We’re winning the war on COVD — but we haven’t won yet

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times @mikemcgannpa

The announcement that the Centers for Disease Control said that those of us who have been fully vaccinated may now pretty much do without masks everywhere but on public transportation and medical facilities means one thing:

We’re winning the war on COVID-19 — but we haven’t won yet.

And we may not win for quite some time.

In places like Chester County — which has the highest rate of vaccination in Pennsylvania — it is possible that COVID will be all but extinguished by mid to late summer. Each week now, we see the number of cases and severe hospitalizations drop locally. We did the hard stuff: we closed when needed, we wore masks, we were careful and when the shots became available, we turned out in droves to get our vaccinations.

While it might seem like common sense, there are parts of Pennsylvania where this is not true. As of this week, both the south-central portion and northwest portion of the commonwealth are still seeing increases in cases. One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to guess these were the areas that first wouldn’t wear masks and now don’t want to get the vaccine.

Those folks will have to live with the consequences of their decisions — and the histrionics of their local legislators who spent much of the last year acting like spoiled toddlers. As we become fully vaccinated it will be much less of an issue for the rest of us.

Here in the southeast, most of our leaders were sober and careful and our residents did their best on the whole to follow the science.

With so many having been lost and so many more having gotten sick — some of whom are still battling lingering symptoms — it feels difficult to take a victory lap.

But yes, as a community, Chester County can and should take pride in how it responded. 

For the more than half million residents of this county, it appears the worst is over in terms of COVID. Every day, life will get a bit more like normal. By the fall, it may feel very close to normal — with full school classrooms, people back in full restaurants and bustling business offices.

Now, it is important to remind you: some stores and restaurants are still going to require masks for everyone. As private businesses, they get to make this judgment call. Don’t be a jerk about it, wear your mask, be cool about it. Also, don’t give other people crap for continuing to wear masks — they may be immunocompromised or just be acting with an abundance of caution (maybe they have someone vulnerable at home, or are just trying to set a good example for kids who still have to wear masks).

Please understand how these businesses deal with this in the coming days and weeks is not going to be easy. I was speaking with the owner of a southern Chester County eatery who expressed hope for guidance and said he and his staff were taking a conservative approach — continuing to wear masks even while vaccinated for the time being.

Even as I was out and about Saturday night in Kennett Square, I saw more masked people than unmasked, which I think speaks volume about the care and concern our county residents have taken in fighting this pandemic.

We’ve done really well and are seeing the benefits. Let’s keep compassion in our hearts, a bit of patience and we can do just as well in this final phase of the pandemic. 

Chester Countians have every right to be proud, but job is not quite done, yet. Let’s finish strong.


If you are one of the few Chester County residents who did not vote by mail, I’m going to remind you that everyone — including independent voters can vote on the four constitutional revision questions, Tuesday.

I’m going to focus on just two: the harebrained attempt by the legislature to subvert the power of the governor to call and maintain an emergency.

These two referendums would make it much easier for the largely ineffective legislature to end emergency declarations — essentially for political reasons.

Right now, as it stands, a 2/3rd vote by both houses of the General Assembly can end an emergency declaration — a sound option for when a governor goes off the rails and one that requires the agreement of members in both parties. 

But what legislative Republicans want is the option to end an emergency when the legislature goes off the rails, as happened in 2020, when too many GOP members acted like toddlers (and by the way, hurt both the businesses and people of their districts — see who still has growing COVID rates and who doesn’t).

In short, this is entirely unnecessary and would give power to a body that has shown it is only capable of using it to do harm. 

Vote No on both.

The other two referendums, one securing rights on the basis of race or ethnicity, the other allowing local fire departments and EMS to qualify for loans seem like an easy “Yes” vote.

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