4th of July 2020 vs. 2021

Published: Jul. 2, 2021 at 6:56 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - With Independence Day Weekend here, people around the Fountain City are looking to get back to normalcy by hosting cookouts and spending time with loved ones.

While they’re planning for fun, the turbulent year from COVID-19 is still in the back of their minds. Most people who spoke with News Leader 9 they’re spending the weekend with family, or just working, all things they couldn’t do last year.

Lexie Eubanks told News Leader 9, “This year, we’re probably going to spend it with immediate family. My grandfathers going to be able to come in and I wasn’t able to see him last year, pretty much the entirety of the year, because I didn’t want to give him COVID, and like be the cause of his death or anything.”

Michael Porter, a Columbus man, said, “Just spending it with my parents and going to eat some BBQ with them and just enjoy their company.”

Savoy Morgan told News Leader 9 he spent the holiday at home last year. “I ain’t do nothing last year with that COVID man. I couldn’t do nothing. I just stayed at the house and tried to take it easy and not get sick. Thank God,” said Morgan. According to Morgan, this year he’ll be spending the Independence Day weekend with his nephew.

According to Pam Kirkland with the Columbus Health Department, this time last year Muscogee County saw it’s biggest spike in COVID cases. This year the COVID case count is significantly lower. Kirkland believes that’s due to more people who have either been vaccinated or built up a natural immunity from contracting the virus.

“Last year on July 3rd we had about almost 2000 cases, and then just days later on the eighth we had about 2300.”, said Kirkland. “Just this week, since Monday, we’ve seen a drop in our cases over the last two weeks. So we’re down to 66 cases that are considered active.”

Some Columbus citizens say those cases prompted them to alter their 4th of July plans. This time around, people around the Fountain City said they are excited to spend it with the ones they love, or get back into a normal groove.

When asked about how COVID impacted him and his family last year, Michael Moore said, “We went swimming and stayed pretty close to home.”

“I didn’t get around a lot of people,” said Johnny Thrasher.

Eleanor Johnson says she was hoping to spend time with her family, something she couldn’t do last year. “We normally have a cookout I think so this year we’ll have a cookout I think,” said Johnson.

Achaia Barnes says, she’s looking to enjoying a quiet weekend, “It’s just me and my husband so it’s just going to be us two,” said Barnes.

Pam Kirkland with the Columbus Health Department also advises people to keep a mask handy just in case you feel uncomfortable gathering with people who haven’t been vaccinated or are unsure of their status.