One year since Herald’s first Covid-19 coverage

EXACTLY one year ago this week the Herald ran its first ever story on the then newly named Covid-19.
While for some it may feel like yesterday, for many it will be hard to believe it is only 12 months since the page two story, about a group of students and staff from St Kevin’s College in Lisnaskea who were on a skiing holiday in the north of Italy.
The group of students and staff from St Kevin’s College in Lisnaskea had been on a skiing holiday in the north of Italy.
When they had flown out on the Saturday, blissfully unaware of what was to come, there had only been a handful of known cases of the new virus in all of Europe. In fact, the first case in Italy was only recorded the day before the group flew out.
The situation escalated so rapidly, though, by the time the Herald went to print that Wednesday Italy was in full epidemic mode, people were beginning to die, and concerns were quickly growing for the local contingent in the midst of it. Fortunately, even with the first parts of Europe locking down around them, the Fermanagh students were largely unaffected by the virus outbreak while enjoying their time on the slopes.
It was only when the group got home we all got our first taste of how Covid would impact all our lives in the months to come, whether we caught the virus or not. Indeed, it is probably to safe to say the St Kevin’s pupils and staff were the first people in Fermanagh to isolate for 14 days to protect the local community from the potential spread of Covid.
Sadly, as we all know too well now, the St Kevin’s story was the first of many, many more to come in the Herald.
The following week’s edition covered everything from advice from local doctors on the risk the virus posed to older people, about how holy water and hand shaking had been banned at Mass, and on how both public events and school exams could all be under threat if the virus continued to spread.
In the months that followed almost every single front page of the Herald was Covid related in some way, as the county got used to the a ‘new reality’ that we still find ourselves in today.
Throughout it all, though, even a quick glance through the pages of those papers shows the unquenchable community spirit that has defined the pandemic locally and helped so many local people get to this point, where we are so close to the end.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA