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New poll shows 50% drop in fear of dying from COVID-19

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New poll shows 50% drop in fear of dying from COVID-19

Americans are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey.

The national Harris Poll conducted over the weekend found a significant uptick in positive sentiment about the pandemic — and a drop in fears of the virus.

“The last year has certainly been difficult for many Americans and their families, but in the face of all the hardships and social distancing efforts, many have remained optimistic and resilient when it comes to their mental health,” John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll, said in a statement.

More than half, or 52 percent, of the 2,000 adults surveyed said they are not afraid of dying as a result of catching COVID-19, the highest mark since July 2020.

For most of the year, the number of people who said they were frightened of being killed by the virus outnumbered the alternative.

More than 516,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, but both deaths and cases have recently been on the decline.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 20 percent of the adult population is now vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The poll found a 15 percent increase in how many Americans approve of how the COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed.

About 66 percent gave the nation’s inoculation efforts the thumbs up, compared to 51 percent just one month ago.

The findings came as President Biden on Tuesday said the US will have enough vaccines for every US adult by the end of May, two months earlier than previously anticipated.

Despite the stepped-up pace of vaccine production, the massive effort to get every American jabbed could extend well into the summer, officials said.

Biden said he hoped that the nation would be back to normal sometime before “this time next year.”

Still, when asked if they currently think there is light at the end of the tunnel of the pandemic, nearly 6 in 10 respondents said yes, according to the poll.

They were also more optimistic about the effects of the pandemic, with 66 percent overall saying their mental health has been affected in a positive way.

About 30 percent of those respondents said they’ve found more things to be grateful for during the crisis; 28 percent said they’ve taken more “me time” to do things for themselves; and 25 percent said they’ve been praying more.

“While Americans remain vigilant over the pandemic,” Gerzema said, “it is an encouraging sign to see greater acceptance of the vaccine, a belief that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and a declining sentiment in fear of dying from the virus.”

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Hester Ford, oldest person in America, dead at 116

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Hester Ford, oldest person in America, dead at 116

America’s oldest person has died, but she left behind quite a legacy — not the least of which are some 120 great-great-grandchildren.

Hester Ford, of Charlotte, North Carolina, died at the age of 116, according to WBTV.

Born in 1904 in Lancaster, South Carolina, Ford grew up working on a farm, planting and picking cotton and plowing the fields, the local station said.

In addition to her legion of great-greats, the matriarch had 12 children, 48 grandchildren and 108 great-grandchildren, according to the report.

Her precise age was unclear. One set of census records shows her birth as Aug. 15, 1904, but another set shows she was born in 1905. However, last year the Gerontology Research Group reportedly declared she was the oldest person in the US.

She died peacefully at home surrounded by family, her great-granddaughter said, according to the station.

“Her light shined beyond her local area and she lived beyond a century with memories containing real-life experience of over 100 years,” Tanisha Patterson-Powe reportedly said. 

“She not only represented the advancement of our family but of the Black African American race and culture in our country. She was a reminder of how far we have come as people on this earth. She has been celebrated all over the world by local governments, community leaders, social media, foreign dignities and presidents as a cherished jewel of society for holding the honor of being the oldest living person in America.”

Ford’s husband of 45 years died in 1963, a half-century ago, according to the report.

COVID-19 was not the church-going woman’s first pandemic; she also lived through the 1918 influenza pandemic.

Ford ate half of a banana for breakfast every day, and when asked to the secret of her longevity last year, she said: “I just live right, all I know.”

Local county commissioners declared Sept. 1 as Mother Hester McCardell Ford Day in Mecklenburg County, in her honor last year.

“We are honored and we just thank God for the opportunity to celebrate her,” Mary Hill, one of Hester Ford’s 68 grandchildren said, according to the local station.

“She just continues to be a blessing to us. And she tells us all the time. You are here to be a blessing to someone else.”

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Gina Tron’s ‘Employment’ turns the 9-5 grind into poetry

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Gina Tron's 'Employment' turns the 9-5 grind into poetry

Gina Tron has held plenty of jobs. She has worked at a Walmart, a PetSmart, and a small-town newspaper. She has been a waitress; she has worked at a CBS affiliate, Lifetime, and a media job at a TV station that was owned by the Catholic Church. These days, she writes, primarily about murder, for Oxygen. 

So it’s entirely fitting that her most recent book — her sixth — is a collection of poems called “Employment.” “Nobody wants to grind for the man, but most of us have to,” read the press materials. “Gina Tron has clocked into a lot of nonsense which has luckily led to undeniably relatable poems recalling the details of making other people money in order to survive.” 

The poems touch on the dark side of many of the jobs she has held; of sexism and corruption, sexual harassment, boredom, and plain old poor management. (The book’s dedication page calls out all the “sh–ty a– bosses I had” while also thanking the ones who were cool and supportive.) 

“I also make reference to the arrest of my boss for child pornography while working at the Diocese of Brooklyn television station, which occurred when I was there and the hypocritical reactions to that,” she says. (“Emergency meeting is called/and the big, big-big He/who owns us/yet is still part of the flock, above most/He is being arrested on child porn distribution charges /after those Thai trips.”) 

For someone who has done a lot of longform reporting, poetry is a refreshing change in format. 

“Poetry really lets you address stuff that is less complicated than journalism or memoir. It’s more abstract and you don’t worry as much about consequences,” she says. “With this, I can go wild.” 

Of her job at a CBS affiliate: “He uses a clipboard as a paddle/upon my rear end/I say to myself, it didn’t end in the fifties/this is real and now/I didn’t think/I guess I do now/fine I get it/this isn’t a show/He says, don’t worry I didn’t enjoy it/when I order Him to stop” 

And murder reporting? 

“I love it,” she says. “It’s not for everyone, but I’ve been fascinated with true crime. I try my best to make it a bit more victim focused, and not as much about the killers.”

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Sheriff and his beloved K9 die on same day

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Sheriff and his beloved K9 die on same day

A retired Ohio sheriff and his tiny, crime-fighting, K-9 partner will be buried together after dying on the same day.

Former Geauga County Sheriff Dan McClelland, 67, and Midge, 16 — a drug-sniffing Chihuahua-rat terrier mix certified by the Guinness World Records as the world’s smallest police dog in 2006 — both died on Wednesday.

Midge passed away at home, possibly of a broken heart, just hours after McClelland lost his battle with cancer at the hospital.

The dynamic duo were inseparable, whether they were collaring suspects or out on the town at parades and police functions.

Midge was remembered paws-humously as a rock star who would delight everyone she met — except the drug dealers the terrier-mix terrorized.

When the top cop was doing paperwork, Midge would sleep in a miniature dog bed next to his desk, making his office a very popular spot on school field trips.

Sheriff Scott Hildenbrand recalled escorting the crime-fighting team in a golf cart at the county fair. It was a slow ride, as people flocked to the petit police pooch.

“He used to joke that people would see him in a parade in a car and would say, ‘Hey, there’s Midge and whatshisname,’” Hildenbrand told the Associated Press. “I think she was more popular than him.”

“It was like bringing Elvis Presley to the midway,” retired Lt. John Hiscox agreed.

It was McClelland, a 44 year veteran of the force, who decided that Midge would make an unlikely, but ideal, drug-sniffing dog.

Unlike large and aggressive canines like German shepherds or bloodhounds, Midge — the runt of her litter — could fit into tight spots like under vehicles, which she would search without tearing up upholstery or leaving muddy footprints.

The pair were guests on daytime talk shows and featured in magazines like Playboy until their joint retirement — when Midge would join McClelland and his wife on cross country road trips in an RV.

“He spent 44 years protecting people in this county and, quite frankly, he loved his job, every minute of it,” Hildenbrand said. “I thought he’d never retire.”

McClelland and Midge now have a new leash on the afterlife. They will be buried together, family members said.

With Post wires

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