Savannah prepares to honor COVID-19 victims as Georgia’s death toll shatters records

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – It has been a deadly week in Georgia, with more than 800 people dead statewide from the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, Savannah will join cities across the country in a tribute to COVID-19 victims.

“I’m just glad that we will be doing this together, at one time, all across our city,” said Savannah Mayor Van Johnson.

In the United States, one person dies from COVID-19 every 30 seconds.

That means by the time you’re done reading this story about three mothers, fathers, sons or daughters will be gone.

Globally, officials warn the casualty count is alarming.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has now claimed 2 million lives, behind this staggering number are names and faces,” said Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Two hundred and sixty-three of those names and faces lived right here in Chatham County, and more than 11,000 lived in Georgia.

On Friday, Georgia shattered their own record with 159 deaths in one single day.

Mayor Johnson says he called some of these victims his friends.

“I’ve had family members both here in Georgia, in New York, and across the country die of COVID-19,” said Johnson, “so COVID has always been very real to me.”

Back in September, volunteers planted 20,000 flags on the National Mall, that’s one for 10 American lives lost to the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, Savannah and thousands of other cities will remember the victims in their own way. To date, the virus has taken the lives of more than 400,000 Americans.

“Families have not had the opportunity to feel the community’s support of grief as we usually do through funerals and memorial services,” said Johnson, “homegoing’s and celebrations of lives.”

The mayor says starting at 5:30 p.m., City Hall will glow red and bells will ring to give loved ones a chance to pause, remember, and grieve.

The timing is in line with one of the darkest periods of the pandemic so far.

“This is what makes us Savannah strong,” said Johnson.

A prayer vigil is also happening Monday night to honor those who lost their battle with COVID-19 in Savannah.

Fox & Weeks is partnering with the city for a virtual vigil starting at 7:00 p.m. Johnson will also taking part in that ceremony.

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