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The Pandemic Stage According to Morningside Residents




CLARA-SOPHIA DALY, HOST: When it comes to COVID, people aren’t sure exactly what to call this moment we’re in.

Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the US has moved out of the pandemic phase.

A day later, he said NO, the pandemic ISN’T over… we’re just… transitioning.


CLARA GRUNNET, HOST: Reporter Rebekah Robinson asked residents of Harlem and Morningside Heights what they would call this strange and uncertain moment.


REBEKAH ROBINSON, BYLINE: Here in New York, the percentage of positive cases has continued to increase over the last month while the hospitalization and death rates have declined.


Along Frederick Douglass Blvd., some transit riders wear their masks, while others don’t seem to care. Ray Davis is walking his dog.


RAY DAVIS:

I would name this the recovery stage


ROBINSON: The recovery stage. He says that it feels like everybody is moving on with their lives.


DAVIS:

So you really don't have a choice, you sort of have to get with the program. You know, like, nobody wants to wear masks, nobody wants to do this. Nobody wants to do that. I think the problem is a control issue for people. At this point, people just want to have complete control over their lives even if the other person doesn't agree. So I think we're at the stage now where people have to do what they feel is best for themselves and their families without worrying about what the next person does.


ROBINSON: Speaking of the next person, I met another dog-walker with a different description of this phase.


EMMANUEL RUVALCABA: Hopefully. Post recovery, I guess.


ROBINSON: Emmanuel Ruvalcaba says there is comfort in knowing that a significant number of New Yorkers are vaccinated and has seen a change in the neighborhood that gives him hope that the end of the pandemic is in sight.


RUVALCABA:

I think over the last few weeks, I've definitely seen a lot more relaxation in restaurants and bars and stores and things of that nature. So yeah, I've definitely seen that that change here. And I think, with the weather changing as well, it's made a lot of people kind of lighten up a little bit.


ROBINSON: And people have places to go and things to do. Ileana Vanderlinde is ALSO walking her dog… its that kind of neighborhood


ILEANA VANDERLINDE:

I think it's, we're kind of at the post-pandemic, post-pandemic phase. I don't necessarily, you know, seek out large gatherings right. But I do have to take a plane I'm still going to be wearing a mask on a plane and if other people don't that's their decision I will be wearing a mask


ROBINSON: This moment of the pandemic feels just as uncertain as it did before. Masking guidelines, new variants of the virus the number of boosters that may be required.

Columbia University student Shannon Binnz has even faced uncertainty of her own COVID exposure.


SHANNON BINNZ: I keep calling it a post-pandemic in some aspects. But I know

that it's still ever-present. So it's this weird, ambiguity period. I mean, I still think it's the pandemic but it's this weird liminal space.


ROBINSON: A weird liminal space indeed as the pandemic continues to evolve across the country. Call it the Recovery stage, post-recovery, or post-pandemic…. many New Yorkers continue to carry on.


Rebekah Robinson, Columbia Radio News

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