Florida COVID - 2 Years Later

The good and bad effects on Floridians
By
Patti Jewel
Covid Updates May 2022

May 13, 2022 - over 2 years of COVID

Today is Friday the 13th and while this is typically associated with horror movies, the day also brings up the unlucky feelings. Today's unlucky date has me thinking about COVID which has been a time of very unlucky happenings for a large percentage of people across the world and horror for others. 

On March 15, 2020, I wrote my first article about the first week of COVID and how it was quickly impacting our Florida lives. Never did any of us imagine the long path and just how much our society would change. Back then, things happened fast. Everything seemed to shut down within weeks and our worlds became virtual. Little did we see the slower changes that were happening and the trickle effects. I still do not believe we are close to seeing all of the long-term effects of COVID. 

As of May 5th, the most recent numbers by the Florida Health Department show:

  • over 15 million Floridians have been vaccinated
  • just over 5 million have gotten boosters
  • almost 6 million cases have been reported
  • and over 74,000 deaths have occurred

While much of the news focuses on reporting the negative affects, there are also many positive things that have come from COVID. Some of the ongoing harmful effects of COVID include education, inflation, shortages, a rising gap in the income divide, and a strengthening of the political separation. Some of the positive things are more choices for workers with the options to work virtually, more resources online for students seeking to school at home, more awareness of germs and health safety around others, and more choices for food ordering and pickup including curbside.

There is no doubt COVID has changed the world. 

Education

Children in schools during this time have had their lives changed and have been affected in ways that we do not even understand yet. Public schools in Florida have now gone through 2 years of COVID and are hoping to start the year in 2022 without issues. 

The Negative: Children whose parents have less resources, are less educated and who couldn't take on the responsibility of schooling their children have been hit the hardest. Many have fallen behind the standards that the school system sets. The social aspects may be the worse issue. Many children depend on social interaction at school, including clubs, activities and sports. Students trying to get scholarships for a skill or sport that requires a team or group were held back from showcasing the skills or athleticism necessary in their senior years. 

The Positive: Choices. Parents and students have discovered new ways to learn with choices for their education. Teachers, parents and students learned new technologies and ways to be active virtually. And it has opened up the structure and standardized testing to debate and thoughts on reimagining education. 

Shortages

The Negative: Starting with the toilet paper shortage, we saw that there would be massive problems with the world globally shuts down. People tend to be greedy when they are worried about being without. This selfishness shows every time a hurricane is headed for Florida when people buy more water and food then they would need for an entire year leaving the shelves empty for others. And it becomes a massive problem when baby formula becomes scarce and parents can't get enough to feed their baby. 

The Positive: It is bringing to light the problems with our focus when babies are without food. When the wealthy have too much and the poor can't eat, it is a slap in the face to wake up and make some changes. Stores and retailers have learned to put limits on those who were hoarding preventing others from having any which levels out the supply showcasing a community effort to allow all citizens to have a share. 

Inflation

The Negative: What is not negative about inflation? Inflation is not helping anyone but the super wealthy who own rental properties and are now able to earn an extra $1000 a month per property for doing absolutely nothing while the renters have to work an extra job to pay it. And even those with a home and good income are feeling the pinch of higher expenses in everything from consumables like food and gas, to items like cars and vacations. 

The Positive: I can't think of any. 

 

Widened the Income Divide

The Negative: As previously mentioned, the haves are getting more by doing absolutely nothing to earn it except owning something while the have-nots are working the extra hours to pay for the higher prices. This is only putting more money into the pockets of the rich while working the middle class and those below the poverty line to what could be a breaking point. 

The Positive: Only the top 5% feels good about this. 

 

Widened the Political Divide

The Negative: COVID has increased the political divide with politicians politicizing both mask wearing and vaccines. Propaganda and lies are rampant on the news, in books, and on social media and it spreads like wildfire. Without proof, fake news gets reposted and retweeted. COVID has become a catalyst for politicians to win their base. And with certain state politicians trying to increase their appeal with their base, rather than work with the other party to solve issues, they file lawsuits when someone disagrees with them. 

The Positive: More people today are aware of propaganda and lies that are spread for political gain in a party and are learning to be smart and look up facts before making a decision on something or siding with their party. 

 

Fast Tracking a More Virtual World

Virtual workers have been growing over the past 15-20 years at a rather slow rate. COVID fast-tracked the option to work at home with the flexibility of living anywhere. Many large corporations are now sticking to the model of keeping many of the workers virtual. Zoom and video meetings seemed to be a thing that only large companies used with executives and proposals. Now everyone knows and understands the virtual meeting technology and more people are comfortable with meetings from home. 

 

Food Options

While we were not able to eat out at restaurants for a long period of time during the first year of COVID, restaurants were able to shift to a new model of servicing their customers. Pickup and delivery have always been around for pizza, chinese food and others. With COVID, many sit-down restaurants added these services. For many, it has opened the door to trying more restaurants. And who doesn't love the option of Curbside pickup? 

 

Health Awareness in Public

One thing COVID has done for everyone is it has made us all aware of germs and health safety in public. We wash our hands more, we stay socially distanced, and we are more aware of the spreading of germs. 

 

 

 

Florida Department of Education offers guidelines and information in their #COVIDStopsWithMe Toolkit

Stay strong and share your stories and what’s happening in your local community with us.

Follow our Florida Cornovirus Blog here to see what's happening around the state and how your fellow Floridians are being affected. Contact us and share what's happening in your business, school, family, or community. 

Florida coronavirus information hotline: 1-866-779-6121 or email COVID-19@flhealth.gov with questions. Remember to check the Florida Health Department website daily to stay up to date on the coronavirus. 

 

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