This article was edited since it originally was posted on March 11.
Across the U.S., states are changing their COVID guidelines, removing mask mandates both outdoors and indoors. At this time, individuals are no longer obligated to wear masks, even if it is strongly recommended. Many people are grateful for what seems like a return to some normalcy.
But as we look at the daily number of cases and deaths, we must wonder, on what basis are these decisions being made? It is true that the number of cases and hospitalizations has decreased from the peak of the Omicron wave, but the daily average number of deaths due to COVID was 1,559 on March 7 (see link for today’s average). For reference, this equals seven Boeing 737 airplanes crashing, every day. Based on vaccination rates across the country, most of the country still finds itself at high risk of outbreaks, and as we have seen, this can lead to the development of new and more contagious strains of COVID.
So, is it safe to go back to normal without masking, or is the government once more putting the burden of responsibility for this crisis on the shoulders of individuals? The reality is that those in power only care about things going back to normal for the sake of their profit-making machine, while the rest of us must deal with the consequences of their decisions.