We’re officially coming up on a year of the pandemic since it hit the United States. Everyone is getting an extended spring break, they said; this will blow over in a couple of weeks, they said; yet here we are a year later. Not only is the country still feeling the effects of the pandemic, some areas are still in different stages of lockdown.
Iowa is one of the states, if not THE state that has been hampered the most by Coronavirus. At times during this pandemic several cities in the state had the highest positivity rates in the world, not just the U.S. Des Moines, Ames, and Iowa City were all subject to massive outbreaks at one time or another.
Knowing this, Banner News wanted to find out how COVID-19 has affected our students and staff here at home. We sent out a survey to get some answers on how the community was hit, is still being hit, and how they feel about the virus.
Banner received 110 responses to our survey, thank you by the way, which led to some interesting data. Despite the fact that 62% of people who were surveyed said they had been tested for Covid-19, a whopping 93% of people know someone who has tested positive.
One unexpected problem that has risen from people who have had the virus are the long lasting effects that it can have on an individual. Athletes unfortunately led the way in the discovery of Covid causing an influx in an heart disease called myocarditis. Normally this disease is found in roughly 22 out of every 100,000 athletes. However a recent German study found that 60% of their 100 participants now have myocarditis. Luckily, only 11% of the people who took our survey said that they have been experiencing long term problems.
The students and staff who had tested positive who also shared if they had any issues after they had recovered from Covid-19 were quite similar to one another aside from a singular case of myocarditis. For the most part, those surveyed experienced a change in their sense of smell or taste, or still having trouble with both of them. Becoming winded quickly or having trouble breathing, “diminished lung capacity” were also among responses.
Masks have proven to play a large part in stopping the spread of Covid-19. Countries where masks were worn in public areas from day one of their respective lockdowns saw decreasing amounts of outbreaks which eventually helped them contain the spread and get their civilization back to normal. At DMACC, at least from the survey participants a little over 88% said they wear a mask when out in public.
Several companies such as Pfizer and Moderna, with Johnson & Johnson following soon after have all released Covid-19 vaccines to the public. The United States was originally getting the vaccine out at a slow rate but are expected to have 70% of the country vaccinated by May. At the time this survey was sent out 80% of those who participated said they will be getting the vaccine when they are able to. Just under 30% answered that they had already begun the process or were fully vaccinated. The vaccine has been known to cause some side effects such as fever, headache, chills and tiredness. Thankfully 86% of individuals who took our survey said they experienced no side effects.
Unemployment skyrocketed during the early stages of lockdown. Lots of businesses have either had to temporarily or completely shut down due to the pandemic. The unemployment rate reached the highest it has ever been since the data had started being kept in 1948, peaking at 14.8% in April. 9% of those who took the survey said they had personally lost their job due to Covid-19, however over 50% knew someone who lost their job that was caused by the pandemic.
One thing Americans have missed out on during Covid-19’s stay in the country is the ability to travel. People missed out on their summer vacation plans, spring break across most colleges and universities were axed in favor of a longer winter break or to make up lost time. These factors did not stop 53% of our survey participants from leaving the state during the pandemic. Obviously a quick trip to Missouri or Nebraska (nobody should want to go Nebraska in the first place anyway) is not going to drastically harm anyone as long as the proper precautions are taken during the trip.
The biggest question of them all was saved for last, being when do you think the United States will be clear of the pandemic. With winter ending, it being 60 plus degrees in Iowa in the middle of March, hopes should be high! This survey was sent out before the recent announcement that the CDC expects to have 70% of the country vaccinated by May which would allow the US to reach herd immunity. Over 58% of our survey participants believe it won’t be until 2022 that the country will return back to normalcy, with only 5 people out of the 110 who have hope that by May 1st the country could get back to where it was before Covid hit the US.
For more information on the pandemic, coronavirus itself, or the vaccine itself you can visit https://www.cdc.gov/.
Athletes Myocarditis source: https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/college-athletes-experienced-heart-damage-after-covid-19-study-67929
German Covid Study: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology/fullarticle/2768916
Unemployment statistics: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R46554.pdf