An obscure, new normal
Irene discusses the lasting implications of COVID-19, as well as our disillusionment with the idea of normal.
I remember wanting to go out for spring break of March 2020, brimming with excitement to enjoy a well-deserved break from school. However, I never got that far. Days leading up to that week amplified rumors of a new illness spreading and two days into vacation week, we were given news that we would no longer be able to come back to campus. Businesses shut down, hospitals were overfilled, and the whole nation was shut down.
"'Normal' doesn’t quite describe what we have now."
It’s been over a year now since the emergence of COVID-19, and we have to ask: is life finally going back to normal?
We’re going back to work and to some extent, we are returning to the life we knew pre-pandemic. But, there are drastic changes, like wearing a mask, and "normal" doesn’t quite describe what we have now. Of course there’s vaccinations and people are going back to work & school, but there’s still precautions we need to take. For one, the fear of getting COVID-19, or for many people, getting COVID-19 again, has not disappeared. Especially with the Delta variant, the risk has not gone away.
Secondly, we have not seen a complete decline or halting of hospitalizations. Sometimes, it may seem that the virus is still running rampant through communities and populations; which is partially true because while many first world nations have had at least a significant portion of their people vaccinated, the vaccine has yet to make it to the other side of the world. Furthermore, masks are no longer required in most places and many pandemic-related restrictions have been lifted. Nonetheless, we should continue to protect ourselves and the community by taking steps to prevent spreading the disease. In fact, we should follow guidelines more so now than ever because we are so close to returning to stable ground with the pandemic, but every time we seem to be close to the end, there’s another obstacle standing between us and the finish line.
Honestly, at this rate, it’s hard not to feel disillusioned with the idea of “normal”. While the ideal exists, the reality of the situation is that we can only do our part in the recovery of the lives we knew and accept what comes next. Progressing through the challenges during these hard times is arduous; nevertheless, it reminds us that we can only go forwards, regardless of what forwards means to us.