COVID: Why It’s Time to Return to Life Before the Pandemic


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Baseball fans celebrate a win by their favorite team. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

On January 21, 2020, a resident of Washington state tests positive for COVID-19. It is the first reported case in North America. Within two weeks, the US declares the virus a public health emergency. California was the first state to issue a stay-at-home order for its citizens, and this preventative measure was eventually adopted by an increasing number of state governments, spurring more than a year of lockdowns. Mask mandates were also implemented, designed to stop the spread. These caused

Children in school
Children in school without masks- a rare sight in many US schools today (Photo credits: Stock photo)

millions of people’s lives to come to a screeching halt, with fear of the virus being on everyone’s minds. How could they prevent loved ones from contracting the virus? How could they protect themselves? Were masks and social distancing effective or not? Any thoughts of returning to life before the pandemic- without masks, social distancing, and excess government regulation- were quickly dismissed. Then came the vaccine.  

The release of Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines was revolutionary. In record time, scientists and medical researchers were able to develop a vaccine that was extremely effective against the virus. Government officials began encouraging all their citizens to get the shots, and millions of people listened. According to the CDC, as of October 2021, more than half of those living in the US are fully vaccinated. The vaccines are incredibly effective too— vaccinated Americans made up just 0.008% of new COVID cases in April of 2021, and close to none of the deaths. Granted, while the vaccine is slightly less effective against hospitalizations for the new Delta variant(93%) as it is for the alpha strain of the virus(97%), the Delta variant is far less deadly compared to the original, resembling more of a cold. In fact, there are very few reports of deaths among the vaccinated and non-immunocompromised. 

That being said, why not remove the mask mandates? Some may bring up the increased spread of the Delta variant in schools, especially among children. While it is true that more children are contracting the virus, there is still little evidence that shows that many are dying from it. According to the CDC, from the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 up to September 29, 2021, 478 of children under 17 died from the virus. That was out of more than 5.5 million children under 17 in the US who contracted the virus, which shows that the death rate of COVID-19 in children in the US is just 0.0081%. The data is unclear as to if the children who unfortunately lost their lives were immunocompromised or were suffering from some other illness in addition to COVID, so the true number of deaths directly attributed to the virus and the virus alone is most likely even lower. In reality, since the pandemic began, more than twice the number of children died from pneumonia than the coronavirus. 

Even the true effectiveness of mask mandates is being debated. According to a University of Louisville study done in May of 2021, there was no significant difference in the rise of cases between states with mask mandates and states without. The same result was found in September of 2021 in a study done in Bexar County, Texas, where researchers found that there was no reduction in the number of deaths, hospital bed, ICU, and use of ventilators after a mask mandate was issued. This is not to say that masks are not effective, only that mask mandates are not. 

Most can agree that masks are worn to protect oneself, as well as family or friends who might contract the virus. However, the best protection offered now is the vaccine, and it is already proven by Pfizer and Moderna that they are incredibly effective against the virus, despite some of the rare cases of having severe side effects. Every citizen living in the US has already had a chance to get the vaccine, regardless of their financial status as they are offered for free by the federal government. Those who were truly afraid of getting infected or infecting their friends and family would have already gotten the vaccine, and those who made their own risk assessment and chose not to get the vaccine for personal or medical reasons are most likely not going to change their minds anytime soon. Critics of vaccine choice may say that the unvaccinated do not have a right to endanger others, and there is a valid point to this. However, with the 93% effectiveness of the vaccine against delta, the vaccinated hardly need to worry about death or hospitalization from the virus. Rates of hospitalization and death are greatly reduced after being fully vaccinated, with most breakthrough cases only resembling a cold or mild flu. Those who refuse to take the vaccine are willing to face the fact that they may contract a serious case of the virus, at their own risk. Cases in the US are going down overall, and more and more people are itching to return to normal life. The unvaccinated should not hinder the ultimate goal of the vaccine. 

People wearing masks
Mask mandates grow increasingly divisive in places they are implemented, and many are refusing to comply. (Reuters Photo)

Furthermore, the nation’s economy is in a downturn. Because of the extensive lockdowns and stifling of small businesses that were especially hit hard by the virus, the large, multi-billion dollar international corporations that so many claim to despise have grown even more powerful. For them, the pandemic was simply a way to get rid of competition and further spread their influence with government aid, as companies such as Amazon have done. Even before the pandemic, the company had contactless delivery, which was ideal for a pandemic. Mom and pop shops all over the country had to pay the price as they relied mostly on in-person traffic, and soon, consumers will too. Moreover, the so-called “great resignation” hitting America has nothing to do with the virus itself, rather the government and establishment media’s response to it. With never ending mask mandates in schools all over the country, mass media outlets spewing out articles about how the virus is going to kill us all, and the federal government paying people to stay home with stimulus checks, it is no wonder why many are hesitant to go back to work. It is the reason why most states currently facing employment problems, such as Nevada, California, New York, and New Mexico are the ones being extremely generous with how much unemployment benefits they give out, and states such as Nebraska, Utah, and Idaho, who are doing fine with employment, have already ended them. What is the incentive to work when someone could get more money staying at home?

The government’s role in the pandemic is over. Their job is not to prevent people from getting sick. Their job is to distribute the vaccine so that people could return to their regular lives and move on. However, some officials such as Dr. Fauci believe otherwise. In a conversation with The Atlantic on September 28th of 2021, he states, “It is an assumption that it’s okay to get infected and to get mild-to-moderate disease as long as you don’t wind up in the hospital and die. And I have to be open and honest: I reject that. I think we should be preventing people from getting sick from COVID even if they don’t wind up in the hospital.” As of today, it is scientifically impossible for the virus to go away completely— there will never be zero-covid. The goal of zero mild-to-moderate cases is also absurd. There is no plausible way in which the federal government can prevent every person under its jurisdiction from getting sick. That could be compared with preventing anyone from getting the flu. This particular strain of coronavirus is something that the people have to learn to live with, like we have done with the flu, especially if it is growing ever less deadly. A study done by the UK found that the Alpha strain had a 1.9% case fatality rate, compared to the Delta strain’s 0.1%. The government’s reason for prolonging the pandemic is to create a sense of dependency among the people. Stimulus checks to those who don’t need them and mask mandates are just a few of the ways that the government has encroached into people’s private lives. With the government’s goal being zero-covid, how will US citizens ever return to normalcy? Will we have to wear masks until every virus is eradicated? Will we have to wait until every person in the US is vaccinated, regardless of if they want to or not? What happens when there is a new strain, a new mutation? Will we have to wait until that is gone too, in order to return to normal? 

The answer is no. The government has done its part— it has distributed the vaccine to all 50 states. That is all it needed to do from the beginning. The number of cases are going down, and fewer and fewer people are dying from the virus, with little to none of the deaths being vaccinated individuals. Those who choose to remain unvaccinated are doing so at their own risk, one that, in America, they are free to take. Mask mandates and stimulus checks are no longer necessary— it is time for the US to fully return to life before the pandemic.