Managing expectations of the pandemic post-2020


Emily Dvareckas / The Hawks' Herald

Pictured here is one of the COVID-19 testing stations in the Upper Gym at Roger Williams University. Hand sanitizer in public spaces has become commonplace during the pandemic.

Luke Brennan, Opinions Editor

One of the most common questions people have regarding the coronavirus is “when are we going to get back to normal?” The simple answer is, we are not. There is no going back to before COVID-19. We are living in a new world, with different standards and practices when it comes to health and wellness. The sooner we accept that, the sooner we can adjust to our new definition of normal.

Whenever COVID-19 “goes away,” there will still be safety measures from this period that will remain in place to make sure a pandemic like this does not happen again. In this new reality, when someone is experiencing flu-like symptoms, they could be required to wear a mask in public, even if they have already received the coronavirus vaccine. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m still wearing my reusable masks into my 30’s. The constant presence of hand sanitizer in public places will also probably not be going anywhere.

While these inconveniences are a small price to pay compared to the more than 2.2 million deaths caused by COVID-19, they are nevertheless aspects of our life we will have to face years after the current pandemic is over.

Americans are optimistic by nature, sometimes to a fault. Despite clear instructions by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the incompetence of our government combined with the blind optimism and ignorance of our citizens has resulted in close to half a million deaths. The fact that cases are still rising almost a year into the pandemic shows there are still a lot of people who just aren’t taking this seriously. That cannot continue if we want any semblance of normalcy.

Hopefully, in a country where nobody can agree on anything, this new administration can unite the country behind one idea: we can do better. In order for that to happen, we all need to accept that while the world we knew is gone, we are still here and we still have to live in it, so we should do it right. Let’s keep ourselves and each other safe, get vaccinated, continue to practice social distancing and wear face masks in public.