Two weeks to stop the spread.
It turned into a year of social distancing and regulations. We did this because we had to; we did it for good reasons. The past year was about protecting our neighbors, coworkers, family and friends. We bought and made masks, downloaded Zoom and Microsoft Teams and watched Gov. Mike Dewine’s daily press conferences at 4 p.m. We stayed home. We did what it took to get to where we are now.
Now, cases are dropping. It took a lot longer than two weeks, but we have slowed and are getting very close to stopping the spread. Subsequently, lots of the regulations have laxed. Several states have removed the mask mandate, and fully vaccinated people can return to some normal activities.
On the subject on vaccines, currently about 47.4 million people in America are fully vaccinated and 87.3 million people have recieved their first dose, with more and more people getting vaccinated every day. With the way the vaccine rollout was set up, the people that are higher risk for having bad or deadly cases of COVID-19 – such as the elderly or people with underlying health conditions– were the first to get vaccinated; also groups of people that are more likely to be in contact with COVID-19, such as nurses and other essential workers.
Because of the fragility of the vaccines and the complicated way they must be stored, when there are leftover vaccines at the end of the day at pharmacies or vaccination centers, these vaccines go to people who want them, on a first-come first-served basis. Many pharmacies have released forms or numbers to call if you want to be put on one of these lists. This is the most effective way for younger people who are not high-risk to get vaccinated. Ohio University itself released a vaccine interest form to gauge how many students are or would be interested in recieving the vaccine in the future.
Thanks to vaccinations and lots of people having the antibodies from having and recovering from COVID-19, cases are going down.
We are reaching the light at the end of the tunnel. It is time for us to start thinking about ways we will go back to normal shortly. One of the best ways is to get the vaccine. Yes, we will still have to wear masks for a little while longer, but at this point, most of the people who are high risk for having dangerous COVID-19 cases have been vaccinated or will be very soon.
The whole point of the shutdown was to protect these high risk people. Now that we have some more barriers between those people and COVID-19, we can start getting life back to normal. We can’t stay in this purgatory of half-living our lives forever. We did what we had to do.
A return to normal life may seem daunting to some people. Some people have adjusted to the shutdowns better than others. Some prefer to stay in, they prefer having meetings over Zoom and they feel like the social anxiety of returning to normal is scary. But we can’t let that fear keep us from a return to society. Looking at the data and how far we have come from how bad this pandemic was at the beginning, or even a few months ago, is promising.
We are so close. If we can hold out for just a little longer, get vaccinated and continue to wear masks, normalcy is just around the corner.
Mikayla Rochelle is a senior studying strategic communication at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Tell Mikayla by tweeting her at @mikayla_roch.