My take: Covid-19 hangs around

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At 6 p.m. last night, Gov. John Carney lifted the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency for Covid-19.

The Biden Administration made a similar decision as Covid-19 benefits began to wind down and Congress passed legislation.

It marked a turning point and provided an opportunity to reflect on the remarkable work in developing vaccines and treatments.

Our coverage of the virus led to more than 600 posts and a few canceled subscriptions from readers a couple of whom complained about our focus. The feeling of fatigue was understandable.

One of the first stories came back in February 2020 as the state focused on travelers who might be carrying the virus. That morphed into news about closed malls, vaccination updates, PPP loan grant programs, state HELP grants, etc.

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While everyday life is largely back to normal, Covid-19 has not gone away.

The latest stats from the Delaware Division of Public Health show that nearly 3,400 have died from the virus since the onset of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. At last count, 30 Delawareans are hospitalized.

In the meantime, the after-effects of a worldwide battle to prevent a Covid-driven economic collapse may be felt for decades. Currently, inflation brought on by a variety of issues including government spending, a labor shortage, wage hikes and efforts to fight higher prices through interest rates hikes seem likely to produce at least a mild recession.

A sizable chunk of the state’s workforce has disappeared for reasons that remain unclear but seem to range from early retirements to “long-haul” Covid cases, a lack of affordable child care and some people figuring out a way to stay home.

The pain as the pandemic wanes will be felt by those least able to deal with it. About 14,000 Delawareans will be taken off the rolls for Medicaid after a no questions asked period ended regarding income limits.

Supplemental food benefits also went away. Even during a relative period of relative prosperity in 2018 and 2019, the Food Bank of Delaware saw skyrocketing demand, often from working families.

Whether the state went too far with its Covid-19 restrictions will be argued for years. The same will be true for misinformation regarding vaccines, often driven by raw politics and those seeking to profit off the pandemic.

I saw examples of government overreach in Delaware, although most occurred during the scary pre-vaccination days that devastated neighboring New Jersey.

We do know that even if you went so far as to subtract elderly loved ones who died from Covid-19 near the end of their lives, the toll is staggering. At last count, nearly 3,400 deaths have been reported, the equivalent of the population within the corporate limits of Lewes.

It could have been worse. Had Delaware’s death rate been equivalent to Arizona’s (the top state in the death rate per 100,000 residents) an additional 500 would have perished from the virus. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.

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