An End to the Covid Era

Sean Anderson, Videographer

It’s been over a year now since COVID-19’s dark grimacing grip ripped all that was normal out of society and started the world in a spiral of turmoil. Last spring was when COVID-19 protocol and restrictions were at its height, with many countries just finding out about the terrible pandemic, but now with vaccines rolling out and more and more people being vaccinated every day, the question is should we be reducing COVID-19 restrictions and when will everything return to normal? 

The COVID-19 vaccine distribution chain has been, to say the least, messy. With city and state infrastructures struggling to get and distribute the vaccine to its residents, the process has been long and grueling. Across the nation many states are in different phases, meaning different groups of people have received the vaccine before others. 

Kansas, one of the slower states in terms of distribution, only started providing vaccines to phase four people on March 22. Phase four includes those aged 16 through 64 with a high risk for COVID-19 and other non-health care workers. However, states like Alaska have already determined that all adults are eligible for a vaccine. The one good thing however to come from this process is that slowly, COVID-19 restrictions are dropping and life is resuming as “normal.” 

This has been somewhat of a controversial subject lately as well. Even though in some states most people are vaccinated and technically cannot be infected, studies are still unsure on key details about how the vaccine affects transmission between individuals. Due to the lack of information on the vaccine effectiveness, most states still have a mask mandate in effect and require social distancing; however, in some areas the social distancing guidelines have been reduced to three feet. 

The conflict with reducing COVID-19 regulations comes from a disagreement with citizens and law makers. The divide can be vaguely drawn between Democrats and Republicans but there is some overlap. Some state legislators are tired of the COVID-19 regulations and want business to return to its pre-COVID-19 state, so some governors, like Greg Abbott of Texas, have begun lifting mandates. For instance, in the quite controversial decision, Abbott on March 2 lifted the mandatory mask mandate for Texas and increased the capacity of all businesses and facilities to 100 percent. 

This decision came with loads of backlash from democratic legislators stating that it is too early to remove such an integral regulation that protects so many of the country’s citizens. Was this too soon to lift the mask mandate? Personally I think it was. The backing for lifting the mandate comes from the number of vaccinated individuals, but even with so many people receiving their vaccination I still think it would be worthwhile to keep the mask mandate in effect until everyone has received their vaccination and the immediate effects of the pandemic have ceased. 

So, this brings up the last question. When can we expect things to get back to normal? Truth be told, things might never return to what we once referred to as “normal.” After such a frightening occurrence many people will continue to practice the same COVID-19 protocols long after they have been removed. While I think it’s possible to see most business and capacity limits removed by the end of the summer as vaccine distribution reaches its peak, I don’t think all of the restrictions including the mask mandate will be lifted for at least another year. It is very likely that we will continue to see the aftermath of the pandemic having an effect on our culture for decades to come. 

With every traumatic life event like World War II, the Spanish flu, and the Great Depression, the effects will continue to linger for years. So, the advice I can offer to those of you who want life to return to normal before you can live your life again, I suggest you make the most of what you have now and live the life in front of you, because you only get one.