The coronavirus and its variants have continued to be a concern worldwide. Though the infections are decreasing, there still are possibilities of community transmissions. So, doctors and scientists from all over the world emphasize the use of proper fitting masks, social distancing, sanitizing, avoiding crowded places and unnecessary travel, etc.
Easing Up Of Pandemic Restrictions In The United States
Vaccinations and boosters have been proven to be tremendously effective in reducing hospitalization and serious complications from the infection. Vaccinations are also beneficial in curtailing the spread of the infection.
Various restrictions that had been in place during the second wave of the pandemic, like shutting down of schools, offices, restaurants, had been lifted up when the cases were found to be decreasing. Those restrictions were again placed owing to the increasing cases of omicron, which is still considered the most dominant strain of coronavirus and the most infectious one.
In view of the decreasing daily cases worldwide, many states and countries are planning to ease off the various restrictions that are in place, in hopes that omicron’s peak may have passed. Both New York and Illinois have already made announcements to end the mask mandate in most indoor public settings, barring schools and healthcare facilities.
New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware also have plans to lift the mask mandate in schools. Some countries have even removed the vaccine-proof requirement in public indoor events.
President Joe Biden, however, is waiting for approval from federal health officials, who are against ending the mask mandate and recommend it still in indoor settings.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director, says it is too soon to decide in this regard.
Governors and local officials are easing off the many restrictions due to the declining cases and declining hospitalizations. The declining cases are a result of vaccines, boosters, and highly effective treatment strategies. However, the death rates from the infection still continue to be high at 2000 per day.
People from all over the world are looking forward to the normalcy that was there before the pandemic two years ago. The usage of masks even indoors, shutting down of restaurants and offices have vastly disrupted these people’s lives and even affected them economically due to job losses. This is what is making the local officials and governors make such a decision.
Even though many people have been vaccinated, there are still many who are yet to be fully vaccinated; many eligible people have not taken their booster shots as well. Vaccinations for children are still underway.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, said it is going to be tough to lay a clear guideline on when the United States can start lifting off the pandemic restrictions, as the country is still reporting new coronavirus and omicron cases daily, albeit less.
The chances of new variants or new waves evolving have not been completely ruled over yet by the scientists, and in such a scenario, easing off all the restrictions may prove to be more harmful than beneficial.
Dr. Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergencies chief, warned that opening up economies so soon without any precautionary measures may lead to unnecessary transmission and untimely deaths.
The less severity of omicron infections, wide availability of vaccines, and easy accessibility of home testing kits may have encouraged many states to lift off the broad restrictions.
However, doctors are still emphasizing that coronavirus and its variants have not entirely gone away yet, people still need to be careful. They still need to follow all the preventive measures that they have been following since the onset of the pandemic, get vaccinated and boosted, stay home in case of symptoms and wash their hands frequently.
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