COVID-19 is not over

Written By Jordyn Hronec, Editor-in-Chief

In case you were not aware, the COVID-19 pandemic is not over. But if you were not aware, I don’t entirely blame you, given the hoards of people who have been acting like the pandemic is, in fact, over.

Here’s a reality check. It is far from over.

Since December, the conversation around COVID-19 has changed with the introduction of various COVID-19 vaccines. But the U.S. is falling behind on its vaccination goals. And the vaccine rollout plans have been largely left up to states with huge discrepancies when it comes to how successful they’ve been. Plus, in order for us to reach herd immunity and overcome the virus, a high percentage of the population must be vaccinated. This exact percentage for COVID-19 is unknown, but for other illnesses that are commonly vaccinated against, the threshold can be as high as 80% or even 95%. And, possibly worst of all, Americans remain incredibly divided on their trust in the vaccine. (Even though this piece is not about vaccines, I am here to plant my flag in the proverbial sand and say that no, the vaccine does not use 5G technology, nor does it contain a microchip with which the government can track you, and even if it did, your life is probably not interesting enough for the government to even want to track you. Also, they can already track you because odds are, you own a cell phone.)

The likelihood of us kicking the pandemic to the curb anytime soon here in the good old US of A is slim. We’ll most likely be dealing with this, and all of the new strains popping up, until 2022 at the earliest. We simply didn’t act quickly or radically enough to begin with.

And yet…so many attitudes surrounding the pandemic are still so ambivalent. But mine is not. I have been the queen of social distancing since March. Granted, I was always an introvert and avoided unnecessary social interaction at any cost, but still. I’ve taken every class remotely, and have worked remotely and have avoided hanging out with more than two people at once, max. And I am privileged in some of this, such as being able to learn and work remotely. 

I have received some criticism for this. I’ve been told that I’m too anxious about COVID-19. I’ve been told that I’m simply doing nothing, despite the immense amount of remote schooling and work I’ve done. And I’ve seen others be criticized in the same way, both by people online and in their lives.

I think this is unfair. It is one thing to call someone out for not wearing a mask, or for ignoring CDC guidelines, but people who treat the pandemic as if it’s over or it’s not that bad are literally endangering the lives of others. Over 400,000 people in the U.S. alone have died from COVID-19. 

These people terrify me because there are so many COVID-deniers still out there, still killing people. Do I technically think it is safe to go to the grocery store, as long as you’re masked up, washing your hands, and keeping your distance? Yes. Do I think there is a way to safely open things like schools, with lowered in-person attendance and all guidelines being followed? Yes. 

But do I also think that if I am able to stay home and am willing to do so as often as possible, I should? Absolutely. For every careless COVID-denier, my hope is that there are at least 10 people who are staying home to keep themselves from catching and spreading the virus. And while I have the ability to do so, I’m going to. 

I am not COVID-19 cautious because of my anxiety disorder. I am cautious because I am empathetic, and because I want to keep the people in my life safe from harm’s way.