Somber ceremony at Bissell Gardens reflects impact of lives lost during COVID-19 pandemic

Dozens of people gathered at Bissell Gardens on Saturday to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives to COVID-19, four years after the pandemic hit the Bronx.

The event was hosted by State Senator Jamal Bailey, who lost a loved one to COVID-19 during the first month of the virus' impact in the city.

“My mother-in-law was taken away on March 27, 2020,” he said.

The virus hit the city hard, forcing health professionals to adapt to a world filled with isolation and fear.

“We continued to change our protocols on a daily basis, we developed multiple mechanisms to keep staff informed as well as the community,” said Christina Contreras, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals Metropolitan.

The event was held next to a newly planted cherry blossom tree, which was intended to remind of the impact of the pandemic.

Bailey said that although much was lost, some important lessons were learned.

“Don't forget the lessons of COVID. That sense of community that we gathered,” he said. “Every single person has value, is valued, most importantly, is loved.”

The event was organized in partnership with the Jamaica Progressive League, the Jamaica Benevolent Arm Cultural Center and Bissell Gardens.

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