For better or worse, mask mandates are being lifted

Photo courtesy of Karolina Grabowska, Pexels.

New York and New Jersey were ravaged by coronavirus and were among the states that set more stringent restrictions regarding masks and social distancing. They haven’t wavered in their strict policies during the course of the pandemic, until now. 

COVID-19 appears to be going in the same direction as the flu, an ever-present illness with an available vaccine to protect against it. As a result, masks have become associated with standard protection from the virus and are being dubbed as unnecessary precautions. This change in perspectives was prompted by widespread usage of the vaccine and booster shots. 

As the number of vaccinated people grows, the safer society becomes. This allows us to begin to relax the original safety measures that were put in place while we waited for a vaccine to be developed, such as masks. Like every decision, there are positive and negative actions that will spawn from it. Removing the restrictions on masks does allow for a “beginning of the end” for the pandemic and all the life changes that it has forced upon people. It allows for healing to begin amongst the traumatized masses.

Alternatively, only 64.5% of the United States is fully vaccinated according to the Mayo Clinic. While this shows a good progression, it does show that the removal of masks can be a tad bit premature. Further evidence to this fact is how young children are just now able to get vaccinated, so they do remain vulnerable to the virus. 

Whether or not you support the ending of the mask mandates, we can all agree that this is a sign of a massive change within our society. We’ve been seeing the world through the lens of a pandemic for so long, it will take us time to see the world in any other light. Within this issue there’s going to be hesitancy and anxiety.

Slowly our world is going back to what we once knew. We’re accepting the fact that this isn’t a disease that will be eradicated, but it will fade from prominence and one day its name will be tossed around like the way you say “flu.” A vaccine is available and more people are getting it administered every single day. So, we have to ask ourselves, what comes next? 

The answer will be different for everybody, which makes sense given how differently people have experienced the pandemic. Some people may have lost loved ones, and this makes them more cautious. Some resent the loss of their freedom to live life as they once were able to. The mask mandate removal prompts us to ask ourselves how we want to move forward with our lives, and only we have the answers to our own questions.