If Dr. Wilfred Ellis had his way, people would be leaving their luggage in the closet.
That’s not happening though.
More Ohioans are making plans to lock up their houses for a week or two this spring and go somewhere — anywhere — be there a pandemic or no pandemic.
Cindy Nelson is seeing it play out in Lima, and so is Patrick DeHaan statewide.
Nelson, the manager of Lima AAA, has continually watched people come into the travel service with one thing on their mind, a road trip.
They’re not just talking about taking short jaunts, either.
“We have people looking at driving out to the Grand Canyon, especially if they have kids who are doing remote learning,” she said. “They’re taking advantage of the time to be able to do that.”
The increase in people driving is among the reasons Ohio’s gas prices have averaged as high as $2.40 a gallon this month, said DeHaan, the head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.com.
It’s supply and demand, DeHaan said.
“People perceive things are getting better with the vaccine coming out, and they’re driving more. As a result, motorists shouldn’t expect much of a break from rising gas prices,” DeHaan said.
Ellis says he understands it’s been a long 10-month battle against the virus.
“I know people are having virus fatigue, but I think it’s too soon to travel because we haven’t gotten to the central point of the pandemic. We’re just beginning to hit a plateau,” said Ellis, who has been an infectious disease specialist in Lima for more than 20 years and is the board president of Allen County Health. “And if we start traveling, what may happen is another spike in the spring when we’re trying to bring the numbers down.”
He’s not even ready to give a green light to summer travel.
“That will depend upon how well we can do with vaccinations during the next few weeks,” he said. “If over the next 100 days we can get that 100 million vaccinations in, that’ll put us somewhere near well over half what we need. If not, we will have a large number of cases, and that will make vacations during the summer somewhat more difficult.”
Ellis puts high hopes on a third vaccine coming out in three to four weeks by Johnson and Johnson.
“It’s a single-dose vaccine, which may be a game-changer in trying to get the vaccine program moving along,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be stored at minus-102 Fahrenheit. It can be stored in routine refrigerators. And because it’s a single shot, it may be more palatable too, instead of having two shots like the other vaccines calls for.”
Ellis cautions, though, that people shouldn’t wait for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. If someone has the chance to get one of the other two vaccines now, Ellis urges they do so.
“You never know what’s going to happen, so follow the old proverb: ‘A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.’”
ROSES AND THORNS: A large group is welcomed into the rose garden.
Rose: The Bath girls’ basketball team ended the 42-game winning streak of Division IV’s No. 1-ranked Fort Loramie with a 55-33 victory Saturday.
Rose: To Tony Wilkerson, Ruby Hord, Carla Thompson, Oneida Cobb, Donald Madlock and Elaine Potts, each of whom received Dream Awards on Martin Luther King Jr. Day for their service to the community.
Rose: The basketball court at Lima Central Catholic High School has been named “Bob Seggerson Court” in recognition of the long-time coach who amassed 519 wins in 32 seasons.
Thorn: A state audit found the financial records of the Allen County Regional Transit Authority to be a mess in 2019 as former Executive Director Shelia Haney sought passage of a tax levy. Findings in excess of $6,000 were issued primarily for late payment of bills.
Thorn: Calvin Goode, Lima’s Pie Guy — so named because his homemade Goode Sweet Potato Pies were featured on the TV show “Shark Tank” — was back behind bars last week because he couldn’t lay off the booze and dope, which was a violation of his parole.
PARTING SHOT: “A person occasionally gets the opportunity to do something great. When that time comes, only two things matter: being prepared to seize the moment and having the courage to take your best swing.” —Hank Aaron
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.