

More people are out and about, some are still traveling, despite local leaders warning against travel, and a handful of businesses are defying public health order.

“Bars are really crowded, like the outdoor bars,” said Noam Swisa, of North Park.

San Diego county is dealing with its greatest surge in COVID-19 cases since March. According to county data, from March through October cases stayed in the triple digits. There was a big spike reported in June and July and by November cases began climbing out of control. More than 4,400 cases were reported on the first day of the new year and more deaths were reported this week than ever before. Some people said they hope the vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel.

Data provided by the County of San Diego

"I think now that vaccines are out, we’re hopefully going to be moving a little faster, [in terms of improvement]” said Swisa.

“Even though I’m a little skeptical about the vaccine, I’m still happy it’s there. I think in the long run it’ll be good, you know, finally ending the pandemic,” said Cook.

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