Somewhat recently, social distancing guidelines and pandemic-related mandates have been either reduced or eliminated altogether. While this feels like great news, many individuals, especially those with young children, wonder if these changes mean that COVID-19 is really over.
Let’s examine the facts so that you can keep your family safe and healthy (mentally, emotionally, and physically) in response to the new norms.
Is COVID-19 Actually Over?
In short, no, the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over. However, guidelines and mandates are lifting because new infections are on a decline. While there are fewer new cases being reported than there were in the recent past, new cases are still occurring every day. Fewer people are being hospitalized, and fewer people are dying from COVID-19 complications, but that lower number is still not equal to zero.
Additionally, while the US is experiencing half as many cases as it did in the recent past, the decrease is not happening everywhere. In fact, some countries are experiencing an increase in new cases.
Changes in 2022
According to infectious disease experts, we can reasonably expect a lull in new cases as the weather warms up, but even educated predictions are only a reasonable guess when it comes to the future of COVID-19.
If past surges of infection are any indication as to how COVID numbers stand to change in the near future, there maybe six to eight months of relative decline before the next serious wave of infection occurs. The next possible wave is likely going to be more vaccine-resistant than past variants as well.
What does this mean, though? In the face of this sort of news, it can truly feel like three years of this pandemic is just the beginning of forever.
New Social Norms
Understandably, nobody wants to live in pandemic times for years to come. Human beings are naturally social, and most of us long to get back to a normal life.
During this decrease in new infections, safe compromises may be applicable. For example, you may choose to take your family out for a fun get-together you weren’t able to take part in last year. You can take safety precautions and still have a pleasant outing. Maintain social distancing when you can, wash your hands, and wear face coverings while you’re out.
This way, your family can enjoy themselves and avoid the negative effects of isolation while erring on the side of caution.
What to Focus on Now
Perhaps during this time of decreasing infections, it’s beneficial to turn your attention to repairing some of the mental and emotional damage the pandemic has done. While you and your family begin venturing out into enjoying life again, take care of each other and help build each other up as you embark upon new adventures.
It’s acceptable to be cautiously optimistic and hope that the number of new infections continues to decrease. However, to be proactive, it’s a good idea to monitor COVID-19 news updates. This way, when and if a new wave hits, you’ll be armed with the information you need to guide your family.
For now, enjoy the season with safety in mind.