(Almost) Through the Woods

We Still Need Masks in Our Lives


Image by Christo Anestev from Pixabay

A woman wears a cloth mask to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Infection rates are down, but we must continue taking precautions until the virus no longer poses a major threat to our population.

John McConnell, Editor

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has been controlling almost every aspect of our lives for the better part a year now, finally feels like it is coming to a close. Case numbers are down and vaccines are being distributed throughout the country, and it’s looking like we will soon be able to resume normal life. But the key emphasis is on “soon.” 

As tempted as we may be to have a more relaxed attitude on precautions, we are not in the clear yet. The vaccination rates aren’t high enough in our country to have a significant impact on the spread of the coronavirus. The New York Times tells us that according to Dr. Fauci, 70 to 90 percent of the population must have their shots in order to achieve herd immunity through vaccination. As of February 25, only roughly 13.6 percent of the U.S. population has been vaccinated. 

Instead, according to CNN, the decrease in cases can be attributed to increases in safety precautions such as masking and social distancing. It thus stands to reason that a drop off in these same precautions could trigger new surges with devastating consequences.

Right now the situation is improving, but our problem is not solved. It’s not over until it’s over. This means that we must remain vigilant if we are to overcome the pandemic without even more unnecessary deaths. If cases go down and people decide to start taking risks again, cases could skyrocket. 

At this point we’re in the home stretch. We have multiple vaccines that are approved and being distributed across the country. The number of cases is comparatively low to what they were before, and if we don’t give the virus a way to spread and reproduce, it can’t mutate. At the current rate, it won’t be much longer until we’re in the clear. It may be that this virus will be in our lives for the foreseeable future, but with sufficient vaccination rates, it won’t prevent normal life from occurring. 

When we are so close to the finish line, why would we sacrifice our lead? Opening up is understandable for many reasons, but opening doesn’t entail blindly throwing precautions to the wind. Aside from real health concerns, there’s no compelling reason to stop wearing masks, and it’s also not too late to start. 

Through widespread masking and vaccination, we can push through this, but not unless everyone does their part. Each individual needs to stop the spread by wearing their mask. And each individual needs to get vaccinated as soon as they can. If we work together we will overcome. If we work together we will succeed. If we work together America can be the international leader to help the world through this, by giving an example and showing the way. But that situation only happens if we achieve success. Fortunately for us, the road to success is clearly marked. It’s all about whether or not we take it.