How Pennsylvanians Feel About The Current State Of The Pandemic - Paycheck

How Pennsylvanians Feel About The Current State Of The Pandemic

With a year and a half into the COVID-19 Pandemic, the light at the end of the tunnel started to shine.  Vaccinations were taking place and with them came the return to some sense of normalcy.  If you were fully vaccinated, you weren’t required to wear a mask in most places, with the exception of doctor’s offices, hospitals, public transportation and airplanes to name a few.  Restaurants were allowed to open to full capacity.  Events like fairs and concerts started taking place again.  You could almost hear a sigh of relief coming from every direction in the state.  But, the tunnel has seemed to increase in length and the light has been dimmed a bit thanks in turn to the slow down in vaccinations and the Delta variant.  Infection rates have gone up in every state, including Pennsylvania and the CDC came out with a new recommendation on July 27 stating that even fully vaccinated people should start wearing masks again in areas of the country where there are hotspots.  Thankfully, that doesn’t include Pennsylvania, which has a vaccination rate of 51.9%.  Hearing all of this makes one wonder how Pennsylvanians are feeling about the pandemic, what has changed for them and how does the future look to them.  

Nancy of Thompson, Susquehanna County, said, “I feel that businesses shouldn’t have been shut down like they were. The shutdown seemed to target small businesses and not the “box” stores. It makes no sense to me to let hundreds of people in a Walmart or Home Depot and not let 2 or 3 in a small store.  It was interesting to note that high up public officials, etc. seemed to be able to get haircuts and the general public couldn’t get their hair cut.  After going to all my husband’s cardiologist appointments in 2020, I was asked if I ever had a Covid test at a February 2021 visit. I replied that I did back in December pre-surgery and it was negative. Since I didn’t have the negative test results in writing, I was not allowed in. The negative test was two months before so why would that mean anything at a visit in February?  So I sat in the car for two hours in 25 degree temps! So now I have a piece of paper that says I had a negative test in December 2020. What does that piece of paper mean – nothing except that one day in December I was negative.  I could have been positive in two days!  The most harm socially was done to our older people and school age children.  Limited numbers of family members could have been allowed to visit nursing home patients by having their temp taken, wearing a mask, gloves, and a gown if necessary.  Covid is going to be with us for a long time and we need to live our lives.  It would be nice to get information from a reliable source. Through the whole pandemic we were told one thing, then the next day another thing.  Also we’re bombarded with requests to get the vaccine, but then thousands of illegal immigrants are allowed in the country with no health exam, no vaccination, etc.  In the future, I plan to do what I’ve done the past year – wear a mask if the business I want to enter requires it, wash my hands frequently, and stay home if I feel sick.

Kay, also of Thompson had this to say, “I am still not really relaxed about going out among crowds to the stores, etc. without a mask and trying to keep a distance. It feels strange to not have a mask and many people gathered close,  so I am nervous . I do think school should go back to normal . We cannot live in fear forever - use common sense .  I wash my hands, try not to be too close . Union Dale (Fire Company) had it's annual picnic and it was nice to see people without masks and visiting as we used to do. I was more relaxed there - maybe because we were outside! I guess I will always be more aware now of all the precautions - wiping down shopping carts, trying not to touch a lot of things in stores, wiping my hands with wipes when I get back to my car after shopping etc. The future will be different after all we have gone through in 2020. I still see shelves less stocked than before and it is difficult to find parts and tires and other things which we used to be able to get easily. Many businesses are not able to get enough employees to have normal hours and service. I think eating out has gotten more expensive at some places. So we'll adjust as we have to and carry on!”

Rick Bullock of Honesdale, Wayne County expressed his thoughts.  “I am p----d off because of the vaccine hesitancy.  We could be in much better shape.  I am concerned with all of the unvaccinated hosts out there, what it could mutate into and the vaccinated could start to become more vulnerable.  I am considering wearing masks again in stores.  Why did we get vaccinated?  I am ready to get on with life but still considering wearing masks and being around crowds. I am also concerned about the unvaccinated.  I personally know someone who didn’t get the vaccine but now has changed his mind and is hospitalized with COVID in really serious condition.  It has changed my lifestyle.  I think twice about going out.  It has made me more of a homebody.  It made me more serious about saving money.  The shutdown forced the saving habit.  It will always be here but enough people should see it and get vaccinated.  It will never be eradicated but there will be milder symptoms.”

In a recent column on Pennsyvanianewstoday.com, Dr Debra Powell, Chief of Division of Infectious Disease and Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Reading Hospital said the virus will continue to mutate as it spreads and the pandemic won’t end until the virus is controlled worldwide.  She and Casey Pinto, a professor of Public Health Sciences at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, who was also quoted in the article, both say the only way to do that is through herd immunity through vaccination rates of 70% or more.  

Theresa Opeka

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