Volunteers wielding diagonal cutters, scissors, and pocket knives on Friday clipped zip ties holding more than 3,400 red plastic hearts that served as a temporary memorial to the COVID-19 deaths San Antonio has endured.

On May 27, when the installation was first erected, 3,400 was a rough representation of the community’s collective loss. Today, total COVID-19 deaths in Bexar County number 4,654, a toll that reflects many deaths from the rise of the highly infectious delta variant and the decision by some to abstain from getting vaccinated.

Although the fence will remain to make room for the upcoming Civic Park construction project, the hearts — filled with inscription, photographs, and bible verses — will be given to local art organizations and universities. Blank hearts will be donated to Head Start programs at the San Antonio Independent School District and Edgewood Independent School District, to be used for art projects.

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Scott Ball

Scott Ball is San Antonio Report's photo editor and grew up in San Antonio.