EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)- From masks to lockdowns, to everything in between, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the Tri-State.

As the country hit 69 million cases and more than 859,000 deaths from the virus, both global highs, the Tri-State is also looking back at a pandemic that has claimed over 2,000 lives in the region alone. For healthcare workers like Dr. David Schultz, burnout remains a major problem in the field. Dr. Schultz says the profession is continuing to fight against the pandemic and burnout, but he says there is a shortage of workers as a result of the stress brought upon by the pandemic.

Dr. Schultz says his own experience with COVID late in 2020 gave him a new perspective on the virus that has wreaked havoc across the globe. Dr. Schultz says that when doctors become patients, they gain a new understanding and knowledge of the disease. He says he now “understands” the body aches, fatigue, and ‘long-haul‘ symptoms associated with the virus.

Retail workers like Robb Basham are no strangers to the stress of the pandemic. Basham says he recalls a time when people like him were treated “like heroes, but haphazardly.” Basham says he felt like retail workers were “cast aside as nothing but expendable pawns” during the pandemic.

Still, there is room for hope amid the devastation. Basham says the pandemic caused him to a pick up a “bad habit,” but now he says he’s focused on turning things around for himself. For Dr. Schultz, the emergence of proven vaccines and treatments like the antibody treatment he received have given him hope, both for the pandemic, and the future of medicine.