Any objective viewer — and we know there are fewer and fewer left these days — knows it’s easy to arm-chair quarterback just about any situation. Those with mettle sidestep the analysis and delve into the tough, gritty work of the day.

We’re thankful for their courage, and effort.

Kudos to all those that have had to adjust their work models in the age of COVID-19. Whether it’s the doctor, nurse or EMS personnel that has to don weighty protective equipment that saps the body of energy or the restauranteur who has been forced into delivery and takeout service only, we thank you. For medical personnel risking their own lives to preserve those most at risk, we salute you.

Those who receive the brunt of the criticism these days are the decision makers — the president, Congress, governors, state lawmakers. Some have shined, while others have shown they have little foresight, and have been ill-prepared.

Here in the commonwealth, Gov. Tom Wolf has taken an exceedingly cautious approach. He’s weathered plenty of criticism, especially from lawmakers anxious to see their constituents back at work.

Both sides have valid points.

Transparency is needed, and the governor’s office has not been as transparent as it should be. The waiver process, which allowed certain businesses to stay open during the pandemic, was not executed well. Businesses complained they were never given reasons as to why they were forced to remain shuttered while like businesses elsewhere were given an OK to continue operating.

The governor, from my point of view, hasn’t been as open with lawmakers as he should have been, especially when it comes to decisions that trickle down to the local levels.

Fishing was OK, but golf was not? There are many other instances that left plenty of people scratching their heads, but as we said earlier... it’s easy to rate these actions from the safety and security of a lounge chair. From the governor’s seat, lives are at stake.

The Department of Health has not been as transparent as it should be, either. It’s not entirely the department’s fault as state and federal laws prohibit the release of certain information.

If there’s one thing the pandemic has exposed, it’s the absurdity of such laws, and the woeful state of preparedness evident in health systems nationwide.

State legislators and Congress alike needs to revisit laws that prohibit the release of basic information related to health issues. Northumberland County, which has over a dozen nursing and personal-care homes, has a half dozen people positive with COVID-19 in one facility, but neither county officials nor the community at large has been informed as to where the facility is.

No one has to know the names of those with the virus, but it would certainly assist local hospitals, officials and emergency responders to know whether the facility is in Watsontown or Coal Township, as the two are a 45-minute drive apart. Members of a community have a right to know where the virus is, and how quickly it is spreading.

As more information surfaces, we all will learn more as it pertains to COVID-19, and we’ll all be more prepared.

Just remember, everyone is going through this type pandemic for the first time. There’s no cure, and there’s no vaccine.

Everyone, for the most part, has risen to the occasion. Key to the whole strategy has been keeping first responders safe and hospital capacity available. We’ve thus far been largely successful at doing so, and therefore discussion of returning to work is warranted.

We can’t afford to let our guard down, though. This virus, while a breeze for some, has been brutal to others, and proven fatal for tens of thousands of Americans and thousands of Pennsylvanians.

Let’s keep those impacted most at the forefront of our minds during this trying time.

Chris Brady is managing editor at The Standard-Journal and can be reached at

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