The World Health Organization declared a Covid-19 pandemic two years ago, and the virus hasn’t disappeared after nearly a million people died nationwide. The new infection rate is improving, but it is still higher than it was originally. Last summer.
But after signs of progress and fatigue, even the cities and states that have the strictest precautions against the coronavirus are retreating them. That’s the moment for millions of Americans who have been socially distant in masks even after many of the nations have abandoned security measures. It’s a relief, but it’s also disappointing, frustrating, and disturbing ambiguity.
Lindsey Lis, 47, a 47-year-old Chicago teenage artist and mother, said she lifted her corporate indoor mask obligations at the end of last month. Something seems to be missing. If we finally get control of it, why not go back and test it instead of jumping in completely? “
In places like Florida and Texas, people live for months with few restrictions, if any, but now residents of cities that pay attention to Covid, such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco, are now. , The road after two years of uneasy vigilance.
Do I need to remove the mask in public? Will it offend others in supermarkets and gyms? I was worried about alienating and infecting vulnerable friends and family. Children who are too young to be vaccinated are now at increased risk of infection.
Some people said they felt whiplash as the Democratic mayor and governor, who once defended security as a public good, now seemed ready to turn the pandemic page. United States of America.
“We have created armor for this strategy to reduce communication, but it is difficult to remove it,” said Marcel Moran, an instructor at the University of California, Berkeley. The university has withdrawn the indoor requirement.
Moran was always happy to remove the mask because it was a hassle to give a three-hour lecture with the mask. Most of the 70 students said they were still wearing masks when they sat down to discuss city planning by opening classroom windows and doors. Open for ventilation.
Due to the height of the winter Omicron surge, new cases plummeted. The number of new cases has decreased from a peak of 800,000 to 36,000 per day, and the number of Covid-19 inpatients has increased. It’s down 75 percent.
In New York City, less than 700 new infections are reported daily, about 2 percent of the peaks of Omicron.
But as the country approaches the tough milestone of one million deaths, the pace of new vaccinations has slowed and has risen slightly since the beginning of the year. Currently, about 65% of Americans are fully vaccinated and children under the age of 5 are not yet eligible. Vaccination.
After so many false victories and deadly surges in the last two years, many are now only afraid to be vigilant and invite harmful new varieties to shatter hope again. said.
In interviews, Americans interested in relaxing restrictions feel like a sudden change, especially given the lasting threat that Covid-19 poses to the elderly, disabled, and people with weakened immunity. Said he was embarrassed.
“We really feel like we’re forced to die,” said Elizabeth Kestrel Rogers, a writer in Mountain View, California, with cystic fibrosis. I don’t care anymore. “
Rogers said she and many of her friends will continue to wear masks, with the intention that people with disabilities and those with weakened immunity will return to normal, even in the most cautious places. I was dissatisfied with the state’s little advice on how to confront what looks like a world.
“How do you get to work?” She asked. “How do you get groceries and basic supplies and see a doctor?”
Elected leaders are facing constant pressure to revoke virus restrictions from conservatives, with protests like truck convoys orbiting the Washington, DC beltway.
Currently, even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that about 98% of Americans live in areas where they no longer need to wear masks. Passengers are required to wear masks by plane, bus and public transport until at least April 18, the CDC states. On Thursday, it began reviewing guidelines for public transport masking.
As the obligation expires, polls show that Americans are still concerned about pandemics. More than half support masking and other restrictions to control the spread of the virus.
Mitigation has also plagued public health authorities such as Thomas LaVeist, Dean of Public Health at Tulane University, who also co-chairs the Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force in Louisiana.
“Everyone is exhausted. Everyone is exhausted. So is I,” he said recently. For me, I think the vaccine obligation and the mask obligation should be lifted. “
Other vigilant Americans said they felt safe to remove the mask, but were worried about offending or infecting friends and family.
“We haven’t learned yet,” said physician Dr. David Goldberg, 32, who said he and his wife took their one-year-old daughter Isabel to a walk in the neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia. Told.
Parents of children under the age of five who were not eligible for vaccination said they were left exposed because the restrictions had passed.
Dr. Goldberg said he is seriously concerned about the risk of Covid-19 to Isabelle, especially given the great amount of uncertainty about the long-term effects of the virus on children. Men said they were lined up in a grocery store. He complained that he was feeling sick.
“I’m hey, what are you doing?” Said Dr. Goldberg.
In New York City, where people still remember images of pandemic early ambulance waits and trailers of morgues outside the hospital, Eric Adams abolishes the mask obligations at school and restores people. In response to the mayor’s decision, peace of mind and worry were mixed in restaurants, gyms and indoor entertainment spaces without evidence of vaccination.
People living in Elmhurst, Queens were particularly wary of the Covid-19, which suffered the most damage early in the pandemic. 25-year-old Neha Shah said he was worried about his diabetic father and was trying to avoid crowds. Restaurants and cafes.
“I feel it’s for public security. It’s okay if they’re dropped,” Shah said.
For Emily Suardy, a barista at Furman’s Coffee in Brooklyn, the mask didn’t come off immediately. They made her work hot and uncomfortable in her little coffee shop, and given her and her colleagues, she was able to spend her daily life safely. Her friends and family were vaccinated.
She said she would hesitate to return to internal masking, even if the number of positive Covid-19 cases surged or another variant emerged, unless the city reinstated its mission.
“I’m really sick of it. If it’s not required, I wouldn’t use it,” Suadi said.
This was not the case with Patti LuPone, Broadway’s icon, one of New York’s best-known recovering Covid-19 patients.
LuPone said he had taken all precautions for two years, but when Omicron declined, she started going out and became a little slower about wearing a mask. Then, at the end of last month, she showed her positive before the performance. She had to leave Stephen Sondheim’s “company”, and the theater.
For 10 days, LuPone had to isolate a woman who had lunch alone in her apartment to deal with flu-like symptoms and fatigue.
“I don’t want to drink chicken soup again in my life,” she said. .. I was endangering others. “
She returned to the show last week and said it was encouraging to see the theater full of masked people again. Broadway spectators had to wear masks until at least April, and LuPone was worried about the consequences of reversing that rule.
“These theaters are small and these seats are very close,” she said.
Mitch Smith, Julia Hayward When Robert Chiarito Report that contributed.