Things seem to have gone back to normal at Green Mountain high school as normal school has commenced with just masks as a reciprocation. No case tracing, no quarantining exposed students, and no more requiring COVID testing in order to participate in after-school activities. Could it be assumed that COVID is minimal and nearly gone? No. Far from it. It seems that after the past two holiday seasons, the nation has reached two record peaks. Last year it reached records up to 300,000+ cases per day. Now, it’s even worse. With the new wave, the United States is averaging about 800,000+ cases a day. It’s far from normal.
Most of the population, 68% of all Americans, are fully vaccinated, but with the new, most recent variant, Omicron, it looks like that is making little difference. However, even though it isn’t necessarily slowing down the cases, it is significantly helping with the death and hospitalization rate. According to the New York Times, unvaccinated people dying of COVID-19 is 13 times more prevalent than it is among those who are vaccinated. Same goes for hospitalization rates. Those who get COVID, are unvaccinated, and are hospitalized are 5x more common than those who are fully vaccinated. This doesn’t mean that those who are fully vaccinated will not be hospitalized or die from COVID.
The main goal should be to start caring again. Students at Green Mountain are unlikely to die or end up in a hospital, but should still care about spreading the virus. It should be known that with the new quarantine guidelines, people can isolate themselves for only 5 days. However, five days following quarantine, they are still infectious. The new guidelines were put into place to get people back into the office, but they have to wear their masks around everyone for the remaining 5 days. In order to slow infection rates and to not overwhelm the community’s hospitals here are some tips you can follow:
Wear your mask properly: Masks should be completely covering your mouth and nose.
Think about upgrading your mask: According to MSNBC, the amount of time it takes for an infectious amount of COVID to be spread to someone unmasked is 15 minutes, both wearing cloth masks takes 27 minutes, wearing disposable masks takes 1 hour, and wearing N95 masks takes 25 hours.
Follow the proper quarantine guidelines: The quarantine time has gone down to five days, but the remaining five days that one is still infectious should be spent masked around absolutely everyone.
Consider getting your booster shot: Booster shots do not promise immunity, but can help you minimize symptoms and infection rates.
The point is, be careful and stay safe. Even if you may not be at risk, you might spread it to someone else who is. The hospitals are already overwhelmed and are extremely stretched thin. Students are not immune or immortal. Even if you won’t be hospitalized by COVID, there are many different accidents that can occur and put one in the hospital. However, if the hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID patients, you will not get the proper treatment you need and could possibly put your life at risk. So please, stay safe, stay smart, and stay healthy.