Dennis Lyons

Most days I bring my lunch to work. It saves time. It saves money. And I can be more careful about what I’m eating.

On Thursday, though, I didn’t. Chalk it up to laziness, and the fact nothing in our fridge appealed to me. 

Later, with a 1 p.m. conference call quickly approaching, I regretted that decision. But I was hungry, so I zipped out to get something quick.

Both lines at the nearby Burger King on 4th Street in Sunbury were too long for the time I had to spend. So I turned to the adjacent convenience store at the Sunoco station to pick up a sandwich.

Inside, in addition to a nice turkey and cheese sub, I found a few appropriate changes from the last time I’d been there. The check-out counter had plexiglass all around it. There were signs on the floor to keep people waiting at a safe distance. All of the staff members wore a mask. 

So did I, and one other customer. The other seven or eight people shopping for lunch or whatever did not. 

On a day where reports nationwide showed a concerning increase in the number of coronavirus cases nationwide, I was puzzled why these folks chose not to be careful.

It seems like an unnecessary, risky gamble.

As our nation and world seek to emerge from COVID-19 lockdowns, we all want to return to some form of normalcy. I get it. As I’ve said here before, I don’t like wearing a mask either.

But we have a responsibility to our neighbors to accept the public health threat the pandemic continues to pose.

I know I’m not the first person to say something like this, but I feel it’s worth repeating.

If your house was on fire, would you go back in, plop in your recliner and turn on the TV?

We don’t run many national stories on the front page of The Daily Item, but I felt the Associated Press story we published there Friday merited that attention.

On the same day we had a centerpiece about Northumberland and Union counties entering the green phase of reopening, the AP reported on a nationwide analysis that showed COVID-19 cases are on the rise again in many of our states.

Texas has more COVID-19 hospitalized patients now than it has had at any time during the pandemic. North Carolina’s spike has that state reconsidering reopening schools. Overall, in 21 states, the analysis found, the past seven days have seen higher case numbers than the previous seven days.

On Wednesday, Texas reported the highest one-day total since the pandemic emerged - 2,504 new coronavirus cases, and a 4.7% jump in hospitalizations to 2,153, according to Bloomberg News.

Bloomberg also reported:

Florida had 8,553 new cases this week — the most of any seven-day period.

A daily tally of new cases in Arizona has abruptly spiked in the last two weeks, hitting an all-time high of 1,187 on June 2.

California’s hospitalizations have risen in nine of the past 10 days, and are at their highest since May 13.

By comparison, Pennsylvania has been going in the right direction. The whole Valley is now in the green phase. That’s the good news, and probably why some people have stopped paying attention.

But I’m still not willing to play a game of virus roulette. I hope you’re not either. 

Email comments to dlyons@dailyitem.com

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