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Column: Our decision to discontinue daily coronavirus reports

Boyette has come home to Aiken Standard 1

John Boyette

All good things must come to an end.

Geoffrey Chaucer gets credit for the origins of that phrase. And, to be honest, I hadn’t thought much about the English poet and author until I did a search for the “good things” quote.

The main thing I remember about Chaucer is having to memorize and recite The Canterbury Tales in one of my high school English classes. All I can remember, nearly 40 years later, is the beginning: “Whan that aprill with his shoures soote, the droghte of march hath perced to the roote.”

That was quite a challenge for teenage me, who wasn’t exactly known for being a public speaker.

But I digress. This column doesn’t concern Chaucer or the Middle Ages but is about COVID-19.

Specifically, we are ending the daily story that we have produced for well over a year now.

Before you pick up the phone to call or fire off a blistering email, let me explain. We know the coronavirus pandemic has been an important topic, and we have devoted many hours and resources to covering it since the first cases were reported locally in March 2020.

But the daily story seems to have run its course with not much new information coming from DHEC these days. We will, of course, report on major developments as well as inform readers of vaccination clinics and any pertinent news that happens.

We also will run the daily box that reports how many cases and deaths have occurred in Aiken County and South Carolina. Look for that summary on Page 2A beginning today. That should give you a snapshot of what is going on in our community and state.

You can also find stories on our website, aikenstandard.com, about COVID-19.

My best guess is that Aiken and many other municipalities that enacted mask ordinances will begin to roll those back, particularly as we head toward the Memorial Day holiday and the start of tourism season.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said Wednesday that he wants to end the government mandates concerning COVID-19 restrictions.

"It’s time to start getting back to normal," McMaster told reporters. “I’d ask the cities and counties if they have restrictions out there, to wrap it up.”

Whether that is advisable is debatable.

A day later, the Aiken County school district announced that the “wearing of face coverings outdoors on school grounds will be optional.”

That makes some sense to me, given the recent guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It advises to still wear masks in most indoor settings and in crowded outdoor areas, even if you are fully vaccinated.

It’s not surprising – but still unfortunate – that COVID-19 became such a political issue. As I’ve said many times before, I don’t like wearing a mask but do so to protect myself and others. I’m in the group that is fully vaccinated but know that wearing a mask is still going to be part of my daily life for a while.

According to my research, Chaucer never finished The Canterbury Tales. The goal was to tell the tales of some 30 pilgrims who were on their way to what we know as England. He had planned to write four tales for each pilgrim, or 120 total, but only produced 24.

We can all hope that the story of COVID-19 will soon be finished. And that we don’t ever have to recite anything about it in front of our English teacher and classmates.

Thanks for reading.


John Boyette is executive editor of the Aiken Standard. Reach him at jboyette@aikenstandard.com or 803-644-2364.

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