Pandemic is over. Now what?

Easter Sunday the pandemic ended for Lynnda and me. Our church was the last major venue still with COVID restrictions. Thanks to the Bishop and our pastor that all ended on Sunday. For the first time in over 3 years, the collection basket was passed instead of sitting on a table at the back of church. We could again receive communion from the cup if we chose. Mandatory masks went away months ago. Some people still choose to wear them. The choice is up to the individual. Even attendance is back up, though not to pre-pandemic levels.

As far as I know, states of emergency are all ended. Our life returned to normal in 2022 except for church, doctors offices and a few other places. No masks required at airports or on planes. Conferences and meetings are the same as pre pandemic. Theme parks are crowded. Hotels are very busy again. People are traveling to and from the USA for business and pleasure. Some are looking at sites, especially with the Ukraine- Russia war going on and China’s saber rattling.

What did the pandemic show us? What did we learn from it? Most important, are we doing anything different based on what we learned? Here are some things I’ve learned;

  • People and human touch are important, especially family and friends. We went months without seeing our children, grandchildren, relatives and friends in person. Zoom is better than nothing but no replacement for in-person. Some people in quarantine or lockdown were alone with no human touch at all. I don’t know how they did it. It’s nice to live with someone you like in lockdown especially for people living in apartments.

    Lynnda and I talked. We watched movies and put puzzles together. Before the pandemic ended, we traveled to see our children and grandchildren in 2021. Recently, our daughter was home for Easter. We spent this week in the Outer Banks with our youngest and his family. Dannielle and I are running a half-marathon together later this month. Other trips are planned.

    We learned from Lynnda’s car accident and my soccer injury, life can change quickly. Kids and grandkids grow up and sometimes work takes them away from home. Now is the time to build relationships. It isn’t good to live a life of regrets. My nephew wishes he had spent more time with his father while he was alive.
  • Amazon can get about anything delivered quickly. We used Amazon a lot during the pandemic. Even though we shop more in person we still get a lot of our needs through Amazon.
  • Much of U.S. manufacturing had moved overseas. The pandemic showed us how much. I didn’t know 80% of our prescription drugs are imported. We were importing hospital gowns, surgical gloves and medical equipment. Vehicles weren’t able to be assembled and sold because parts not made in the USA were unavailable. Many items were in short supply including toilet paper. Made in America is a must especially for essential items like healthcare PPE, medical equipment, prescription drugs and many consumer items.

    Made in America is happening now. A plant making paper products including toilet paper is now in operation south of Columbus. Dow Chemical in Charleston opened up a closed production line and made hand sanitizer. Another WV company began making ventilator parts. They eliminated their Chinese suppliers in favor of suppliers in the region. This lowered their costs, created a more dependable supply chain and lowered emissions.

    Others followed. Intel is coming to the Columbus area to make micro chips. Hino’s truck engines are now made in the USA. TCL from India is coming to the Ohio Valley to use U.S. energy and raw materials to manufacture a product they make in India and ship to the USA. Numerous other companies have located or are in the process of locating to the Shale Crescent USA. This week, a South Korean company announced they are coming to Morgantown to make insulin. Shell’s cracker is now operational near Pittsburgh. This will greatly help processors to make plastic products of all types in the region. They can get their raw materials from Shell rather than the Gulf Coast.
  • We need to be careful when giving government emergency powers. Once people have power they are usually slow to give it up. Some states restricted many personal freedoms. They were able to ban freedom of assembly and restrict people’s ability to worship. In Maryland my daughter got shouted at from passing cars for not wearing a mast while running outside by herself. They had no idea masks are dangerous to wear when running or in sports. It doesn’t make sense to wear a mask when you are by yourself, like fishing in the middle of a lake.

    When the pandemic started everyone was learning. There were a lot of unknowns, governments and companies had to error on the side of caution. In West Virginia the state of emergency wasn’t lifted until 2023, almost three years. That’s a long State of Emergency! The legislature acted and passed Senate Bill 128. The Governor can still declare a State of Emergency giving him additional powers to deal with the emergency. SB 128 requires the State of Emergency to expire in 60 days unless the legislature allows it to be extended. The Governor or legislature can end the State of Emergency. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and the House 87-4. It became law on March 4th.

The pandemic helped us to see what is important in life. It showed us weaknesses and short comings we have as a country. We have made positive changes. The challenge we face as individuals and a nation is to never forget what we have been through and what we learned from it. We don’t want to slip back into old habits. Make this the year to spend more quality time with friends and family.

Greg Kozera/, [email protected] is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. (You can follow SCUSA on Facebook) He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering and over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg
is a leadership expert, high school soccer coach, professional speaker, author of four books and numerous published articles.

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