Hitting Rewind on Today’s Read 2020

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Well, we are about halfway through 2020 and to say the least, it’s been a helluva year so far. The pandemic, which no one saw coming, has truly rocked our world and the challenges it brings just keep on morphing. If the pandemic has taught us nothing else, at least we now know we can adapt and pivot no matter what comes our way. The editors at VMAIL Weekend hope you are settled in for a nice long holiday weekend. And what better way to kick things off than a look back at some of our more popular Today’s Read features. So before you fire up that grill, pour yourself another cup of Joe and read through some stories you might have missed. In these very trying times, we hope you’ll be able to find some hope, faith and inspiration in these stories.






Saving Your Sanity During a Crisis
Our associate editor Gwen Plummer kicked things off in March during the early days of the lockdown in the Tri-State area. She wrote, “Self-isolation and a global pandemic can be anxiety inducing for anyone. We’re enduring a collective trauma in real-time, and it’s really hard to find respite anywhere in that. But, as impossible as it may feel, we have to find moments of safety and serenity right now, because those moments will help us get through to the other side of this.” Gwen then posed the following question: how can we make sure that we’re staying as mentally healthy as possible, in the face of all of this? She then went on to source a range of professional and mental health advice for tackling the situation, and added in some of her own views and tips that have worked. Her advice is as relevant today as it was back in March. Read Saving Your Sanity During a Crisis.







The Fog Is Starting to Lift
Leave it to our tech editor, Andy Karp, to come up with a pandemic story featuring some very practical advice on a common problem arising from COVID-19—our glasses tend to fog up when we wear a face mask and venture outside. Of course, being the lens editor, Andy had a solution—Cat Crap, a wax-like product from a company called EK USA that you apply to eyeglass lenses to prevent them from fogging up. Since Andy always does his homework, he reached out to several other companies offering solutions to face masks and foggy eyeglasses, including Dynamic Labs, Essilor, Hilco Vision, OptiSource, Schneider Optical Machines, and Shamir Insight, to find out how the public’s recent interest in anti-fog products is impacting their sales. Read The Fog Is starting to Lift.







5 NYC Ophthalmology Residents Answer the Ultimate Call to Duty
In late April, a press release appeared in my inbox from a PR spokeswoman from Mount Sinai Hospital, which led to a phone interview with Dr. Paul Lee, the associate program director of Mount Sinai's Ophthalmology residency program in New York City. Here’s what he told me. “On March 14, when New York City went into lockdown mode due to the spread of COVID-19, people’s lives were up-ended in ways thought to be unimaginable. Businesses shut down, schools closed and everyone was instructed to shelter in place. As the emergency rooms began filling up, it became apparent that the health care systems in New York City were in danger of becoming stretched to capacity, straining the hospitals and the health care workers manning the frontlines. While many health care workers were encouraged to come out of retirement to aid in the fight, there was another untapped potential source of workers—medical students. Five ophthalmology residents from Mount Sinai volunteered to be redeployed to Elmhurst Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital.” Here is their story, told from the perspective of Dr. Lee.






Please (!) Let the Games Begin
At the end of May, senior editor Mark Tosh, our resident sports fanatic, wrote about the possible return of sports during the pandemic. Here’s his take on the pandemic sports scene. “This coronavirus situation has left many of us with more than enough time to contemplate the future, especially as it relates to our businesses and professions. What will optical retail look like in 2021? How will the conventional sales call be transformed? What about industry meetings? The one thing that seems certain around all of these questions is that no one really knows right now what the future will look like. It’s going to be a wait-and-see evolution. Sports was more or less in this same boat back in April, but now some of the pieces of the puzzle are beginning to fall into place. We also have some history with sports in the midst of a pandemic, going back more than 100 years to 1918 when a strain of the flu swept the globe and left an estimated 50 million to 100 million fatalities in its wake. (My colleague Mary Kane wrote about the 1918 flu in a prescient Today’s Read—“Why the Flu Can Be Such a Killer”—back in 2018.) Hitting even closer to home for those of us who follow sports is the powerful main image with this story—a photo of the bleachers during a 1918 Georgia Tech football game. This picture, which has almost a surreal quality, depicts the way some major sports continued in 1918 even in the midst of a health crisis." Read Please (!) Let the Games Begin.