COVID-19 Update: May 2021

By: James Fitzpatrick

May 1st, 2021

New CDC guidelines are allowing individuals who have received the vaccine, which is becoming more widespread and accepted, to limit mask wearing in certain instances. On April 27th, the CDC released an update on mask usage, mainly for vaccinated individuals. “Fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask outdoors, except in certain crowded settings and venues,” according to the CDC. Fully-vaccinated individuals can gather with each other indoors, and vaccinated people aren’t required to wear masks around unvaccinated people indoors anymore. However, large gatherings, even if they’re done outdoors, are still discouraged. Asymptomatic individuals who have been vaccinated aren’t required to stay away from work if their workplace is exposed to the virus. While these aren’t major breakthroughs, these sorts of restrictions are being lessened for the first time in a while, which gives hope that this phase of the Pandemic may be wrapping up soon. 

 

According to “Connecticut coronavirus update: State to lift most mandates on businesses, outdoors” from ABC 7 NY, they state, “Bars that do not serve food can open for service on an outdoor-only basis. These establishments will still be prohibited from serving only alcohol indoors.” Along with extended curfews, Connecticut businesses will try to safely return to 100% capacity by May 19th. This is exciting as businesses have been operating on limited capacity, and eating and drinking restrictions have been tight since the Pandemic started, so it’s interesting to see things are finally changing. This may promote more business as places will be allowing more people, and rules won’t be as strict.

 

There are many locations, even near Watertown that you can get the vaccine if you’re eligible, including but not limited to: Walgreens, CVS, Waterbury Hospital Health Center on Echo Lake Rd, and Staywell Health Center in Waterbury. These vaccines have been available for months, and the 2-dose vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are similar and still both have highly effective success rates. However, the distribution of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine recently had a temporary pause due to blood clotting in some users.

COVID-19 Update: April 2021

By: James Fitzpatrick

April 2nd, 2021

Progress is continually being made to combat COVID-19 through vaccines and maintaining previous safety precautions. Companies such as Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson have developed the main vaccines taken by societies all across the world, with Johnson & Johnson specializing in a one-dose vaccine as opposed to the normal two-dose vaccine. According to “COVID-19 vaccines: Get the facts” by mayoclinic.org, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine ”was 66% effective in preventing the COVID-19 virus with symptoms — as of 14 days after vaccination”, while Moderna’s vaccine is 94% effective, and Pfizer’s is 95% effective.

 

Regardless of the success rates of these vaccines, COVID-19 safety precautions are not going away anytime soon. Considering many people, especially those less than 16 years old, cannot be vaccinated with the current vaccines, it is everyone’s responsibility to continue acting sensibly during these times. Always maintain six feet from people you encounter in public, and masks should always be worn over the nose and mouth. 

 

There are many potential symptoms reported by people soon after their vaccinations, from chills, headaches, or even a fever. This should not discourage eligible people from being vaccinated, as it not only lowers the risk of the person’s contraction of COVID-19, but also those around them. It is safe to say that the world wants to be done with this pandemic and the ravaging effects of this virus as soon as possible; it has been over a year, and hope can finally be seen.

Managing Physical & Mental Health During the Pandemic

By: James Fitzpatrick

December 22nd, 2020

We need to ensure our safety and our happiness are in check during this pandemic. There are many precautions people can take to limit the chances of getting COVID-19, but our mental health is susceptible to being weakened through the isolation we all are currently facing. Everyone is feeling the impacts of the pandemic, and there are resources such as hotlines if things get bad enough.

 

Our school is set to open on January 19th, so our mask awareness needs to be at an all-time-high. Wear a mask as much as possible, and don’t be afraid to tell someone to raise theirs above their nose if they aren’t wearing it properly. Limit sharing objects with others, and bring resources like water from your own home as much as possible. We are still vulnerable to other diseases, and while COVID-19 seems like the only disease right now, we need to keep our vaccinations up to date for diseases like the flu to keep our immune systems as strong as they can be. 

 

It’s hard to stay motivated during these times, and feelings of loneliness may seep in during this era of social distancing. A recent survey conducted by Social Pro, shows “34% of Millennials in the survey said they were ‘always or often’ lonelier due to the pandemic”, as commented by Time. Calling the number “211” can direct to professionals that assist with mental health and other external help services. Even if it has to be long distance through FaceTime, talk to other people, because everyone is going through this together. If negative thoughts are becoming too overwhelming, seek help; they don’t magically go away. Our school’s guidance counselors and therapists outside of the school are always available to help out. To increase one’s self-esteem, try helping others in simple ways. A simple compliment or the offer to shovel snow can go a long way. As the Dalai Lama has said, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

 

Aspects of pre-pandemic life are more important than ever to manage, such as personal hygiene and good sleeping habits. To give some good structure to life, try to return to one’s old life as much as possible. Start a new hobby that’s always seemed interesting. Most importantly, don’t give up.

Tips to Avoid COVID-19

By: James Fitzpatrick

December 3rd, 2020

Outside of the many daily practices we’ve implemented into our modern lives like wearing a mask and sanitizing our hands, there are plenty of health habits that provide similar benefits to our bodies during the pandemic. Most teenagers have strong immune systems and may not take this pandemic as seriously as older individuals, but safety precautions are most effective when practiced by everyone. According to, “Safety Tips for People at High Risk of Serious  Illness from COVID-19” from westernconnecticuthealthnetwork.org, people over 65 years old are especially susceptible to the virus, but no one is immune because of their age.

 

Gathering with many other individuals is an occurrence we often find ourselves in even during these times, but it’s still not smart to do it frequently, so staying in the safety of one’s own home with their own family is a great option right now. If going out is mandatory, handling things like food, drinks, and surfaces in a safe fashion is indispensable. At this point, people who don’t wash their hands before and after meals are doing a disservice to their society; everyone needs to follow proper sanitation rules. Complying to maximum occupancy and social distancing rules in an establishment, such as maintaining 6 feet from others to minimize respiratory contact as well as using contact-free methods of obtaining essential things, according to the CDC, is necessary as well.

 

Healthy practices from before the pandemic are still relevant. According to, “7 tips for staying safe as COVID-19 cases rise and colder weather heightens the risk” from conversation.com, being able to stay happy and fit through means of exercising and having a good diet goes far. Pursuing new and exciting hobbies, washing hands for at least 20 seconds after touching food and other germy surfaces, as well as trying to cook as much as possible or using online delivery services like DoorDash, Uber Eats, and GrubHub all help make this pandemic easier for everyone. 

 

Regardless of how insignificant certain symptoms of coronavirus may appear to be through reading about them, like headaches and feeling tired, recognizing them early enough could be a life or death difference. We also need to remember other sicknesses still exist; the worst of the flu season has yet to strike us, and we need to continue strengthening our good practices now before viruses become more threatening than ever.

Tips For The 2020 Holiday Season - COVID Style

By: Hannah Colannino

December 8th, 2020

With the holidays coming up , it is hard to not to want to get together with friends and family. Here are some tips and suggestions to keep yourself and others safe during this holiday season:

- Make sure you’re with people who are not showing any symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19.

- Keep your gatherings small. (Limited to 10 people who are immediate family)

- Make sure to quarantine yourself afterwards for 14 days, just to be safe.

- Wear your masks when in close contact with others 

- Gatherings can up the spread of COVID-19 so be as careful and considerate.

-Instead of having a gathering, try to set up a call over zoom.

The more patient we are to see friends and family, the sooner we can all get together normally.  We are in a global pandemic so it’s hard to be cautious because we all want to hug our loved ones and see them all. Just remember it only takes one person with COVID-19 to infect a whole entire room. Be as safe as possible and enjoy the holiday season best you can.

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