May 11 marked the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency in Massachusetts and the country.
The City of Cambridge observed this somber occasion with an event at the COVID-19 memorial located in the Cambridge Cemetery. Cambridge Peace Commission Executive Director Brian Corr, Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui, City Manager Yi-An Huang, and Chief Public Health Officer Derrick Neil spoke at the event and placed flowers next to the memorial.
The pandemic challenged and changed us in ways we could never have imagined a little over three years ago. Our city has lost 188 residents to COVID-19. Thousands more have been sickened by the virus. Some are still recovering after many months.
The pain of the pandemic has extended beyond illness and death. The need to isolate from one another led to the interruption of social connections and cancellation of many important milestones and rituals. There were missed holiday celebrations and graduations that would have brought great joy. There were funerals and memorials that would have provided comfort and healing.
The lifting of the public health emergency is a symbolic marker that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is finally behind us. Thankfully, over the past few months, COVID-19 has been less of an acute threat. But COVID is not over.
We ask residents to join us in reflecting on what we have been through—as individuals and a community—since the pandemic began in 2020.
Finally, we are grateful for and humbled by the contributions of our dedicated city employees, our health care and public health workers, our schools, our nonprofit organizations and businesses, and all of you who live or work in Cambridge.