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Shore residents split on COVID vaccine efforts, Delta variant concerns

EASTON — Maryland has lifted its pandemic restrictions, overseen a declining death rate this spring and summer from COVID-19 and reached a higher vaccinated population than most states — but some Mid-Shore residents are still hesitant to say the pandemic is winding down.

Concerns linger in Maryland and the U.S. over the Delta variant of the coronavirus and a slowing vaccination rate. Health officials nationwide continue to battle vaccine hesitancies and opposition.

Local residents say the country is trending in the right direction. But they are split on whether the pandemic is actually slowing down or if it has reached a standstill. They are also split on COVID vaccine efforts and renewed mask mandates in other parts of the country.

“I think Maryland has done a very good job with vaccinations, but when you get into Southern states, they’re pushing not getting vaccinations and they’re killing” people, said Mimi Eckerlin, of Easton, who called the Delta variant “scary.”

Eckerlin said the U.S. needs to get over a 70% vaccination rate if it wants to end the pandemic. She also cited concerns with the amount of misinformation online. “Health misinformation” has has been a leading contributor to vaccine hesitancy, according to President Joe Biden and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.

Eckerlin said she “just can’t imagine people believing what’s on the internet,” and that the information is effectively stopping them from getting vaccinated. “As long as you got propaganda stations,” she added, “you’re never going to convince the other people.”

Susan McClyment, of Crisfield, disagrees. She said the pandemic is “on hold” for now, but she believes a lot of it is political and symbolic of government overreach.

“I think it’s way blown out of proportion for political reasons,” said McClyment, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. She has not been vaccinated, but isn’t concerned about catching COVID-19.

McClyment said mask mandates were never needed, and she actually had to transfer between jobs because she disagreed with some enforcement protocols. She does not want to see more restrictions.

Maryland’s has fully vaccinated 57.4% of the state’s population, the sixth highest in the nation. Maryland saw 130 COVID deaths last month, and 95% of those positive COVID-19 cases and 93% of hospitalizations came from the unvaccinated population, according to the Maryland Department of Health.

The Delta variant, which originated in India in December 2020, is fast becoming the most dominant strain, and is thought to be more contagious than the last dominant strain, the Alpha variant.

That has many residents worried. Ieania Rosato, of Easton, is wearing a mask to every business and event she goes out to. She’s undergoing chemotherapy and is at a heightened risk from severe illness if she catches the novel coronavirus.

Rosato said COVID-19 is still a serious risk. She called for another mask mandate and more restrictions.

“I don’t think (we) should open up because a lot of people lie about getting vaccinated,” said Rosato. “And they go into your job and get you sick.”

Recently, Los Angeles County brought back its mask mandate over concerns about the Delta variant.

Other residents are concerned about vaccine mandates and new government restrictions.

“If people don’t want to get it, they don’t have to get it,” said Robert Geisler, of Cambridge. “It’s the American way.”

Geisler called Los Angeles “crazy” for reversing course on the lifted mask mandate. His wife, Cathy Geisler, added that their life has returned to normal and they felt safe, even with the spread of the Delta variant.

“I’m not worried about that,” she said. “I’m just worried about the government.”

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Man injured in shooting; no one talking to cops

CAMBRIDGE — No one is talking to police after a man was shot in both legs on Monday night on Pine Street in Cambridge.

Police received a call at about 10:25 p.m. on July 19, to respond to the emergency room at University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Dorchester for a man who arrived by vehicle with two gunshot wounds.

Cambridge Police Department spokesman Capt. Justin Todd said the 28-year-old victim had been shot in the right ankle and the left leg.

The victim told police he was walking in the Pine Street and Cross Street area when he heard gunshots, and he said he began to run until he realizing that he had been shot.

Todd said the man told police he called someone to pick him up and take him to the hospital but would not say who drove him to the hospital. The victim was later transferred to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore for further treatment of his injuries.

Officers were able to locate a crime scene at the intersection of Pine Street and Cross Street where a dozen shell casings were recovered. Police said suspects currently are unknown as detectives continue to gather evidence and nearby surveillance footage. There were no calls for shots being fired in that area nor have any witnesses come forward.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Cambridge Police Department at 410-228-3333. Tips can be phoned in to CPD anonymously by calling 410-228-3784.

3 things

1 On this day, in 1934 In 1934, bank robber John Dillinger was shot to death by federal agents outside Chicago’s Biograph Theater, where he had just seen the Clark Gable movie “Manhattan Melodrama.” In 1946, the militant Zionist group Irgun blew up a wing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing 91 people. In 2013, the Duchess of Cambridge, the former Kate Middleton, gave birth to a son, Prince George, who became third in line to the British throne after Prince Charles and Prince William. Famous birthdays: Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., is 98. Actor Willem Dafoe is 66. Actor John Leguizamo is 61. Actor Selena Gomez (pictured) is 29. (More history on A4)

2 Stina Blackstenius scored a pair of goals and the Swedes stunned the United States at the Olympics with a 3-0 victory Wednesday in the women’s soccer tournament. The Americans, ranked No. 1 in the world and the favorites to win gold in Tokyo, were riding a 44-match unbeaten streak heading into the match. But Sweden, ranked No. 5, has been the U.S. team’s nemesis of sorts in recent years. The Swedes bounced the Americans from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games in the quarterfinals. (Story on B1)

3 This could have been the offseason in which Giannis Antetokounmpo entered the free-agent market and perhaps teamed up with another superstar to try winning multiple NBA titles together. Antetokounmpo instead will spend the summer celebrating a championship he won with the team that picked him. Leading the Bucks to their first NBA crown in half century rewarded Antetokounmpo for his December decision to sign a supermax extension with Milwaukee. Antetokounmpo averaged 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds and 5 assists to help the Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns 4-2 in the NBA Finals. (Story on B1)

Check out the new edition of LIMELIGHT with television listings, information on Jazz Alive’s concert series, movie reviews and news on local arts events.

TV listings, Limelight

Thunderstorms and high winds swept through the Shore on Wednesday, July 21. In Queenstown, a trampoline was destroyed and trees were downed.

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., speaks during a hearing Feb. 22, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington.

FILE - Selena Gomez arrives at WE Day California on April 19, 2018, in Inglewood, Calif. Gomez is taking the heat in the kitchen. The singer-actress slices and dices in “Selena + Chef,” debuting Aug. 13 on the new HBO Max streaming service. The 10-episode series was shot in the kitchen of Gomez’s new Los Angeles-area house. Her grandparents and two friends, who have been quarantining with her, serve as taste testers. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)