Why did the country close over COVID-19 and not the flu?

By CONNOR ROHLF –  It’s impossible not to notice the effects that COVID-19 has had on our community, our state, our country, and even the world.

COVID-19, however, is not as widespread as the flu.

According to the Center for Disease Control, its estimate for flu illnesses in the United States from October 1, 2019 through April 4, 2020, is between 39 million to 59 million cases.  As of 18 June, 2020, the CDC reports that the coronavirus, which shut down the country, has been confirmed in 2.2 million cases.

So why did Pennsylvania shut down?

The flu has a much higher infection rate than COVID-19.  However, there were many unknowns about COVID-19 and concerns that hospitals would be overwhelmed with patients needing ventilators.  Since there wasn’t a vaccine, the only way to “flatten the curve” was essentially quarantine.

Since Governor Tom Wolf issued the executive order shutting down schools and non-essential business as of March 13, accurate testing for COVID-19 has expanded.  More testing naturally results in more diagnoses, but the number of fatalities has held steady except in long-term care facilities.  As of June 18, Indiana County has had 89 confirmed cases and 8 probable cases with only 5 deaths.

Indiana just entered green on June 5.  After almost two months of shutdown, businesses are finally able to reopen with some restrictions and after spiking unemployment, many are able to return to work.  However, many annual activities and festivals, including the Indiana County Fair, have had to be canceled.

This has never happened for the flu.

 

Quarantine led to home-styled hair

BY ETHAN COLEMAN – With outbreaks of COVID-19, or coronavirus, spreading around the country, Governor Wolf  issued a series of proclamations. One of these was when he decreed that all “nonessential businesses” would be closed.

This included hair salons.

This means that kids couldn’t get their hair cut, at least not by a professional. Kids had a choice: they could wait until Indian went “Green,” likely ending up with long, wild hair, or they cold get a family member to cut their hair for them– which in some cases turned out a bit differently than they expected.  The results are often not quite picture perfect

The internet features hundred  of videos and pictures of failed haircuts by a loved one, from being a bit uneven on one side, to accidentally cutting a huge chunk of hair out.  One example of an online fail is where a 7 year old  ended up having to shave part of his head because his dad accidentally shaved a random strip of his hair bald.

However, some people are quite satisfied with their new look. My sister, for example, had her hair cut by our mom (who is definitely NOT a hair stylist)  just a few days ago, wanting to try out bangs, and is very pleased with the new look.  When I asked how she felt about her haircut she said, “I really like my new haircut and think it’s very beautiful.” 

Now that Indiana’s salons have reopened, even though with some restrictions, students are no longer limited to “quarantine haircuts.”  Even if they did suffer a  “Epic Hair Fail,” at least their hair will grow back before school begins again.

Be fit to survive

By ETHAN COLEMAN – As you may know,  six main things that a person needs to survive are clean air, water, food/nutrients, warmth, shelter, and sleep. Here are some tips on three of these that may help if the coronavirus truly is THE END. 

Most of Pennsylvania, including our area of it, is very hilly and forested. These tips will be most useful in the woods around our area. 

Air –  Currently, air shouldn’t be too much of a problem, if you are in the woods, the plants should definitely provide enough oxygen for you. However, remember that if you are in a closed space with no air holes, the oxygen will not last. Also note that a fire will suck up oxygen quickly, and be sure there is a way for the smoke to escape, and oxygen to come in. 

Shelter – Shelter is another basic need. A good shelter will help you keep more warm and more dry, as well as being a place for you to sleep. There are many kinds of shelters. I am going to go over one simple but effective one sometimes known as a leaf hut. The leaf hut is a two-sided, wedge-shaped lean-to with better weather-proofing and insulating qualities. To build it, select a long, sturdy pole or branch 9 to 12 feet long. Prop it up in the fork of a tree; or set it on a rock, stump, or two forked prop sticks. Then, cover the sides of the pole with tree branches to act as ribs. These are placed at an angle along both sides of the pole. Place the ribs close together so that your covering won’t fall through. Next, place vegetation over the framework ( grass, ferns, moss, pine needles, brush, or pine boughs, etc.). 2 to 3 feet of vegetation covering all sides is enough to keep you dry inside. I would also advise to put lots of soft, thick vegetation as bedding. 

Sleep – It is very important that when in a survival situation, you get lots of sleep. If you are not well rested, you will not have as not much energy and you will not be as ready to face any problems to arise. The best way to sleep more comfortably is to create a bed. One example is a bough bed. First, roll two logs near each other to create a frame. Then, pile boughs, leaves, grass, or other plant materials on it. Although fir boughs are probably the most comfortable, others will work. 

Course of Truth

By ABIGAIL DESALVO

Chapter One

It’s a Saturday afternoon and I am still in bed staring at the ceiling as if I don’t have to be out of the house in 10 minutes for my first interview.

Hi, my name is Milagra.  My parents moved here from Columbia to get away from the crime and look for better lives.  My life contains no adventure, excitement, or good fortune.  I am just a girl who lives in a small town where nothing exciting happens to anyone from here.  My parents work 12 hours a day just to make ends meet.  We aren’t living anywhere near comfortable, and once I turned 16 it was time for me to get a job.  So, here I am laying in bed, with 5 minutes to be out the door for an interview.

Creaking and banging fills the hallway.  A piercing screech echoes around the halls, bouncing and reflecting off every surface. “Sonrisa, ¡despierta! You need this job.  We need you to get this job.  Papa y I can not support this family alone!” 

It is a stinging reminder of how our life is far from perfect.  All of the other kids at school never have to help pay bills.  None of them have to get jobs because they can barely afford to live.  A knot bulges at the back of my throat and my eyes sting of remorse and self pity.  I push through the pain and words scrape from my vocal chords.  “Ok, mama. I am going.”  They are hoarse and broken.

I hear a sigh of discontent and a mummer of laziness.  I want to be angry, but I can’t.  I have been 16 for nearly four months now.  The bills have gone up, and we already had trouble before.  The feeling of pity forms a tight, sour feeling in my mouth and the burning of strain in my eyes returns.

I look over at my clock.  I have 3 minutes to leave.  My actual interview starts in half an hour, but the store is on Bixon Street, nearly half ways across town.  I throw on my best pants and shirt and leave.  Papa wishes me luck as I step out the door.  

The pay is low, but this was the only job that would hire me since I didn’t have experience.  I watch my feet pass by each cracked and contorted block of the sidewalk. It may be childish, but I still gracefully hop over each crack and line.  I recited the song that we used to sing when we were children.

Step on a crack, you’ll break your mama’s back

Step on a line, you’ll break you papa’s spine

It made me happy.  It reminded me of a time when everything was simpler.  The only thing that mattered was who won a game of hopscotch, who had the coolest toys, and just enjoying life.  Everyday was filled with games and laughter.  The only thing we would cry about was when we fell or had to leave.  We were so confident back then.  We didn’t care about how we looked, how much money we had, or who we were friends with.  It was bliss.  

Just like everything else, it didn’t last.  We grew up and realized the lives we had, and with that also came the realization of our differences.  Now we are judged on what we wear.  If you cover up, you’re prude.  If you show skin, you’re a tramp, if you dress comfortably, you’re a slob.  There is no happy middle.  There’s no more true laughter or joy.  Why did everything have to come crashing down when we were so happy?

My foot grabs  a crack and I feel for a second the wind blow in my hair and my stomach drop.  I had not realized how stared off I was.  I had walked for nearly 20 minutes until I snapped out of it.

I arrive at the store I hope to work at.  The cashier looks at me, detached, with dark circles under his eyes.  He seems to be in his early twenties, so maybe he’s in college and had to study the previous night.  An older man enters the room.  He tells me he is the one interviewing me.  We enter the room and the interview commences.  As he speaks, he stumbles over his words and can’t seem to keep focus.  His eyes seem swollen and blank.  Circles of purple skin hang below his eyes.

Our interview ends and he tells me he’ll call if I get the job.  I leave the room after thanking him.  As I turn to close the office door, I see him doze off into a light sleep.  The cashier has slumped against the counter, looking as if he could pass out any minute now.  It’s just a coincidence.  I walk outside and I begin to realize that everyone is acting like mindless zombies, walking around yawning, on the brink of collapse, and wandering around with no sense of reality.  It’s just a coincidence.  Right?

Chapter Two

 Their feet drag behind them, reminiscing of bodies dragging.  They release long cries for sleep.  Their hollow, empty eyes drift shut causing them to crash towards the ground.  What is happening?

My feet stumble over each other as I chase home.  Something is not right.  The wind stings my face, my nose runs to ice, and my feet begin to turn to stone.  My breath escapes my body and my view goes dark.  I wake up to someone stumbling over me.  Their icey eyes never meet mine; they just continue walking.  I sit up and everyone’s faces hold expressionless cries.  Their faces hold no smiles, no tears, and no furrowed brows.  Their faces are blank pages of what used to be tempestuous lifes.  

I pull myself up.  My leg falls, reaching their arms for the ground.  My ankle pounds and balloons.  It hurts so bad.  My throat is tight and my eyes sting.  It just hurts so bad.  I grasp a sign in an attempt to pull myself up again.  An agonised scream swells from my throat and expands from my mouth.  Across the street, the mindless zombie looks over at me.  His eyes show an attempt of sympathy and he almost gives me a pity filled half smile.  He looks like he is on the brink of death, but he still takes the time to show a twinge of remorse for me.  My feet begin to stabilize under me.  It feels like my muscles are being slowly ripped from my body.  My joints and ligaments are being torn and scattered.  My breath is being sucked from my lungs.  A person in my head bangs on my skull, screaming for help.  It all throbs.  I push through the acute pain that courses through my body.

Betweens panting and gasping, I limp home.  My feet stumbling over each crack, caressing each beautifully intricate, broken piece of cement.  I find myself at my door, my mom opens the door.  Her brows furrow and her nose scrunches.  Her red lips form a displeasing scowl.  I see her mouth move, but I hear nothing.  My eyes feel heavy, like I haven’t slept in years.  My head pulses, stinging with every budump.  My legs feel like rocks . My arms hang lifelessly from my slumped shoulders.  Everything begins to feel like the round up, spinning mercilessly around looking as if it would never stop.  My stomach rises and my head goes hot.  My mom continues to talk.  Her face is no longer a scowl, but instead a concerned look.  It leaves a distasteful twinge in my throat.   My vision goes blurry.  Mom screams some faint echo, but I don’t understand it.  Her arms are held out to catch me.  She embraces me as everything goes black.

Chapter Three

 Dim flickers of light floods through my closed eyes, disrupting my solitude of darkness. The fiery light strains my eyes, forcing them to squint to block out all light.  I try to open my eyes, but now I see nothing.  I can not see anything but my fortress of darkness.  The smell of sterilized alcohol invades my senses.  The sound of my mother’s weeps echoes through my head.  Cold needles pierce through my skin leaving a cold liquid coursing through my veins.  The taste of iron swarms my mouth.  

I try to open my eyes, but it is too difficult to do.  All I want is to run into my mother’s arms and console her weeps.  I want to march to a doctor and demand to know what’s happening, but I can’t.  I try to move my arms, but they won’t budge.  I try to scream, but no sound escapes me.  I need to do something.  I need to say something.

“Hello there, sunshine!” remarks a soothing voice.

I turn around to follow the voice that distracts me from my own defeating thoughts.  I look around, but I see nothing but a deep, dark abyss.  My body feels stable, but I can not tell if there is any support I am standing on.  

“Well, aren’t you going to say hello back, little thorn?” Inquiries another voice.  This voice is a higher pitched voice that reminds me of a nagging, old, rich lady.

I look around, but this time I see two figures.  The one voice that just spoke is a tall, brooding rose.  Her face is scrunched into a displeased scowl.  My eyes linger to her nose.  It is absurdly large, distracting from her beady eyes and unpleasant frown.  To her side, is an old tree that twists and turns to sharp branches with a short, wide stump.  His leaves are none and his bark is of an old rawhide.  His face is old and worn.  His eyes droop and his plump cheeks sink past his chin.  His mouth holds a jolly grin.  He is a happy fellow.   His looks are displeasing, but the Rose is very beautiful and delicate.  

“Look at this little, ugly thorn!  Does she not speak?!  Is already horrible being ugly, but being mute too…this is absolutely horrendous!”

“Rosa, quit being rude.  It is obvious she is in shock.”

“You’re an ugly bloke who is a pushover. Well, I guess not everyone can be as beautifully elegant as me.”

My eyes kept following them and their conversation.  This can’t be happening.  I’ve lost it.  My breath had escaped my lungs.  My head begins to pound and my vision blurs.  The cold, hard ground greets my head with a familiar, rough blanket of dark.

“Well, look what you did now, Bristle!”

to be continued

 

New “Animal Crossing” on the horizon

By IZZT YUHA – Animal Crossing is now a daily name for many families across the world.

The new game called “Animal Crossing New Horizons” was released on Nintendo Switch on March 20th. This relaxing game has calmed many people down with the pandemic in full swing. 

Animal Crossing is about helping the player’s villagers in a town. Sometimes, they will ask the player to do certain tasks so the island will be in better shape. The game also teaches  about debt, the stock market, and many other things. The game also teached to be kind to the villagers, or they will leave the island. 

Another unique thing about Animal Crossing is that the game is set in real time! Creatures and certain tree types come out in different seasons to simulate real time. Indiana may be stuck inside, but at least a game knows it’s spring time!

Also, this game has many people working together to make each other’s islands great! Many computer programmers have made websites to help others get what they want on their islands by selling their items for in game currency. 

On the other hand, however, many people are upset that they cannot get some of their favorite characters in the game anymore. There are only a select few who are not in the game anymore. Luckily, there are hundreds of villagers to offer.

The game has also released an update on April 23. Many characters have come back into the game and many more features were added. On many social media sites, people were very excited for this new update to drop. 

sara-kurfess-2ajwLKnRHBY-unsplash

Isolation Vacation?

By MORGAN ADAMSON – Ah, summer, beautiful, beautiful, summer. The time where we get to have fun, there’s no school, the weather’s nice, we get to be outside.

That might all come to a screeching halt because of the global condition happening right now.

Will we even have a summer? The question we’re all asking is–will we even have a summer?  To everyone’s relief, Indiana enters the Green Zone today.

As basically everyone knows at this point, Social Distancing is still in effect. We stay 6 feet apart at all times, and wear a mask everywhere when we’re in public. The summer is a time to hang out with your friends and have a good time, but the COVID-19 epidemic may have ruined that. All of this has gone on for much longer than anyone has anticipated, but no one expected it to go through our summer.

How can we stay connected if this is a social distancing summer?

We can always see our friends while maintaining the mandatory 6 feet distance away from each other and wearing masks to prevent any disease transfer. We can also spend time with our families by taking walks, swimming  and overall just enjoying each other’s company. As always, you can also Facetime, text, and call your friends, as well as doing many other technology related activities.

The coronavirus epidemic may have cancelled school and took the whole world by surprise, but that doesn’t mean this can’t be a fun and exciting summer. Though it may be hard, make sure to make the most of it, and have as much fun as possible.

Furry friends keep hearts warm

BY GABI ISENBERG –  Right now, we all need a bit of happiness. Well, what could make anyone happier than a new pet?

You would think that the stay-at-home order would prevent people from adopting furry bundles of joy, but that is not the case. In fact, pet adoptions have been surging beyond unimaginable levels. 

Most people adore animals. Even if they don’t,they probably can’t resist an “awww” when they see a picture of a puppy on Instagram or Snapchat. So when we’re all cooped up at home, that cute puppy or kitten that makes them say “awww” can make their day a thousand times brighter.

Many IJHS students’ days have been happier due to pets. According to a recent survey, 36.4% of students that responded have adopted a pet recently andeven if students didn’t adopt a pet, many know someone that did.

“My Aunt Peg adopted a puppy a couple weeks ago,”  said Ciara Cunningham (8th).

“My friend adopted a dog recently,” said Ella Myers (8th).

“My grandmother adopted a cat,” said Adam Lawrence (8th).

Many people have adopted animals, but what is the most common type? According to the survey, 20 students that responded adopted a dog. Cats came in second with 14 students adopting one.  

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, both Four Footed Friends and the Indiana County Humane Society (two main places for pet adoptions) are open by appointment only. Although peoplecan’t go and look at the dogs and cats, both Four Footed Friends and the Humane Society’s websites have adoption information where you can look for pets. You can see those pets on the Indiana County Humane Society’s website or Four Footed Friends’ website

Why did you choose the pet that you did? Some IJHS students told us why they chose their loveable pets.

“I chose my leopard gecko because at the time we were moving to a different house and my parents thought it would be nice to have something to take my mind off of moving. I got my tree frogs after my old one, French Fry, died. My neighbors gave them to me because they got them as a birthday gift but didn’t know how to take care of them. Since I had experience with two frogs already (I also had a frog named Hot Dog), they gave them to me so I could take good care of them. I chose my cat because my other cat was lonely and at the time, my cat looked very skinny and hungry.” said Tommy Kauffman (8th).

“Our last set of dogs passed away and since my dad travels a lot, we felt that we needed something here. So, we adopted two adorable dogs!” said Ava Curry (6th). 

Pets are something that can make darkness a little brighter, and IJHS students are loving their new pets.

Real Classroom or Google Classroom?

By MORGAN ADAMSON – As everyone knows, due to the national emergency, we are experiencing online school instead of real school. Many students enjoy this, being able to do the work whenever, wherever, and while doing other things. Many students, on the other hand, are not a fan of online schooling.

There are many upsides to doing online school. For example students can do it at any time of the day. They can also take breaks and do other things between classes. Overall, they have more freedom in choosing how, when, and where they want to continue your education at home. Many students also prefer typing or watching videos to writing and doing bookwork.

Though many of the children partaking in this enjoy it, an even larger number of students do not. For example, many people benefit much more from a teacher-taught lesson than a video of Google meeting. Also, many students do not have Internet access or a stable enough wifi service to be able to hold doing work all day. Mostly all of the kids miss their friends, miss their classes, miss their extra curricular activities, and overall just miss the school environment. Though online school might have some advantages, not many students enjoy it.

Staying home and isolated is important, but it may be putting a dent in some students work ethics, and general education. Though many of the assignments we do are helpful and productive, some would help students more by learning them in a classroom.

How to Stay Connected, Alone

By MORGAN ADAMSON – During the coronavirus epidemic, we are strongly advised to stay away from other people that aren’t your immediate family. Many people may be missing their friends, other family, or even colleagues. So, how can we be together, alone?

One way to keep in touch with others without actually touching is to FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, Google Meets, or any other video calling service. Not only can you talk to the person, or even people, but you can see them and non-physically interact with them. Netflix, for example, has released a new feature called Netflix Party. In this application, you are able to watch shows, movies, and many other things through Netflix with your friends. WHile you aren’t able to see them during this, whoever you invited to the ‘party’ can text in a live chat box while the film or show is playing.

Another thing many people have started doing is writing letters back and forth. By now, we are all used to being able to text, call and many other things which is much faster than sending a letter. Doing this, gives a sense of connection and feeling as if the person was there. Not only that, but you are able to write and send other things, such as small gifts. Even though there are much faster ways to do this now, many people enjoy doing it.

By doing these things, we can stay connected, no matter how far apart we are. Being alone doesn’t mean we have to be lonely. So take the time today to call a friend or send them a letter. Together we can stop this pandemic and get life back to normal. We can do it together but apart.

Grocery stores moved to protect shoppers

By LIZZY VILLA – For the first few weeks of home quarantine, the grocery stores carried on as usual. A few weeks later Pennsylvania mandated shoppers wear masks, and stores limited the number shoppers and the direction they could walk in the store.

The numbers vary from store to store. Many people who are in grocery stores decided to add gloves to their ‘grocery store outfit’. Gloves seemed smart because the Coronavirus is spread from droplets created by an infected persons’ sneezes, coughs, etc. When people wear gloves, they prevent the droplets from getting on their skin. The grocery stores also  taped off spaces to show where to wait in line for the checkout. The workers in the checkout lines also wear masks, so the social element of the checkout is gone. 

 On the Giant Eagle website, they have posted what they are doing as a life-sustaining company to keep the coronavirus from spreading. On April 13, 2020 the website stated ‘In our efforts to maintain the highest levels of sanitization throughout our facilities, we have created new and improved safety measures; occupancy Limits: Giant Eagle is limiting the number of customers in a store at one time to ensure proper social distancing measures are taken. The new maximum occupancy will be posted near all supermarkets and GetGo entrances. One-Way Grocery Aisles: one-way directional signage will be added on the floor in each aisle of our supermarkets to indicate the flow of traffic and help guests maintain social distance. Personal Protective Equipment: to ensure the safety of our entire community, Giant Eagle has provided Personal Protective Equipment – masks and gloves – to all Team Members.’

MARTINS and Walmart took similar precautions.  MARTINS also limited the number of people. A worker was stationed at the door to monitor the flow of people. The number varied to the store space and occupancy of the store. When the storereached the limit, people were asked to line up at the door, using social distancing. People were allowed in as others left.

At Walmart, store associates were stationed to clean high-touch areas, like checkouts and carts, daily. There are sneeze guards in the pharmacy, register lanes, and floor decals at both entrances and checkouts. There is one designated entrance and designated exit, to maintain social distancing. The people allows in are no more than five people per 1,000 feet at any given time. That’s roughly 20% of the store’s capacity.

Students’ opinions vary on masks. 

Ella Fleming (7th) believes that, “It is a good idea; it will help prevent spreading the virus. It’s necessary. And they are fun to sew when bored. (Highly recommended).”

However, Bella Ball (6th) commented, “It is a good idea, but it won’t make any difference.”

“It is a good idea; it will help prevent spreading the virus. My family and I usually wear masks outside the house,” said Catie Akers (8th)

The grocery stores have made many adjustments and new rules that they hope will stop the spread of coronavirus. Will it be enough? Only time will tell. But it’s nice to know that they are trying to help us stay comfortable and healthy when shopping.