By Hannah Berman

By now, most people are no longer worried about COVID. But there were many who were not concerned about it from the start. These were primarily young people because they tend not to worry about anything. The virus that we now refer to as COVID was initially called the coronavirus, more officially known as SARS-CoV2. The majority of our population knew nothing about it until late in January of 2020. We now know that it originated in Wuhan, China, and that it was very dangerous. It quickly spread around the world and therefore was termed a pandemic. In time we referred to it as COVID-19. But we soon dropped the 19 and it is now known simply as COVID.

For a long time, life was what can only be described as topsy-turvy. Some people took major precautions. They rarely left their homes. They had their groceries delivered and left outside at the front door. They brought the items into the house only after every jar, container, and wrapping had been swiped with either a Lysol or a Clorox wipe. Those two companies did a booming business for a while.

Other people scoffed at all that. They threw caution to the wind and, without hesitation, shopped in stores. There were differences there, too. Some kept six feet apart from others and some did no such thing. Masks, which were mandatory in some stores, became a hot fashion item for women. Men stuck to blue or white masks made of paper but some females went all out in the mask department. They purchased cloth masks in a variety of colors and prints and continued to wear them even after learning that cloth masks offered little or no protection. Dr. Fauci, the man who suddenly became a household name, vacillated on a regular basis. First he said that masks were unnecessary but we soon learned that he made that statement in order to prevent a run on masks. He wanted to ensure that there would be enough for healthcare workers.

Eventually, Fauci reversed his position. He insisted that masks were indeed very important and that everyone should wear one. In time he changed his message again and announced that wearing a mask protects others but does not protect the person wearing it. His briefings gave new meaning to the word confusion.

Schools were closed and, thanks in part to the president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, they remained closed long after we knew that children were at very little risk from COVID. Experts in child care and education told us that kids were suffering from the lack of socialization. Nevertheless, youngsters continued to attend online classes, and their education was jeopardized. On a personal note, I was disturbed by all of that, but I had another concern. With a name such as Weingarten, that lady, who was partly responsible for school closings, had to be Jewish, and we Jews have enough trouble without a self-serving individual making a name for herself.

As one of those who stayed home, I spent so much time washing everything down that it was a miracle I didn’t pass out from inhaling Lysol and Clorox fumes. Eventually I did away with wearing a mask, went shopping in stores, and stopped wipe things down. That happened when we were told that the virus does not live on surfaces but is contracted only when someone who’s infected coughs, or even breathes, in our direction—hence the mask debate.

Because nothing ever stays the same, I recently found something new to be concerned about. It is known as RSV, which is short for respiratory syncytial virus. I can’t pronounce that second word but I know that this virus might be a problem for the elderly. This is not a new virus. It has been around for a long time. The question is why a virus that has been around for a long time is now so often making it into the news. It appears that some people are determined to scare the elderly. And I, who long thought of myself as a senior citizen, now know differently. Thanks to all the information about the risks of COVID, I learned that I am not a senior; I am elderly. That came as a shock. But one must accept everything in life, so I now know that it is important to be vigilant and try not to get RSV. Unfortunately, I have no idea what being vigilant entails.

I did get the two recommended COVID vaccinations when they became available and then went on to get the boosters. We elderly folks are constantly being reminded that we are at high risk for one thing or another. Nobody talks about the risks of aches and pains or diminished hearing. Apparently those are not scary enough. But viruses! So COVID concerns have been replaced by RSV concerns. If we pay attention to all of that, our later years will be anything but relaxing. Speaking just for myself, I have found a solution to the RSV warnings. I will simply ignore them, since ruining the golden years makes no sense at all. That’s just the way it is.

Hannah Berman lives in Woodmere and can be reached at or 516-295-4435. Read more of Hannah Berman’s articles on


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