Restraint and Caution Needed to Successfully Defeat COVID-19

   The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged America and the world for well over a year. In this time, the masses have been forced to adjust to a “new normal:” one of masked faces, distance, and isolation. The pandemic has brought hardship upon many, with a “return to normalcy” being the solitary hope for those who lost so much — the light at the end of the tunnel. With vaccinations picking up pace, and case rates dropping in San Diego, the light seems to be inching closer. However, a sprint to normalcy can be harmful in itself. A gradual and restrained return to normal living is needed in order to successfully defeat the pandemic and handle its aftermath.

   Perhaps the most dire consequence of returning to “normalcy” too quickly is the rise in COVID-19 cases — especially with cases of variant strands increasing. With states like Texas and Mississippi lifting mask mandates, progress made by vaccinations could be reversed. According to University of Florida Epidemiologist Cindy Prins, mask-wearing is one of the most important fronts to combating COVID-19 and its mutant strains, and masks along with physical distancing will be crucial in keeping the virus’s spread under control ( In order to maintain public health and safety, such guidelines should not be rejected merely for the sake of restlessness.

   With the onset of the pandemic, many were concerned about the mental health of isolated citizens. The dramatic change of lifestyle greatly affected the headspace of many, but another rapid change may also reap consequences. “I think there will be an awkward period of adjustment to normal life, especially regarding social endurance. Personally, after a single conversation at school I need a recovery period because I haven’t needed to talk to anyone for so long,” shared Senior Olivia Upham. Being conditioned to isolation for a year will take time to remedy, and rushing into social activity would be detrimental.

   The pandemic has brought about dramatic lifestyle changes, but some have been beneficial enough to be integrated into regular living after the public health crisis subsides. Mask-wearing during times of illness would help to prevent the spread of other diseases such as influenza, and is already commonplace in many Asian countries, according to Time Magazine ( Telecommunication, too, may be here to stay. According to a January Gallup poll, 44 percent of workers indicated that they would prefer to continue working from home long-term ( Rather than rejecting the changes that occurred under the pandemic, some should be embraced as the country prepares for the end of this era.

   The pandemic has been challenging and exhausting, and all Americans want it to be over. But the reality of the situation must be recognized: the country is not yet ready for a true return to normalcy. And perhaps life will never again be as it was. To successfully protect the general welfare, the country must proceed into the next stage of history with caution.