ONE year ago today, March 16 2020, a 68-year-old lost their life to Coronavirus. They were the first person to die from the disease in Wales.

365 days on, Wales’ death toll has passed 5,500 and Herald.Wales is taking an opportunity to reflect on how we all tried to deal with the saddest and toughest of years.

A year ago today ‘the first tragedy’ struck at Wrexham Maelor Hospital as the country watched with bated breath unaware of the fight that lay ahead.

One year on the scale of the battle against Covid-19 is clear, I don’t know of one family which hasn’t either been affected themselves or lost someone close to them to this awful disease.

Between March 1 and May 31 2020, we lost 2,257 people to Coronavirus. 2,257 mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, 2,257 families mourn across Wales for people who had their lives ended by this disease.

Between March 1 2020 and January 2021, 7,445 deaths were reported in adult care homes across Wales, 23% of those deaths were due to Covid-19 with care home deaths up 37% when compared to the same time period in 2019.

Frontline workers weren’t spared from adding to this toll with otherwise healthy paramedics, doctors, nurses and care home workers also becoming ill and passing away with Covid-19 symptoms.

Every death from this disease is a tragedy and, commenting on the first anniversary of the first death of a person with Covid-19 in Wales, Angela Burns MS – the Shadow Minister for Health – said:

“Anniversaries, whether good or bad ones, are times for reflection, and today it is fitting that we remember all those who have died with Covid, and the many more whose lives have been affected by both the virus and the many other consequences of the pandemic.

“However traumatic a time it has been, the data indicate that Wales is now turning a corner after the remarkable efforts made by frontline NHS staff during the pandemic, and the countless acts of care made by so many other people to try to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

“So, while a time of sadness, it is now also a time for cautious optimism and hope for Wales.”

Adam Price, Leader of Plaid Cymru said: “Today is a very sad day – a year since the first person in Wales died from coronavirus.

“For many, It has been a year of shock, loss, grief and heartache. Sending love and strength to all who have lost loved ones to this awful disease. Together, we’ll get through this.”