The coronavirus has shaped our lives for more than two years. What was originally thought to be controllable with a two-week lockdown became a threat that extended for weeks, then months, then years. Two-and-a-half years since the virus  reached the U.S., the country has hit 1 million deaths caused by COVID-19.

Long Island, one of the most densely populated regions in the country, saw the virus spread quickly. Hospitals were suddenly inundated with patients fighting for their lives as doctors, nurses and staffers battled to keep up with the casualties. Businesses shuttered, some for good, and education was turned upside down with the rapid implementation of remote learning.

The impact to the culture, economy and nearly every other aspect of life on Long Island still lingers as the country hits 1 million deaths. This is what coronavirus has done to Long Island.

Nearly 12,000 Long Islanders

have died of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Around 1 in every 236 Long Islanders have died of coronavirus.

More than 35,000 have died in New York City.

About 47,000 have died on LI and in NYC.

That's more than the populations of Rockville Centre and Massapequa – combined.

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More than 860,000 cases have been reported on Long Island since the beginning of the pandemic,

according to state data.

Two years ago, health care workers at Mount Sinai South Nassau portrayed a hospital under siege, just after the apex of the virus. “Normally, we’ll have a death, honestly, every few weeks or a month or so" at the hospital, said Nydia White, the nurse manager for critical care. At the apex, the hospital was "wrapping quite a few bodies a day.”

86% of LIers have at least one dose of the vaccine,

according to state data.

Health experts said the COVID-19 vaccine has played a large part in reducing the spread of the virus and urged people to stay up-to-date with their inoculations. Those who are vaccinated and eligible should take advantage of the booster doses available, they said.

"COVID-19 is never going to go away,” said Dr. Matthew Harris, medical director of Northwell Health’s COVID-19 vaccination program and a pediatric emergency medicine physician. “It’s likely going to become endemic.”

These are the latest vaccination rates by zip code:

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430,000 K-12 students

shifted to remote learning on Long Island.

Seniors lost out on prom and did drive-thru graduations. Parents of special-needs students noticed their children began to regress in academic and physical skills. English-language learners were forced to navigate devices and educational platforms they had never used before.

Educators said the pandemic also revealed the importance of integrating technology with education, and forced districts to adapt to new teaching methods.

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84,000 businesses received PPP loans on Long Island.

As remote work continued and offices remained empty, restaurants and businesses closed.

More than 150,000 people used to work along the 110 corridor, stretching for 15 miles in Huntington and Babylon towns, according to studies by Babylon and the think-tank Regional Plan Association in Manhattan. Some eateries that served these workers have laid off half their staff and cut other overhead expenses in an effort to survive. Others have closed, unable to hang on until the day when — or if — office workers return in large numbers.

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Home prices surged 60% since 2012.

Additionally, the median sale price for a Long Island home rose 60% over the past decade to $560,000 last year compared with $350,000 in 2012, according to a report from real estate brokerage Douglas Elliman and appraisal firm Miller Samuel.

"If the economy continues to improve and rates don’t spike, which they’re not expected to, and credit conditions don’t change, I think we’re at this level for a while," said Miller. "For people waiting for prices to correct, I think that’s going to be a long wait."

771 fatal drug overdoses were reported in 2021, up from 559 in 2019,

Nassau and Suffolk officials said.

"This is not just a medical pandemic, it is a mental health pandemic," said Steve Chassman, executive director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

“People could not cope,” said Suffolk County Health Commissioner Gregson Pigott. “You had so much grief and loss, and people were looking for a coping mechanism.” 

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Nearly 1 in 3 pregnant women reported being 'highly stressed'

by the pandemic, estimated Dr. Brittain Mahaffey of Stony Brook University Hospital.

Mahaffey, who is working on a study examining more than than 7,400 women, said ones who gave birth during the first two coronavirus waves experienced increased anxiety, depression and OCD symptoms.

The hard part after birth was doing it all in isolation,” said Anna Jackman, 37, of Wheatley Heights, who imagined frequent playdates and trips with her son. “I’m a first-time mom, and not having a village there was very hard. When you think about having a baby, especially if it’s your first, you imagine all of these different moments and experiences. … I feel like I was robbed of an experience.”

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85% spike in average daily new cases

reported on Long Island over the past two weeks and the seven-day positivity rate hitting nearly 10%.

The latest numbers indicate the Island averaged 1,555 new cases a day over the seven days ending May 9, and 838 cases a day over the seven days ending April 25. The seven-day positivity average on Long Island hit 9.96% in test results from Monday. That is the highest level since Jan. 26 when the region was coming out of the initial record-breaking omicron surge.

“How many times do we need to be taught the same lesson: Every time you take the masks off the numbers go up,” said Dr. David Battinelli, physician-in-chief at Northwell Health.

Reporting by David Olson, Lisa L. Colangelo, Matt Clark, Catherine Carrera, James T. Madore, Jonathan LaMantia, Michael O'Keeffe, Brinley Hineman and Bart Jones.

Compiled by Heather Doyle

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