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Mask Mandates Lifted, Free at Last …


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It’s been over two years since COVID-19 started, with a “cluster of patients in Wuhan, a providence in China, experiencing shortness of breath and fever. [1] Since the pandemic, there has been a “seismic shift in the speed at which scientific research is conducted and shared,” including the “development of numerous … vaccines,” especially since the first reports of its outbreak was not made public until January 10, 2020, by GenBank and the WHO office notified. [2] Spreading worldwide, COVID became a global pandemic, “WHO declar[ing] [COVID] a global health emergency,” [3] and in order for other countries to protect public health mask mandates and stay at home orders spread worldwide. 

Left at home during the first year of the pandemic, stay at home orders issued by Trump were among the first inconveniencies of the pandemic, with uncertainty looming while pushes for vaccines were underway including an election and subsequent change in care of the American people, and the fate of the World also resting in the hands of those responsible for funding the first vaccines made available to Countries affected by the pandemic. 

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Being forced to stay at home was a sudden change for most, including children who were not allowed to attend school and forced to attend online, getting used to a new system of education, and upon returning forced to wear masks prompting fights in parent teacher conferences. While scores of people out of work reliant on government benefits to sustain their livelihoods, and mental health issues worsening among young adults, with increases in suicides following the beginning of the pandemic.

Although our battle with COVID may be tapering to its lowest levels since it began, the wounds of its aftermath will have a lasting impact on how we take care of ourselves, how we take care of others, and how we come to comprehend the meaning of life, and our own mortality. It is clear that the lasting effects of the pandemic have not ended even though recent mask mandates have been lifted, and the adjustments we must make socially, academically, and professionally with continue to be perfected in the coming years while protecting one another’s health in all community indoor environments, and if masks are required do our best to uphold those standards all around.   

So what do lifted mask mandates mean to society? That we get to go back to as close of a normal life as we once had one. Mask mandates will be lifted in: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and Washington D.C. [4] As “COVID-19 infection numbers decline … new reported infections … have dropped by 60% or more (newsweek) since last month,” according to the CA Department of Public Health. [5] In response to updated CDC data, a new health order is beginning to take place in cities prepared to lift prior indoor mask orders, where patrons regardless of “vaccination status” may travel freely, such as in “bars, stores, offices, restaurants, gyms and movie theaters.” [6] Although wearing masks indoors is “strongly recommended … [for] indoor public settings,” this is a huge plus for kids in schools who may not be required to wear masks at all times and get to play in peace breathing freely without the previous requirements in place, making it safer to be in school, vaccinated or not. Without the requirement, this frees up the privilege for some to roam freely without having to disclose or face backlash if they have not vaccinated be precluded from entering establishments, without proof of vaccination, although it may still be enforced some places. Where mask mandates will still be “in effect,” will be in “healthcare settings, nursing homes, homeless shelters, jails, prisons and emergency shelters.” [7] 

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