Covid One Year Later: Life After LockdownDateline NBC
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- 16 Mar 2021
Lester Holt and Savannah Guthrie look back at the start of the pandemic and how Covid-19 has consumed our lives since.
We just want to see friends and you want to see our family. We want to hug each other. Yeah, it's a long time. Everyone can relate to those tears, OK? We all feel that. I want you to hug your son. Boy, you were we're turning the corner. We just got to hold on to it a bit longer, covid changed a lot about our life. Some of it probably won't go back. Do you think covid is a milestone in the history of our experiences with travel?
It may change travel fundamentally. How do you think students will recover? I think we are facing a catastrophic experience for millions of children. Do you suspect that jobs will come back? I think they will come back. We're never going to see some kind of boom. When the streets are bustling again, we'll know we're back. People will seek out nightclubs and bars and restaurants. That will be a little bit like the roaring 20s. I hope that brings a better sense of humanity.
We're all connected. Good evening, everyone, from the Lincoln Memorial. I'm Lester Holt. And joining me for this special edition of Dateline is my colleague, Savannah Guthrie. Lester, thank you so much. It was a year ago today that covid really stopped the world, but it feels like the wheels are starting to turn again or later tonight. We heard from President Biden marking this one year anniversary of when covid first became real to so many Americans.
The president looked back, but was mostly looking ahead to normalcy. And we're doing the same tonight. So many big questions about the future. When will things be back to normal and when can we stop wearing these? We start with a few wishes. We probably all share.
Send me anywhere where there is warm sun and a beat in a ton of people listening to good music. I will be hugging my daughter the longest hug in history, sharing food and stories without masks, being around everyone again, even the ones you don't even like that much. After a year of lockdown, we all have a wish list and a question, when will we get our lives back?
Christmas is what President Biden has said. I don't think that there will be a bell that tolls on Christmas that says we're back to normal. Dr. Nasheet Bedelia, an infectious disease physician at Boston Medical Center, says when we get back to normal, depends on the virus, on science and on us. We're turning the corner based on the interventions we're doing right now. And we just got to hold on to it a bit longer until we get more of us vaccinated.
We've been holding on since exactly one year ago tonight, March 11, 20, 20, the day covid really hit home.
Breaking news tonight, the corona virus outbreak declared a global pandemic. We will be suspending all travel from Europe.
The game tonight has been postponed. Tom Hanks revealing he and his wife have tested positive for the virus.
We hoped it would go away quickly. It didn't. And new terms became part of our daily vocabulary. Social distancing, zoom meetings flatten the curve. Shutdowns expand across the country.
Broadway is going to go dark. The show will not be going on.
Major League Baseball is suspending spring training. School districts announced sweeping closures.
This online is not going to work. Basically, it sucks.
We lost interest and there were long lines for testing health care workers desperate for protective equipment. We have to risk possibly our own lives and the lives of our families to be able to take care of our patient. As hot spots spread across the nation, the heartbreak became all too familiar covid patients dying alone without their loved ones.
Today was a rough day.
New Jersey ICU nurse Arlene Van Dyke kept a video diary trying to make sense of things.
It's so hard to see what these patients go through. By the numbers, it's been a historic tragedy, almost 30 million cases, more than half a million Americans dead, a reported 100000 businesses shuttered, nine and a half million jobs lost.
Suicide and domestic violence on the rise, the steepest decline in life expectancy since World War Two.
Those left behind mourn their loved ones from home online. But not even our grief could unite us. Our biggest Achilles heel was our politics, whether you wear a mask or not, whether you believe the pandemic is real or not completely aligned with your political affiliation.
And the response at home has too often revealed the worst in us. A string of violent attacks against elderly Asian-Americans has law enforcement on alert.
But we have also seen the determination of faceless heroes and there have been countless moments of grace.
The seven p.m. daily salute to our front line health care workers, a thank you to a delivery driver.
You're an essential worker by all the essentials, but a kindergarten teacher reconnecting with her students. This is New York's Times Square, still lit up by bright lights and neon before the pandemic. Three hundred and fifty thousand people would pass through here every day. It's not the same now. The old energy is missing. But when these streets are buzzing again with theatergoers and tourists, we'll know we're back. As we head into another spring, there are many hopeful signs a third vaccine and better organization have accelerated vaccinations across the nation.
The Biden administration has targeted the beginning of May to reopen public schools, the Olympic Games canceled last year are on track to start in Tokyo this July.
We're quite fortunate to have three really good vaccines, but let's keep a feet on that accelerator right now because we're going in the right direction.
And early in Van Dyke's hospital, there's a brand new intensive care unit. The old unit is where Harlene saw so much pain and suffering. And when they demolished it, she wanted it.
We took our anger and our aggression out the anger of what it was doing to people and their lives and their families. Here's Arlene Sledge, hammer in hand, covid, cursing covid and speaking for all of us. Well, earlier today, President Biden signed his massive covid relief bill into law and as we mentioned a few hours later, he gave his first primetime address announcing that the country is doing well enough, that he's hopeful Americans will soon be able to spend more time together.
If we do our part, we do this together. By July the Fourth, there's a good chance you, your families and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout and a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day. That doesn't mean large events with lots of people together, but it does mean small groups will be able to get together after this long, hard year that will make this Independence Day something truly special.
The president also set another deadline announcing that all adults will be eligible to receive the covid vaccine no later than May 1st. That does not mean that every adult will be able to be vaccinated by then. He expects that by the end of May. When we come back, how the vaccination rollout is going. My name is Sandra Lindsay and I am the director of nursing at NYU Health, I am proud to be the first American to receive the covid-19 vaccine.
I am looking forward to taking my mask off and holding and kissing my grandson, Avery, who was born a year ago today. So many milestones. This is the biggest vaccination effort in history and the fastest two as of today, more than sixty four million Americans have been given their first dose tonight. Kate Snow takes us to the front lines of the effort.
Everybody just steps in the right place for the right ending. A pandemic takes planning off the 50 state air stadium to come down the line and patients. And above all, it takes vaccines not secretly holding name. Medical Center vaccinates about two thousand people a day here in Teaneck, New Jersey.
I never thought that the job would put my life on the line.
Dr. Melinda Ball is the chief anesthesiologist at Holy Name. She worked through the worst days of the pandemic. Now she's thrilled there are three vaccines. Do you think we're maybe at a turning point, not just at this hospital, but for the nation? And now watch the vaccination numbers in every state and it goes up every day. And I do think that that is going to be a turning point for us.
A turning point perhaps for a vaccine rollout that was plagued by problems under the Biden administration. Supply is increasing, boosted by the new one dose. Johnson and Johnson vaccine pharmacies are giving shots alongside these mass vaccination centers. It's getting much, much easier to get a vaccine. Dr. Paul Offit is a very allergist and member of the FDA's Vaccine Advisory Committee. He's consumed by the challenge of conquering covid. How many people need to be vaccinated every day?
Well, I think the best case scenario would be that we vaccinate three million people a day. Now we're over two million people a day. But I think at a two million per day rate, I do think we can certainly by early summer get to the point where we can have enough immunity that will stop the spread of this virus.
There are real concerns, though, about the covid variants. Offit fears that someday a variant could outwit a vaccine.
Right now, we haven't crossed the critical line. The critical line would be anybody who's been either naturally infected with this virus or has been fully vaccinated. That nonetheless is hospitalized or dies from one of these variant strains that has not happened anywhere in the world of its other concern, vaccine resisters.
He's baffled by them.
This is a virus to fear. And the good news is we're living in an age of technological age where we can prevent this virus with vaccination, make that choice.
But some are simply waiting. What I'm worried about, Kate, is as we get into late April, May, we may find ourselves with more vaccines and people willing to get them.
Dr. Ashish Jha is dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. These vaccines were developed quickly.
And so people want to just be careful and want to make sure that these vaccines are are indeed safe.
Last November, many in this predominantly black neighborhood in Pittsburgh were skeptical about the vaccines. Father Paul Abernathy is a community faith leader here.
We are talking to our neighbors about the vaccine and we want to know your opinion on it. As far as I'm concerned, it could be given us the virus.
OK, but now Father Paul says he sees a tremendous shift in attitudes.
People are seeing people in their own communities receive the vaccine and do well with it. And that has created these living, walking, breathing ambassadors for vaccination. That shift is reflected across the nation. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that 69 percent of Americans either plan to get vaccinated or already have.
That's up significantly from late last year here in Teaneck. The newly vaccinated were mostly grateful and relieved.
Do didn't feel any good. It's easy, right? Beautiful. You don't like needles? No. No. How was this? Was it OK? No problem.
It's like I just put please put a shot in my arm. You're the anesthesiologist. Melinda Ball. Couldn't wait to get vaccinated.
I've been waiting for this moment where I can, like, not feel like I'm going to die doing my job anymore, not bring home an illness to my partner, my mom. I haven't seen her in a year and two months. So it's like everyone can relate to those tears everywhere.
The man in charge of making President Biden's promises come true is his chief of staff, Ron Klain. Mr. Klain, welcome. Thanks for being with us. Thanks for having me. Fifty days in, I think it's fair to say that the Biden administration owns this crisis right now, the pandemic crisis. We heard the president this evening say he's going to direct states to essentially give everybody a place in line by March 1st, May 1st, May 1st. Thank you for the correction.
Can that be done? And and what's taking so long? Well, first of all, can it be done? Yes. And it will be done. What's taken so long as we inherited a vaccine system that was moving at a snail's pace. We've had to accelerate. We've had to go by hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine that hadn't been ordered. We had to get people lined up to give the vaccinations and set up hundreds of vaccination sites around the country.
We're moving faster than any country on earth. We're the only country in the world giving two million shots a day right now would be the first country ever to give one hundred million shots in 100 days, as the president promised. In fact, we're going to do it in 60 days. And by keeping up at that pace, we can get through the priority cases in March, in April and open up vaccinations for everyone by May 1st. So open it up by May 1st.
But what does that mean in terms of when people would actually get needles in their arms? Well, so that will start on May 1st. And of course, like all things, some people will get them sooner. Some people will get them later. But for most Americans, we think we're going to get we have enough vaccine on order to have a dose for everyone by the end of May. We think that people will get vaccinated through the month of May.
And as the president said tonight, people get that second dose in June. By July 4th, people can enjoy a July Fourth. Twenty, twenty one. That's very different to July 4th. Twenty one we showed a moment ago there's been a shift in vaccination feelings, but we're still seeing in poor, largely minority communities, fewer people are getting shots and we're seeing in more affluent, often white communities. Why is that happening still? That's because there was no plan to address that problem.
We put one in place. So when we came in just 50 days ago, the federal government was not sending any vaccine at all to community health centers which serve underserved communities. No vaccine was going from the federal government straight to pharmacies. We fixed both those problems. We're starting to see some improvements. We still have a long way to go. I hope we make a lot more progress on that as March and April unfold. What is the magic number in terms of when this pandemic will be over five thousand cases a day?
Seven thousand? Do you have a number? I'm going to let the scientists say the number. I think what we need to do, what the president said tonight was very clear. We in the government, we need to get the tempo of vaccines to where it needs to be. We need to get the American people vaccine available. And then we need the American people, Lester, to agree to come get the vaccine and in the meantime, continue to socially distance, wash their hands, wear masks, do the things we know can help get this virus under control.
All right. Well, Mr. Cohen, thank you so much for being with us. Good to talk to you, as always. Thanks for having me. And we'll be right back. My name is Mary Graciella, I'm from Staten Island, New York, where Italian Italian people are very emotional, very affectionate holidays and the noise and the food. And what I'm most looking forward to is to have my kids, my grandkids over for Sunday dinner. I'm so looking forward to that.
Something we can relate well, the president has predicted that life may be significantly better for Americans by the holidays, but what will the new normal be like? We all remember how it was just one year ago and we're all wondering when or if we'll ever get that back, starting with our workplaces. In fact, let me show you something. This is The Today Show, the heart of our newsroom before the pandemic. This is where all the action was.
More than one hundred producers, writers, correspondents, all preparing for the next day's show. And now look at it. It's completely empty.
It looks like a lot of offices and a lot of cities like Chicago, where many workplaces are about 80 percent empty, or San Francisco, where the vacancy rates are just as high.
I think there is going to be a reshaping of our economy. Yale Professor Nicholas Christakis is a physician and sociologist who wrote a book about the impact of this pandemic. He's been working from home like millions of others. I think having seen a taste of this and our employers having seen a taste of this, I think this is going to be a semi-permanent change.
If I walk around 30 Rock right now, there are just rows and rows of empty desks and we're in the news business. The camaraderie was part of the appeal. What is lost when people decide, employers decide it's easier, more efficient to work from home?
Absolutely. Something will be lost. And I also think it will be especially hard for new employees like how do they learn the culture of our workplace? It's very difficult to join an organization using video conferencing.
So do empty offices mean empty cities? Some say yes. But Dr. Christakis knows something about history and how it repeats itself.
People flee cities when there's a plague afoot, but I think the cities absolutely will come back.
First of all, the history of human beings has been one of progressive urbanization. Humans love living in cities. Cities are so exciting and so attractive and provide so many economic and artistic and social opportunities.
But Americans have more immediate concerns, like getting kids back to school. How do you think school will look in the future in light of the pandemic?
I think many teachers will still be wearing masks. Maybe band practice and sporting events will still be canceled. They'll be seen as superfluous a year from now. So eventually schools will return to normal. But I don't think it'll be quite as rapid as people think. And even in the post pandemic, future covid will still be around.
People are going to continue to get sick with covid for the coming years and we need to understand the best ways to treat that illness.
Dr. Kevin Tracy runs the research institutes at the giant Northwest Hospital Group. His team is conducting clinical trials on drugs like the antacid.
For Mohideen, the active ingredient in Pepcid, we need a drug that's widely available that can keep people out of the hospital we need. For covid, something like Tamiflu, for the flu, this is looking ahead, Dr. Tracy believes telemedicine is here to stay for patient care and research.
We're sending the lab to the patient's home right now. I think this is the future.
I think with the pandemic has done it, it has brought changes to the way we live across the board.
Carolina Miranda, arts columnist with the L.A. Times, says changes in the entertainment industry include drive ins like this one at the Hollywood Legion Theater. OK, you can't do inside shows, but you can do a pop up drive in.
She believes traditional movie theaters will survive. Just last weekend, box office returns. We're about twenty five million dollars, a fraction of what they used to be, but still the best weekend since the lockdown began. She also thinks clever new kinds of entertainment are here to stay. So you might have an opera house staging a performance in a parking lot. Museum's doing video events with performance artists that can be streamed online. And Dr. Christakis sees something big happening in a few years.
History reminds us that after the Spanish flu in 1918 ran its devastating course, the world was ready to party. People will have been cooped up for so long and they will finally sort of seek out social opportunities in nightclubs and bars and restaurants and sporting events, and it'll be a little bit like the roaring 20s of the 20th century.
Will we ever shake hands again? Well, it's very hard for me to imagine that in Western society, we will completely give up handshaking, maybe elbow bumping. Yes, I think elbow bumping will will stay. That's right. I think that's exactly right.
I don't know about the air kiss, though, that might be gone well, as we prepare for life after lockdown, our interactive guide, we hope, can help you plan your vaccine. Just visit, plan your vaccine dotcom, or use your phone and you can scan that QR code. You can also sign up for alerts to let you know when you are eligible for the vaccine in your state. Lester. It is amazing the way we have adapted over your savannah.
Well, it's high on everyone's list. Travel, how it may change when we come back. The CDC is still not recommending unnecessary travel, even if you've been vaccinated, but once we all do start to travel again, it may be very different. So what will it look like in the months ahead? Here's Richard Engle. It's a family moment in the age of covid, the young couple on the left announcing via video they're expecting their first child.
Jose Leonardi and his wife live in Texas, the rest of the clan in Argentina.
So before covid, how often did did you all get together for the holidays? For birthdays?
Probably every three months.
I would say there is. But when the baby was born last month. Yes. No one else in the family could be there to hold me. He's like a little burrito.
You know, the loss of these individual milestones worldwide has added up to an economic nightmare. What is this pandemic done to?
The travel industry of this pandemic has devastated the travel industry. And when you devastate the travel industry, you devastate the world's economy.
Pauline Frommer of Frommer's Travel Books.
You know, people think of travel as this kind of silly exercise. But the truth is, one out of every 11 human beings on the planet Earth works and travel.
It's a massive industry, a massive industry that's largely ground to a halt. Business and international travel took the deepest plunge. Spending in both areas was down about 70 percent last year.
We are a family that used to travel a lot.
Oriya Abraham lives in Brooklyn. She hasn't been able to visit her aging mother in Malaysia since two thousand nineteen.
Malaysia has closed the borders to any country where the numbers are above one hundred and fifty thousand cases of covid. And here we are far, far beyond that.
I myself had been grounded since September for similar reasons. I headed out for the first time in five months just last week. By the time I'm done, I'll have to take five separate covid tests and quarantine for ten days in order to complete a one week reporting trip in Iraq. As vaccines become more widely distributed, experts expect travel to increase, but it won't be the same. For example, you might have to prove you've been vaccinated before you can get on a plane.
Do you think going forward we're going to be having some sort of vaccine booklet with us saying I'm covid safe?
I don't think it'll be a booklet. I think it'll be an app.
But we will definitely have a vaccine passport for travel to return to something like normal people will need not just to feel safe, but to be safe. It will take everything from installing better air filters on planes to rethinking entire airports.
We are building terraces so that once you get through security, you can actually go back outside for fresh air.
Christina Kasota is overseeing construction of a brand new terminal at Pittsburgh International.
We're working on indoor air quality monitoring so that we can monitor in real time the air quality and each space in the terminal and adjust it if needed for crowds, airflow, etc. It's a glimpse of what's to come.
The new terminal won't be open until 2025, but Casodex thinks air travel will start to rebound in 2021.
We'd love to see 50 percent of the passengers come back this year. Last year we saw about thirty five percent of them back in Brooklyn.
Horia has decided to wait and get her vaccine before visiting her mom in Malaysia.
And once that happens, I. I really do feel that I will be safe to travel.
The lunatic's made a different risk assessment. Last week, Jose's mom flew all the way from Argentina to see her son and her new grandson.
Besides taking a battery of covid tests, she'll have to quarantine for at least 10 days, maybe longer, and download an app to track her symptoms. Once she's back in Argentina, Jose's family hopes once they get the vaccine, it will mean more reunions like these without the complicated but for now necessary precautions.
When we return, the question on a lot of people's minds, when will the jobs come back? My name is Hiro Patel. My family owned a business called Jump-Off, which was located in the heart of New York City for the last hundred years. Last May, we were forced to close due to covid, and we received a tremendous outpouring of love from our supporters around the world. The thing we look forward to most is to one day return and it's safer and the pandemic passes.
Most big corporations have the money to weather a catastrophe like covid, but small businesses may have pockets no deeper than their last bank statement. President Biden's huge covid relief plan, which he signed into law today, should help. But will that be enough to bring back jobs and businesses? Here's Craig Melvin. Lunar New Year in New York City's Chinatown is normally a time of boisterous celebration, but not this year. Like so many small business owners across the country, Tuman Lam is just hanging on easily right now, year over year.
We're down to 85 percent sales. His huge iconic restaurant, Jing Fong, once hustling and bustling, is quiet now.
He's had to furlough more than one hundred employees and I don't have the tools to try to survive when the hole is so big, there's just there's no way.
A few blocks away, it's the same story. Masland struggles to keep her business open. She's the fifth generation owner of the oldest store in Chinatown working on Wo Awing on what was started in 1890 by my great great grandfather.
Besides the fear of catching covid, the virus sparked a wave of anti Asian xenophobia. Customers avoided Chinatown before a pandemic was even declared major, trying to survive by pivoting to online sales in an area dominated by big national brands.
The whole family is helping my dad being a one man shipping department here, and Betty is helping us manage inventory. My mom is also answering emails and my grandmother has become our unofficial marketing girl.
It's not just Chinatown that's struggling to survive. It's small businesses all over this country, including right here in Connecticut. We're talking about restaurants and salons and dry cleaners. In fact, at least three businesses in just this area have shut down since the start of this pandemic. Nationwide, small business revenue down by about a third, nine and a half million jobs lost. It is a bleak picture, but believe it or not, some economists are predicting a bounce back starting this year.
I think you're going to see the economy start to snap back pretty quickly.
Jon Friedman is a professor at Brown University and co-director of Harvard's Opportunity Insights. Friedman says that when the pandemic hit, high income households throughout the country curbed their spending.
So the ripple effect of the reduced spending by affluent households is that there's been a much larger hit for small businesses in areas that cater to the affluent.
The households hardest hit have been at the other end of the economic scale. covid-19 has profoundly increased the inequality that we see in our country, especially for families at the lower end of the income distribution. They're much more likely to have trouble putting food on the table or making rent payments.
The hope is that once people feel safe again, everyone will benefit. Do you think that after we reach herd immunity, we are going to see an economic boom?
We're definitely going to see some kind of boom. So many households have built up quite a bit of extra savings.
There's a long way to go. But Friedman predicts people's desire to socialize and spend will come back, perhaps even by the summer. I'll bet there'll be more concerts and more people dining outside at restaurants this summer even than there were two years ago.
Together, we're leading the fight.
Back in Chinatown, nearly two hundred people took to the streets to try and save the Jing Fong restaurant, urging the landlord to help for it.
But it wasn't enough. Sun was the last day for customers and Truman LAMS famous banquet hall. It's just unfortunate that it had to come to this.
For now, he'll continue Taika and wants to find a new location to keep up the legacy.
The lights are out that fall, but. The hope is there for a lighter and brighter year ahead, that by next lunar new year, good luck and prosperity will be restored in Chinatown and throughout the country. Bringing the economy back is largely the job of the Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, who joins us now. Secretary Yellen. Good evening. It's good to see you. Good to see you. Thanks for having me. So this massive bill is now signed into law, as I'm sure you know, by some estimates, up to four hundred seventy five billion of the last relief packages still hasn't been spent.
So how are you going to make sure that this money gets out, gets out fast, not just the direct payments to the people who really need it? We're working hard first to get to direct payments out the fourteen hundred dollar checks or direct deposit. Americans will begin seeing those show up in their bank accounts this weekend. There is payments for rental assistance for homeowners in trouble. There'll be money to support and vaccinations, money for state and local governments to open schools.
We will also work to get this money out as quickly as possible. You and the president have made the argument that this is the time to go big or go home, that one of the lessons learned from the last Great Recession was doing too little. Being too stingy with relief meant a longer, slower, more painful recovery. That being said, even some progressive economists say this stimulus is up to three times bigger than it needs to be. Have you overshot the mark?
Are you spending too much? I don't believe we've overshot the mark. I think it's this package is the right size. We put it together by asking what are the needs of Americans werd we need to get money and how much to relieve all the suffering that's occurring in the economy. Just to drill down on this a little bit. The CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, which is independent, says the economy is right now about three percent below its potential.
So that's six or seven hundred billion dollars. We're about to spend one point nine trillion dollars. Again, it's almost like if you had a headache before and you took one aspirin, you knew that wasn't good enough. But that doesn't mean next time you take the whole bottle, is it just far too big with temporary fixes that don't address those underlying problems? This is a package that addresses the pandemic and helps people get to the other side intact. We don't want to have people be scarred by long spills of unemployment being out of the labor market because children can't go to school.
We want to get the economy back operating in the normal way. And then we do have long term challenges to address and we're preparing to do that. Infrastructure, education and training, climate change over longer run priorities will be on our list to address next. Well, let me ask you about that, because Senator Mitch McConnell, a Republican, of course, excoriated the bill today. He said this isn't about just finishing off the pandemic, that only 20 percent of the bill goes to those direct payments, about 10 percent to vaccine and health and the rest he called a Trojan horse full of bad old liberal ideas.
Well, look, this a lot of suffering that the Americans are Americans have been enduring. And the pain has been particularly tough for low low income workers and for minorities who are disproportionately represented in the service sector. And we have to address this suffering, get people to the other side. And this bill contains support and grants that they need in order to be able to survive when we get the pandemic under control. Secretary Allen, thank you for your time tonight.
We really appreciate it. Thank you for having me. And we'll be right back. Earlier tonight, Savannah was asking about handshakes and air kisses, so what about hugs, when can we do that again? We were in Rhode Island when some lucky families finally got their chance.
Norbert Moran and his wife, Kathleen, haven't been able to visit his 98 year old mother, Rita, in her assisted living home for months, not even when she contracted covid in December or worse when her loving husband, Bob, died of the virus in January. And today is their first day back and there's a special surprise for them all, you have to stand up for me. The one thing that everyone has wanted to do for the last year, they are allowed to hug.
What are you Oh, all I have to do is pick up the phone right there.
We made you cry, but it's a good cry.
Tears of joy. Dot Fiorelli is 100 years old and also a covid survivor. She got to hug her granddaughter, dad and great grandson Nick for the first time in months. I want to know I'll grab hold of it.
Words don't always come easily for Hazel Slocum, but sometimes there's no need for words.
Oh, oh, sorry, we don't even have to say it. Well, we all know it. We all know it. We all feel it. We love you. I love you. The opportunity of giving a hug, that's what you kind of have been looking for for the last year. I'll take that one minute any day. You've done great, kid. I know you done great. Great trooper Brian Loynes manages this home, getting all the residents vaccinated.
And most of his staff made these hugs possible today. But it's also personal for him. His mother, Mary, lives here, too. He shared his hug with his brother Steve and his sister Linda. For Linda, it's been almost a year.
All right. Is a nice surprise. Yeah, that's a really nice surprise admission. Wow. I miss you. I love you. There are a lot of time engaging with your loved one of your mom or your dad is just there's nothing beats that. I think the word hug may be different for other people, may not be able to communicate with your loved ones or make a contact with them. You saw it today with the families, so. Undescribable, but very emotional.
Well, if you're wiping away tears. Welcome to the club. Moments after so much pain, maybe tomorrow marks the real start of a new year. That's all for this Dateline special. I'm Lester Holt. I'll see you each weeknight for NBC Nightly News. And I'm Savannah Guthrie. I'll see you tomorrow morning bright and early on today. And we leave you tonight with some images from this past year. Memories of our struggles, but also signs of hope.
Good night, everybody.