New Rochelle was New York’s original epicenter, the site of a one-mile containment zone that was meant to curb the coronavirus spread. Little did anyone know then, the virus had been circulating in communities across the country for weeks.
Before Zoom transformed school and face masks were the norm everywhere, a family in the Westchester County city modeled quarantine for the rest of us, after they were one of the first families in the nation to be put on lockdown.
"I get a call saying we’re turning the buses, wait for your kids. And I was like, are you kidding me, what’s going on here," said Tamar Weinberg. "I didn’t understand the magnitude of coronavirus."
The mother talked with NBC New York around this time in March 2020, showing the first glimpses of life in quarantine, something that would become all too familiar for many. Weinberg was stuck in her home with her four kids and her husband, and would stay that way for quite a long time.
"Well thank God we still love each other, so there's still that," she said. "It's been a difficult last few months. They did Zoom school for the entire academic year."
Like so many families, the Weinbergs had to adjust to a new reality. They've also lost loved ones to COVID-19, and during quarantine Tamar found out she had the virus herself.
"I could let this consume me, or I could take advantage of, how can I help somebody else?" she said.
Weinberg, who had struggled with postpartum depression, found a silver lining professionally (by launching her own perfume brand) and personally, by answering the call for others. From her own driveway, he has run food drives for first responders and for local food banks. She has also focused on supporting local restaurants by organizing large dinner deliveries for neighbors.
"To be able to connect with people where I could help has been so empowering for me, and I'm so glad I've been able to provide that," Weinberg said.
On Wednesday, Westchester County marked a somber year in which the community lost more than 2,000 people to COVID-19.
"The agony of not holding the hand of the person you spent your life with. The agony of not seeing your children, not having the chance to say goodbye," said County Executive George Latimer.
But during a year that tested the community's resolve, it's a shared humanity that pushes everyone forward.
"Find your solace in the community. I really feel that way," Weinberg said.