NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Today marks one year since the coronavirus pandemic started in New York City.

Though the toll has been devastating, there are new signs of hope, including a just-approved third vaccine.

Many CBS2’s John Dias spoke with Monday said it’s an agonizing anniversary.

WATCH: Mayor De Blasio Marks 1-Year COVID Anniversary 

“It has been such a curse, it’s been a lot to endure,” Anne Chanler told Dias.

“Mixed blessing. Got to spend a lot more time with my kids,” Upper West Side resident Jeff Levy said.

“I hate to see all the suffering,” said Forest Hills resident Kate Kelly.

FLASHBACK: Health Care Worker Tests Positive After Returning From Iran, Husband Awaiting Results

The pandemic began in New York with a 39-year-old health care worker who returned to Manhattan from Iran with her husband, followed by a lawyer from New Rochelle who worked in New York City. On March 12, the world shut down.

It was a year of tremendous loss and monumental changes, with the end still not known. But now, there’s some hope.

“This is the last great battle against the coronavirus right now. We are winning, we will win,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.

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Four million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine are ready to be shipped. It’s the nation’s first single-shot vaccine. The company projects five times more will be available by the end of March, and 100 million by the end of June.

New York City is expected to get 95,000 doses. The mayor says they will arrive in a matter of days.

“One of the reasons that the vaccine shows slightly different numbers when you look at all sorts of different metrics, is because the J&J vaccine was actually at a disadvantage. It was conducted at a time later when we started to have new variants of this disease,” Dr. Jay Varma said.


The president’s Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci urges Americans not to view the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as inferior to Pfizer or Moderna just because it has a lower efficacy rate. He said people should get whichever one is available as soon as possible.

“When you have advanced critical disease, there were no hospitalizations and no deaths,” he said.

Dias spoke with one recipient at the Jacob Javits Center who said while the third shot brings promise, “I’m more optimistic, but I’m glad I’m getting the Pfizer.”

Fauci warns people to continue wearing face coverings, even after being vaccinated. People can still possibly spread the virus, though studies show they would carry extremely low levels of it.


John Dias