City of Olean faces budget decisions as COVID-19 impacts local economy

photo: Molly Williams/The Intrepid

By Nic Gelyon

OLEAN, NY — William Aiello hates the idea of losing government jobs to Coronavirus.

“When you cut jobs, you affect families,” said Aiello, mayor of the City of Olean. “That would be the last option.” 

But whether COVID-19 reemerges in Cattaraugus County or not, job loss may be a reality for Aiello. According to the mayor, Olean will enter next year missing around 31% of expected sales tax revenues, and about 20% of state-provided infrastructure funds. 

Aiello knows, however, that job loss cannot be counted out. 

If the city finds its financial situation worsening as early budget discussions begin for next year, layoffs could become even more of a reality. Some layoffs could possibly happen within the field of public safety.  

“Right now… if things don’t get better, if we don’t get some stimulus money, we may be looking at layoffs,” Aiello said to the Olean City Police Department almost three months ago. Those talks were halted, because the city had virtually nothing financially to offer the police officers’ union. 

As for other city employees, Aiello has deemed most workers essential.

“Do we stop sweeping the streets? You have to do repairs,” he said. “People have become accustomed to the services we provide.”

It remains to be seen, however, how these services will be provided if yet another COVID-19 outbreak occurs. And as county health officials have stated recently, that is much more of a reality than was once thought. 

“Are we going to shut the building down again?” Aiello wondered, speaking on the prospect of another outbreak. “Or do we go limited hours? We did 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and you could only get to the city clerk’s office… it’s a juggling act a lot of times.” 

The city is prepared to take steps to make up for lost funds, so that, hopefully, layoffs don’t happen. The first step, Aiello said, would be to cut some of those programs that aren’t essential to survival, but that many Olean residents still rely upon. 

“The first thing to go would be some of our programs… your youth activities and that are some of the first things to go,” Aiello said. “And then you get into, do we pick up leaves? Do we shut down the parks, so we don’t have to maintain them?” 

Many services are also relied upon by what Aiello said are the 20,000-plus people that commute to Olean for work every day. That number would include both government workers and industrial workers at companies such as Dresser Rand and Cutco. 

In an economy, workers tend to spend a significant amount of money where they work, depending on how much time they spend there. 

If another coronavirus spike does impact Olean, and businesses are forced to shut down again, the city will be put in a difficult place: Not only could workers be laid off, but workers that remain could have limited options as to where they could spend their money. 

Not helping the situation, some projects in Olean geared towards boosting the economy have been either delayed or put on hold. For example, the Hilton hotel under construction on Buffalo Street is set to open by the new year, according to Aiello.  

The hotel project, which should have broken ground around the time of last year’s postponed St. Bonaventure graduation, was delayed by problems buying materials.  

‘The suppliers shut down, and now they’re back to trying to fill their back orders,” Aiello said.  

State-maintained construction going on by Main Street in Olean has also been delayed, because the state has had to wait weeks at a time for the proper cement to finish the project. Known colloquially as “Walkable Olean II,” the project at Main and Front streets aims to make the city more accessible, thus drawing more people in and further boosting the economy. 

These projects have the potential to boost both jobs and sales tax revenues. But right now, their effects are dormant. 

It will be difficult, according to the mayor, to make up for the lost ground caused by COVID-19 solely by cutting different community programs. The numbers are just too large. 

And with questions already arising about the ability for the federal and state government to provide aid, and with projects like the Hilton and Walkable Olean II being delayed, the city is put in a difficult position. 

The city also can’t afford to pay government employees to sit at home if there is no work to do.   

So, the state of Olean’s economy seems to rely upon the status of state and federal aid. Economic stimulus money helped Olean earlier this year, to the tune of a 12 to 15 percent jump in sales tax revenue. But the next round of state and federal aid is either, according to Aiello, a “political football”— or is altogether not realistic. 

“There’s been bills introduced to get some relief, but nothing has come forward yet,” Aiello said. “At the state level, our state is at a deficit right now… I’m not looking to get any relief from the state.” 

XC FEATURE: Osswald ready for senior season after unique summer of training

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Jeff Uveino

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — When the COVID-19 pandemic spoiled the 2020 spring college sports season, Jacob Osswald was not deterred.

Osswald, a runner on the St. Bonaventure men’s cross country team, used the downtime as an opportunity to upgrade his training.

The Buffalo native moved to Flagstaff, Arizona over the summer to train for his senior season. And, now that he’s back, he’s ready to lead a deep Bona team when the time for competition comes.

“Over spring break I went to Flagstaff, and I know that people go there to train over the summer, so I wanted to see if I could make it work somehow,” Osswald said. “I started looking for apartments and planned it out, but then in April and May I didn’t think it was going to happen because of COVID-.”

By the time May ended, Osswald had made the decision that he was heading to Flagstaff matter what. A week later, he found an apartment and drove across the country to his temporary home.

Flagstaff, a city that sits at an elevation of nearly 7,000 feet, attracts runners from around the country to train in its high altitude.

“The altitude takes a bit to get used to,” Osswald said. “All of the runners are there to work, so the environment is really good. If you see a runner there, you know they mean business.”

Osswald trained on the campus of Northern Arizona University, where he met runners from San Diego State, Oklahoma State, Portland University and more.

“There were a bunch of good college teams there that were available to train with,” Osswald said. “Getting to see them every day you get to know them, so it was really nice.”

After spending two months in Arizona, Osswald returned home to Buffalo to complete his state-mandated, two-week quarantine before heading back to SBU for the fall semester.

He ran a triathlon in early September, then subsequently took two weeks off from training. The time off, he said, was the first he had taken since March.

Osswald is optimistic about SBU’s cross country team this year, saying that this roster could be “the best team we’ve ever had.”

“Our whole record board got erased (last year),” Osswald said. “Now, people are being more successful and we’re getting better recruits so it should be a little easier to move up in the A-10.”

Osswald ran a career-best 17:17.6 5K at the “Little Three Championship” last fall, as well as a career-best 27:23.4 8K at the “Louisville XC Classic.”

One of six seniors on SBU’s cross country roster, Osswald has taken on a leadership role within the team. He cites former teammate William Delaney, who graduated a year ago, as someone who prepared him to take on that role.

“(Delaney) taught me the most,” Osswald said. “He taught me the leadership role so I feel the same as him now, since he’s engrained it into my mind.”

Osswald hopes that he can lead by example for the younger runners on the team.

“A lot of the people on the team understand how much I do,” he said. “I have to work for what little I have, so I think that they respect that.”

Due to losing track season last spring, and an injury during his freshman cross country season, Osswald has a full year of eligibility left after his senior year. He plans on running while attending graduate school, and has Rutgers University on his mind as a potential target.

However, Osswald’s future plans don’t stop there. After grad school, he plans on moving to Spain to become a triathlete. The Cleveland Hill alumnus swam in high school, and said that triathlons came “pretty natural” to him because he enjoys endurance exercises.

“I won’t be able to do (triathlon) full time for three or four years because most triathletes are older and have a lot of experience under their belt,” Osswlald said. “But by the time I’m 25 or 26, I think I’ll be able to do it full time.”

SOCCER FEATURE: Currey enters senior season leading by example

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Anthony Goss

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — In the uncertain times of a global pandemic, the most important things to have on any athletic team are leadership and experience.  

As the St. Bonaventure men’s soccer team prepares for an unusual season, it turns to older players such as Shea Currey to set the tone for the program going forward. 

“He has a big part to play, on the field and off the field,” said Kwame Oduro, head coach of men’s soccer at SBU. “He has been an excellent role model for our young guys and the new guys coming in.” 

Oduro spoke very highly of the senior midfielder, who has developed his own methods of leadership on the team.  

“He’s kind of a guy who does it quietly, on the sideline or in the locker room individually,” Oduro said. 

Currey was named by the team as a captain for the season, which is scheduled to start during the spring semester. This is his fourth and final season as a Bonnie. 

Currey’s journey to St. Bonaventure has not been an ordinary one. He and his family moved from Liverpool, England to Orlando, Florida, where he attended Montverde High School. 

Leaving Orlando to come to SBU presented some challenges, but he wasn’t alone.  

“From the beginning I felt like I always I had friends, family, people I could rely on,” Currey said. 

The years at Bona’s have been very special for Currey. He has been on the soccer team for the past three years, and now in his last year, he is looking to give back.  

“Now as a senior, I am just trying to give back what I’ve been taught from the seniors, and just keep traditions going, and keeping that family feel,” he said. 

COVID-19 has posed many problems for student-athletes and coaches in all sports. Despite this, Currey looked toward the positives of the current situation and was thankful to be back out on the field.  

“We’ve got to make the most out of our time on the field and try and get better for when the games do come back,” he said.  

Improvement has been something Currey has focused on, and Oduro has seen the developments in his game. 

Oduro wanted the team to stay motivated in a strange offseason. Specifically, for Currey, he wanted him to clean up his first touch on the ball. He raved about the strides Currey has made in the offseason.  

“It’s been miles apart in [his] technique and work rate, and just the cleanliness of [his] touches and [his] passes,” Oduro said. 

Currey acknowledged the improvements he has made, but continued to keep a selfless approach to the season and staying ready for when the time comes. As a captain, he believes he will be prepared and knows his job in making sure his team is ready as well.  

Currey also described his experience with fellow senior and teammate Francesco Caorsi.

Caorsi and Currey each play midfield, and compete against each other often in practice.  

“For me, I just like going up against him because he is really good,” Currey said. “He definitely helps bring out the best in me for sure.” 

Whichever way the season turns out, Currey will be ready to lead by example and take the improvements he made in the offseason and translate them to game action on the field.  

“I’m just going to keep working hard, keep doing what I’m doing, and just try to perform my best when the time comes,” he said. 

NFL WEEK 4: Goss’ three good things, three bad things and one thing to watch

photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

By Anthony Goss

Week 4 of the NFL season presented major headlines before any players stepped foot on the field for the games, with the COVID-19 outbreak among Tennessee Titans players and staff.

After Tennessee’s game vs. Pittsburgh was postponed, news broke out that Patriots quarterback Cam Newton had tested positive for the virus as well. Luckily, no other outbreaks occurred, and the NFL moved forward with most of its scheduled games.  

Three Good Things 

4-0 Records and Stellar QB play going hand in hand 

There are several undefeated teams left, but the Bills, Chiefs, Packers and Seahawks all sit at 4-0. 

The common denominator with all these teams? Excellent quarterback play.

Josh Allen has improved vastly this season and led a poised Bills team to a win in Vegas on Sunday afternoon. With the Patriots vs Chiefs game moved to Monday, the spotlight shifted to Allen and the Bills. Allen took care of the ball and threw for two touchdowns, adding one more on the ground as well. 

In a close defensive battle, the Chiefs outlasted the Patriots in a game where Patrick Mahomes was not his usual self. The reigning Super Bowl MVP performed under his standards, but has been great this season.

Aaron Rodgers has turned back the clock for the Packers through four games, after an offseason and draft highlighted by questions about his successor and ability to play at a high level. Rodgers continued to silence the doubters on Monday night, throwing for three touchdowns in the first half en route to a 30-16 win over the Falcons.

Finally, Russell Wilson continued his quest for his first MVP by leading the Seahawks to a 31-23 win against the Dolphins. Like Mahomes, this was not his best performance, but great players find ways to win football games, and that’s what these quarterbacks have done this season.  

Browns make a statement 

The defense in Dallas is atrocious, but Kevin Stefanski deserves credit for bringing change to a Cleveland Browns team with its first 3-1 record since 2001. 

Down early, losing running back Nick Chubb to a right MCL sprain, the Browns held their ground from a furious Dak Prescott comeback and made a statement in Jerry World on Sunday afternoon. 

The Cleveland defense, headlined by defensive end Myles Garrett, forced two crucial turnovers that led to great field position and touchdowns on both possessions. WR Odell Beckham Jr made plays all over the field, including a touchdown catch off a creative trick play thrown by his former LSU teammate and now fellow wideout, Jarvis Landry. 

QB Baker Mayfield was solid and did not try to force anything downfield or off his legs, something he was criticized for last season. When RB Nick Chubb went down with a knee injury, the rest of the running back committee stepped up and made solid runs to keep the Dallas defense on its heels throughout the game. In a loaded AFC North, the Browns sit at 3-1, but this team has found its identity on the ground and will be a formidable opponent going forward.  

Chargers have their guy 

Despite the loss to the Bucs on a gloomy Sunday afternoon in Tampa Bay, the Chargers have found a bright side in rookie QB Justin Herbert.

In what was supposed to be a learning year on the bench for Herbert, he has stepped in for injured QB Tyrod Taylor and shown some moxie in his game. Yes, there are some mistakes to be fixed, but Herbert provides the Chargers with their best shot at winning football games.

Herbert has shown confidence since stepping in, especially on Sunday as he went toe-to-toe with future hall of fame QB Tom Brady. On Sunday, Herbert went 20 for 25 with three touchdowns, and one interception but a passer rating of 137.9. 

The Chargers and Herbert will continue to grow, but if he continues to make plays like he made on the 53-yard bomb to Tyron Johnson, a promising future lies ahead for the Chargers. 

Three Bad Things 

Dallas Defense in Disarray 

Just as I mentioned before, the defense in Dallas is atrocious. Granted, there are some other issues on this team, but man…. this group has been pathetic.

The Cowboys have given up 36.5 points per game through the first quarter of the season, with a run defense that has given up a league-high 172.5 yards per game (last in the NFC) and a passing defense giving up 258.0 yards per game. 

Dallas refused to spend money on its secondary in the offseason, and now is paying a hefty price. 

The departure of cornerback Byron Jones in free agency has hurt more than expected, leaving a depleted secondary that seems to be a few steps behind receivers on almost every throw. 

In the second year of his big contract extension, LB Jaylon Smith has had little to no impact on the field, and DE Tank Lawrence and the “Hot Boys” have been ice cold in the pass rush, doing very little to generate turnovers and stop the run.

Hopefully, the Cowboys defense can find some success when the Giants come into town next week, but after giving up 49 points to the Browns, nothing is guaranteed.  

Houston, We Have a Problem 

Bill O’Brien is out as head coach, but things do not look good for this team.

The Texans sit at 0-4 after falling 31-23 to the Vikings in a battle of winless teams. After finishing first in the AFC South the last two seasons, Houston looks like a team far from contention this season. 

The Texans have an NFL-worst run defense, which Dalvin Cook exposed this week with 130 yards and two touchdowns. Left with little to work with on offense since the departure of WR DeAndre Hopkins, Deshaun Watson posted his worst quarterback rating of the season (37.8), and the run game failed to break 100 yards.

The Texans do not have either a first or second round pick this season, thanks to Bill O’Brien, so tanking is not an option either. They will look to turn the page next week against the Jaguars, but their next two opponents have a combined record of 7-0. The road ahead for Houston is daunting, but hey, at least they didn’t draft Mitchell Trubisky. 

Cardinals Grounded in Carolina 

After two games into the season, many were high on the Arizona Cardinals. Kyler Murray looked like a video game character as he led the Cardinals to two wins to start the season, but since then, they have struggled.

Last week against Detroit, Murray made some questionable throws that hurt the offense, and this week, the defense had issues as the Panthers pounced on a defense that had a hard time finding stops.

The Cardinals are a younger team, but in a season where they are competing with Seattle (4-0) and the Los Angeles Rams (3-1), they need to win games against the lesser teams of the NFC if they want to clinch their first playoff berth since 2015. 

Keep an eye on… 

Coronavirus measures moving forward 

The NFL was doomed for a COVID-19 outbreak from the start.

Just as the MLB demonstrated in its regular season, it is close to impossible to prevent the transmission of the virus without a bubble format.

Now that the Titans officially had an outbreak within the organization and the Patriots and Saints had outbreak scares, fans should prepare for the possibility of a pause in the season. The NFL was able to perform schedule gymnastics this past week and create byes for the teams affected, but this cannot become a continuous response to outbreaks if the league wants to carry out the rest of its season.

The NFL has already had issues coaches wearing their masks improperly on the sidelines, and going forward, they must find a way to keep all players, coaches, and staff safe and healthy.  

Bona’s suspends more “irresponsible” students after weekend parties

photo: Molly Williams/The Intrepid

By Dustyn Green

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — After an investigation that included viewing social media videos and gathering information from students, St. Bonaventure University suspended 21 students who took part in large, off-campus gatherings last weekend. 

This is the second round of suspensions issued by the university since Sept. 6, when 28 students were suspended for attending a party at the university’s Garden Apartments.

“I’m extremely disappointed,” said Dr. Dennis R. DePerro, university president, in a release from the university after the first round of suspensions. “I know, because I see it with my eyes as I walk around campus every day, that the vast majority of our students are complying with the safety standards we need to abide by to allow us to finish the in-person portion of the semester on Nov. 24.”

SBU officials have had a hard time wrapping their heads around why some students are continuing to jeopardize the health of the community, according to Tom Missel, the university’s chief communications officer. 

“Of course, we knew it might happen again, but for the life of me, why would anyone be this irresponsible,” Missel said. “Knowing what’s happening at other colleges that are experiencing outbreaks because of large parties, and knowing how we handled it the first time is beyond me.”

The university utilized its student affairs staff when trying to get their message across before school started. 

“We’re not naive,” Missel said. “We realize that parties are going to happen off-campus.” 

Missel said SBU does not want to put a halt on social gatherings altogether, but prefers that students hold smaller gatherings instead.

According to the university, the students have been suspended on an “interim basis” pending their judicial hearings, which will commence this week. 

Each student must submit a negative COVID-19 test before returning to campus. 

Missel reiterated that as part of the suspensions, students are able to stay enrolled in their classes and attend class via Zoom.  However, their professors “are not obligated to do that.” 

“Over these first six weeks of the semester, we have received advance information in large parties before the weekend and worked with the students to make sure they didn’t happen,” Missel said. “This time, we didn’t know these large parties were going on.” 

Despite the suspensions, there have been reports of additional students attending the parties.

“We continue to investigate and if we receive information that others were involved, we will have to deal with them,” Missel said. “We need everyone to be rowing in the same direction if we are going to make it.” 

Olean City School District reports two positive cases of COVID-19; begins week with remote learning

photo: Molly Williams/The Intrepid

By Nic Gelyon

OLEAN, NY — Saturday morning, the Olean City School District released a statement on its website announcing that a student had tested positive for Coronavirus at Olean High School.

The district also sent robocalls to parents, confirmed by multiple accounts on Facebook. 

In the district’s initial statement, OCSD told parents to “make preparations to move to remote learning should events require the district to close schools.” 

The district also canceled this past weekend’s after-school activities. 

Sunday afternoon, it was announced that the district had been notified of another positive COVID-19 case. This time, the person infected was a district faculty member. 

Both cases were confirmed positive, meaning that they had come back positive after going through CDC laboratories. 

The district then announced it would switch to full virtual learning for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

According to Cattaraugus County public health director Dr. Kevin Watkins, this was to further accommodate the district’s cleaning process. 

“They have hired a cleaning crew that came out on Saturday and Sunday, and have been paying close attention to the rules in which the positives have been exhibited,” Watkins said, referring to the district. “We have also talked about them airing out the facility.”  

According to Watkins, the district has had a high level of communication with the county health department over the weekend. He said the district was especially helpful in having all information that the health department requested from them, which allowed contact tracing to happen in a timely matter.

However, Watkins does believe that there is a “high likelihood” of additional positive cases arising within the district. 

“You’ve had a case at two particular schools, there have been direct contact with individuals of those schools,” he said. 

The health department believes that its contact tracing process will be completed Monday night. Watkins did acknowledge that one case required more extensive contact tracing than the other.  

The county is still trying to get in touch with seven people to complete this process. If these individuals do not respond to the county’s requests, the health department may visit their homes. 

Should contact tracing be successful, and should no other issues arise, in-person activity should return to OCSD on Thursday. 

SBU’s increased enrollment numbers continue amidst pandemic

photo: Molly Williams/The Intrepid

By Jonny Walker

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — Earlier this month, a St. Bonaventure University press release announced that the total number of students in the 2020-2021 freshman class once again exceeded five hundred.

This marks the third consecutive year that feat was accomplished. 

The release also notes that the university’s overall enrollment—a statistic which includes students from all undergraduate, graduate and online programs—now sits at 2540. That figure has increased roughly 26% over the last five years. 

Bernard Valento, SBU’s vice president for enrollment, attributes the increases in overall enrollment to a shift in attitudes across the university towards the enrollment process. 

“I think one of the big differences is the culture change at the university,” said Valento, who has held his position since late 2015. “Enrollment is everyone’s responsibility. It’s not just [the responsibility of] admissions or marketing—it’s that of the entire university. We worked collaboratively across all divisions, as a united university, just really to promote and market the university with the attitude that everyone needs to contribute.” 

Another driving force behind enrollment trends, according to Valento, is the ongoing refreshment of the university’s academic offerings. 

For instance, the School of Health Professions is scheduled to open this spring, and the Jandoli School of Communication has introduced several new majors over the past few years alone.  

These moves are a part of a university-wide effort to tailor academic offerings to the unique circumstances of the modern world.

“All of our programs and our curriculums have been updated to really meet today’s students’ and today’s market’s demands,” Valento said. 

What may come as a surprise to some, however, is the trend of increasing class sizes continuing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when colleges and universities across the country are scrambling to navigate the recruitment and admissions processes.  

Valento, by contrast, says he has remained confident throughout the entire ordeal despite receiving word last March that he and his team would be working from home for the foreseeable future. 

Despite the circumstances, there was little reason for concern.

“By the time we enroll students, it’s like they’re our family,” Valento said. “We get to know these students, we care about them, and we felt like we have a really good relationship with them.” 

The other factor that plays into the pandemic’s inability to mitigate enrollment is the university’s commitment to its Franciscan values in everything it does. This principle, according to Valento, especially extends to the admissions process. 

“It’s about becoming part of a community that will care for you, work with you, and make a difference in your personal and professional life,” he said. “Pretty much the Franciscan values of community, charism, and appreciating all things.” 

That sentiment seems to be echoed by many students across campus. Trey Meyers, an adolescent education major from Cuba, New York, echoed a familiar sentiment among SBU students when asked why he chose the university.

“I came to Bonas because it felt like home,” Meyers said. “Working and visiting here over the summer, I couldn’t help but fall in love.”

Looking to the future, Valento sees no reason why the university would be unable to continue to grow its student population. 

In theory, Bonaventure has the capacity for up to 2000 undergraduate students. The number of enrolled undergraduates for this academic year currently sits just above 1800. That thought has the Valento feeling very optimistic.  

“It really is an exciting time,” he concluded. “It’s a joy to be overseeing enrollment when we have a quality product and a quality experience that we can deliver to students.” 

SBU professor Zhang discusses student responsibility with COVID-19

photo courtesy of St. Bonaventure University

By Nic Gelyon

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY – Dr. Xiao-Ning Zhang has her students undergo a repetitive process each time they enter her room. 

Cleaning and washing hands have become habits for her students. Something they don’t need to think about anymore. They just do it. 

“I think they are comfortable doing it right now, so it’s kind of a habit for them,” said Zhang, a biology professor at St. Bonaventure University. “I’m really happy to see students starting to have this habit.”  

Zhang has helped foster a level of comfortability among her students, and communication and understanding seem to be key in students taking safety precautions seriously.

“It’s expected, there will be cases on campus,” she said. “When it happens, how are we going to respond? That’s critical. This has to be a very timely response… contact tracing the right away because time is of the essence.”  

Response, according to Zhang, is used as a scientific and administrative code word that means “do the right thing.”

The university and the community have both announced their plans for response to a potential COVID-19 outbreak. Students now bear the responsibility of responding in the way that works for them.

But the slight look of worry on Zhang’s face captured her dissatisfaction with the way the university communicated with and educated its students, staff and faculty, as she began to speak about the difficult position in which resident assistants and residence directors have been placed. 

“I don’t know if they all have been educated enough to educate others,” Zhang said. “They don’t understand why. They can’t explain [COVID-19], they just say that’s what the university told us. But usually, that’s not very effective in communication.”  

Therein lies the dilemma. How much do students really know about COVID-19? How much does the public know? And how can students be expected to act if no one has ever showed them how? 

“If information goes up, response has to go up,” Zhang said. “Information can go up and people don’t do anything with it. That doesn’t mean anything. So, awareness is the first step, and response is the second step. And then you will see results.” 

From her point of view, imposing fines and judicial hearings simply cannot be the answer. Because if awareness is not first created among students who don’t know the first thing about coronavirus, a lackluster response is almost inevitable. 

“It’s not like if weekends are off, Coronavirus is off,” Zhang said. “No, they are never off. So, we need to understand that coronavirus doesn’t go by weekend or weekday.” 

Zhang made two things abundantly clear. The first: COVID-19 is not over.

Society can’t claim it did its job, then just go back to normal life. For Zhang, the response must continue for as long as people are dying from the virus.  

The second? There is no better time than the present for everyone to improve their response to the disease.