Pandemic Perspective: Covid has been a demon, disrupting and ending lives

Posted 16 March 2021 at 11:42 am

Generous government relief for so many puzzles long-time reporter

By Ginny Kropf

Photo by Tom Rivers: Ginny Kropf has worked as a local reporter for the past half century.

It has been several years since I’ve written a column, but after all we’ve been through this past year, there is lots to write about.

It was just a year ago our country basically shut down due to Covid-19. During that time, some have shown how ignorant they can be by refusing to do something as simple as wearing a mask, while others have been responsible and worn a mask in public – something very basic which could have achieved overwhelming results, had everyone done it in the beginning.

There might not have been more than 500,000 deaths, with loved ones dying alone, millions and millions spent in health care and healthcare workers and hospitals taxed to the limit – and beyond.

But that, hopefully, is in the past. And if everyone – with no exceptions for any reason – gets the vaccine, we can lay this Covid demon to rest.

My husband Al and a 98-year-old friend were able to get our first shots a week ago and the second is scheduled at the end of March. Hopefully then we can feel comfortable going out in public, but I’m sure we will continue to wear our masks for the near future.

So much has been lost in this past year – and not only human life. I had rented Camp Rainbow for a day last summer to have a graduation party for our great-granddaughter, who wanted to come here from South Carolina to have her party with us. That, of course, didn’t happen.

There have been birthday parties nearly every month which had to be canceled. And weddings canceled or downsized. And tragically, funerals which could only be for a handful of relatives or friends.

But we have survived it.

However, the effect of the virus is going to be long-lasting.

Last summer, Scott Robinson, who is part owner of the Shirt Factory Café and founder of the Medina Area Partnership, said many restaurants would fail due to the pandemic.

I can only speculate as to the hardship dealt to business owners of every kind – especially the travel and tourism industry.

As much as I am sure the stimulus checks sent by our Federal government are needed, I also have a great concern.

Has the government considered how that money is going to get paid back? Also, I feel there was no responsible action taken by either party when deciding who should get the checks.

I am getting $2,000 from the government – $600 in December and now the $1,400. For our household, that totals $4,000 between Al and I, just dropped into our accounts. While I’m sure many legitimately needed the money, many, many more did not.

Al and I aren’t rich, but we certainly don’t want for anything. A gentleman I know is quite well off and donated his first check to a charity, and I’m sure he’ll do the same with this second check. When I heard the checks were going to anyone making less than $75,000, I wanted to scream!

The poverty level for a family of five is $30,680. Yet anyone making up to $75,000 is going to get “free” money from the government. Not good thinking on my part. I could easily survive on $40,000 a year if I had to.

Then there are the extended unemployment checks. Just sent to practically anyone. I know a person whose unemployment check is almost twice what her part-time salary was. And I know a handful of people who won’t go back to work because they can get the extended unemployment. An employer in Genesee County told me when they re-opened after initially having to shut down, half of their work force refused to come back to work.

In Medina, another company CEO has the same problem. He said a stipulation was included with the unemployment checks that if a person’s job was available and he didn’t go back to work, his unemployment checks would end. UNLESS – he or she had reason to fear Covid. So, the CEO said, the employees just said they had a health problem which made them afraid of Covid and they are staying home collecting unemployment, while the company is struggling to complete its work.

While I’m on the subject of our government, how absolutely stupid and irresponsible to open our borders. Of course, the illegal immigrants will be so grateful, they will vote for the party who let them in. But how many more can the working people in our country sustain.

Dean Bellack of Medina has a sign in his office written by Thomas Jefferson decades ago, which reads, “Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who are not.”

How long before we get to the point where the unemployed people outnumber the working population? What then?

Al and I are thankful we are in our 80s. We’ve seen the best years.