Not Comfortable Yet
After over a year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems that much of society is pining to get back to normal. Texas lifted its mask mandate in March. The CDC recently changed its guidelines, saying that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear a mask indoors or outdoors — though there are exceptions, such as on public transportation. Starting earlier this month, Texas public schools can no longer require people to wear masks.
The common opinion among many people seems to be that, this year, they will resume normal summer activities just like during pre-pandemic times.
However, I have a different view of the subject.
I don’t feel comfortable going back to normal yet.
I’m a cautious person — it’s just who I am. So when the pandemic started, my anxiety levels were high. I’ve been extra careful throughout the entire ordeal. I haven’t been out in public much. When I do go out, I wear two masks (and even a face shield and gloves at one time). I don’t want to get sick, and I don’t want to pass on the virus to my family members either.
I think it’s safe to say that the pandemic has derailed many people’s plans. The virus has taken a toll on lots of people. Aside from the obvious losses like the deaths, people have also lost their livelihoods. After I graduated college in May 2020, I was supposed to work at a retail store to save up money. Even more excitingly, I was supposed to travel last summer, but when the pandemic started, all my plans were forcibly halted. I couldn’t work anymore, and I had no idea when I could travel — if ever.
So after over a year of lockdown, quarantine, isolation, and being stuck in their homes, it’s no wonder people are eager to break free from it all. I too get swept up in the excitement. The prospect of going to the movies, going on road trips, going to concerts, and going to art exhibits is extremely exciting, to say the least. I just don’t want to get ahead of myself just yet.
I don’t want to underestimate the seriousness of this virus. I know how deadly it has been. At least 3.81 million people worldwide have died from it. I don’t want to blindly rush back into society. The risk of me catching the virus, being stuck in the hospital with it, or even dying from it is much too high for me to take a chance.
I truly don’t believe that COVID-19 is over yet — and I don’t believe that it will be completely gone by this upcoming summer either. At one point, vaccination rates were falling. Additionally, another COVID-19 variant has recently been reported in North Texas.
Due to the pandemic, my original graduation ceremony was canceled. This year, my college held a ceremony for the 2020 graduates along with the 2021 grads. I opted out of attending. Though the ceremony was held outside, and masks and social distancing were enforced, I still didn’t feel comfortable going. I certainly didn’t want to proudly walk the stage and revel in my accomplishment only to come down with the virus one week later.
Ultimately, I didn’t feel attending the ceremony was worth the risk. I just didn’t feel comfortable with the idea, especially with me not having even been vaccinated.
Recently, I actually did consider re-entering society. I had decided to apply for a summer job to save up money. At first, I felt better about working during the pandemic. People were getting vaccinated, and COVID-19 cases were declining. If I got the job, I would be extra cautious. I would wear two masks, a face shield, and gloves. I thought I was ready.
However, when I interviewed for the job, I soon realized that I was stressed in public. Thoughts of contracting COVID-19 flooded my mind. And if I was stressed out about catching the virus, I wouldn’t be able to work effectively. I soon scrapped the idea. Working in public just wasn’t worth the risk of me catching the virus or bringing it home to my family.
Instead of re-entering society right now, I’m taking a different approach. Rather than rushing back into normalcy, I’m going to be extra careful and stay cautious. I want to have fun — but I want to do it safely. I want to be able to enjoy myself without worrying about getting sick. For me, there is no point in having fun out in public if I’m going to contract COVID-19 in the process.
As more and more people get vaccinated and cases decline, normalcy seems to be on the horizon. I have hope that things will be much better in the near future and that the world will look much more normal soon. Until then, I’ll continue to be cautious, waiting for a better and brighter tomorrow.
This editorial reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily the Fort Worth Weekly. The Weekly welcomes all manner of political submissions. They will be edited for clarity and factuality. Please email Editor Anthony Mariani at firstname.lastname@example.org.