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Editor’s corner: COVID forces future quickly on many

COVID-19 brought the future to Warren County and the United States much quicker, though quite inconveniently, than anyone expected. Consider how fast many of us were forced to adapt to a changing and dangerous environment.

Once major state and national shutdowns began to occur last month, workers and youth changed routines on the fly. It was far from easy, especially when it came to education. Though many teachers and students used computers and technology on a regular basis, going to class or teaching it virtually is much different.

Same with our workforce. Some had to continue at manufacturing facilities — with new safety standards — while others were told to leave the office and do the job from home.

Verizon recently released a study about new habits formed during the pandemic that are likely to last. Some of those items include:

¯ 52% of Pennsylvanians expect K-12 schools to move classes online during inclement weather, rather than canceling classes.

¯ 45% of Pennsylvanians say that discussing TV and streaming content has helped them feel connected to friends and family during the pandemic.

¯ 24% say they either upgraded or considered upgrading their mobile data plan within the last year; 15% say the same when it comes to their home internet bandwidth.

¯ 42% of adults anticipate that a year from now, they will be shopping in person and online equally.

¯ 53% of PA adults say they were shopping mostly in person pre-pandemic, while 35% say the same now.

¯ 17% say they’ve recently shopped mostly online, while 35% say they’ve recently shopped through an equal mix of in person and online.

¯ Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, 51% of Pennsylvanians have completed a DIY (do it yourself) project around their home at least once or twice.

“The pandemic has forced all of us to face challenges we never considered,” says Kyle Malady, chief technical officer at the company. “A year into the pandemic, data usage on Verizon networks remains at almost 31% above pre-pandemic levels, a clear indicator that internet consumption and the acceleration of technology adoption are major byproducts of this moment. We’ve seen the shift to digital jump ahead five to seven years.”

Things today happen at the speed of light. Warren County, like most of rural America, remains behind the curve when it comes to high-speed internet.

With all that has happened in the last year, that is troubling for those who need better access.

John D’Agostino is the editor of the Times Observer, The Post-Journal and OBSERVER in Dunkirk, N.Y. Send comments to jdagostino@observertoday.com or call (716) 487-1111, ext. 253.

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