Pandemic Notebook: Not Out Of the Woods

By Rich Mancuso

It all depends on numbers. All of the COVID-19 reports of declines in hospital admissions, unfortunate deaths, and testing are all a matter of listening and understanding what they are informing on a daily basis.

But face the facts here. The Coronavirus and this pandemic are far from over. We are not out of the woods here or there. We are in a crisis of epic proportions with an economy that has declined to almost depression numbers. 

A President in the White House says, we will recover and be stronger. In the meantime, you and I, victims of this ugly pandemic are finding ways to make ends meet. 

And with a majority of states, if not all, slowly opening to some normalcy by Friday, we must keep in mind that health and safety are still a priority. To  prevent a further spread of the virus, as all reports do indicate, the guidelines for safety should still be obeyed. 

Because a second wave is bound to occur, again from reports of the medical professionals, we must not let down our guard and continue to be  on the side of caution.

Sports is no exception. And they can talk all they want about opening the stadiums and venues, and with no fans in attendance, but safety is still an issue for the players and personnel,  That matter is a main issue for Major League Baseball. 

Players and owners are reviewing the protocols as to how baseball can resume and gain some revenue that has been lost with their billion dollar industry.

So we are as a society with the Memorial Day weekend only days away looking at being conscious of safety? Take a look and examine how social distancing and wearing proper face protection is not a part of the norm for many.

My friends and neighbors are in denial about a pandemic that still exists. They are watching the reports and see a public around the country that are ignoring guidelines.

And with New York City, epicenter of this virus, and still in that shutdown, many are ignoring the guidelines.  Nearby suburbanites are also under the impression that the country needs to open. They, too, also ignore the guidelines with social distancing and not wearing face protection .

Up in Putnam County this past weekend, a vicinity where many city dwellers have relocated, near the town of Mahopac, the boats were on the water. There was minimal social distancing and those walking in town were a few without face protection.

No different in the Bronx. Social distancing and no protective masks to cover the nose and mouth areas that are contributing factors to this pandemic when it comes to the spread of COVID-19.

The New York City website,, has a daily and updated listing by zip code of areas and numbers of those tested and infected with the virus. 

Numbers do tell the story here. Despite what is heard, there is a minimal decline in cases though the hospital admissions are on a decline. Though, regardless of what numbers are saying, people are not abiding by the guidelines.

So as a general rule, journalists and citizen in good standing, it is noticed here that the general public wants to see their lives return to normal and many are in denial. They are not helping the situation and increasing the probability of the Coronavirus spread by ignoring the safety guidelines.

My friends this is not over. Despite what you hear about the declining number of cases and deaths, we are still in a pandemic and a health crisis that will not conclude if guidelines are ignored. 

 This writer wears a mask in public, on the sidewalk, in a car, at a store, and continues that social distancing  There is no need to be ignorant. No need to spread the virus to others as one ignores the guidelines. 

We have learned that this Coronavirus is a secret enemy. It has no friends even for the healthy one that claims to be virus free. 

There is no need to congregate in numbers, and if that cabin fever is at a pitch do go out and be safe. Follow the guidelines and stop the ignorance.

We learn from following and covering sports to observe guidelines and it’s all done for a reason to keep things in control.

We must follow those guidelines as this global pandemic is far from over. Be safe. Wear the gloves, masks, and most of all continue to practice that rule of social distancing. 

RESTAURANTS FOR SOME HAD A MODEL: There are many establishments in the food and restaurant industry thay may not recover from the closures and financial losses of this pandemic with or without the assistance from government programs.

Many continued to remain open with takeout and deliveries to make ends meet.  Though, with openings coming slowly, and not with normalcy, that conscious part of the public still has safety concerns and also eating out is not in their economic means.

Those establishments with gates over their property may never see another customer and that is unfortunate. 

A local diner in the Bronx, one that is always full to capacity, is limited to deliveries and very few of the essential staff remain on a limited payroll.

“I don’t see how we can continue to be a fixture in the community anytime soon and we do care about our regular customers,” said the owner of this establishment who requested not to be named.

Though deliveries from the menu have been consistent they don’t envision any sense of normalcy for a long time.

“It will take me years to recover from this and I can see us closing the doors for good and very soon,” one of the owners said.

Yes, the local diner and restaurant, the one out of the neighborhood are a part of the norm and could be different for those that remain open. Social distancing and wearing that face protection will be the new norm when sitting down for a drink or dinner.

Though, some had a model in place for an eventual pandemic or crisis, and others have learned to stay open with take out and deliveries on a day-by-day basis.

“You had to learn on the fly,” said Vito Russo co-owner of Gilligan’s Clam Bar & Grill up in Pomona, New York. 

He said it’s a learning process. The establishment employed a staff of 40 and that has been reduced by half. Russo, like many that have remained open for takeouts and delivery, does hope to reopen soon with a reduction in seating and following the social distancing guidelines 

He has followed the necessary guidelines and continues to do a significant take out business, though the financial losses are no different from the others. 

“You had to follow market trends and as things started to disappear on the shelf  you  had to prepare with what was on longer available,” Russo said.

Time will tell where this goes. But, as the number of restaurant owners said, don’t expect a normal dining experience in New York when visiting establishments that are planning to reopen.

Remember all: Stay safe and follow the guidelines. We are all in this together.

Comment:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

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