Surely many Americans would never have guessed the last two years could have occurred.
Between then and now — to quote Jerry Reed’s “East Bound and Down” — we had a “long way to go and a short time to get there.” But we made it. And in the end, there was definitely a bandit. Stolen: our freedom of personal choice.
In impressively quick fashion, we went from a nation of people walking wherever we pleased, smiling at one another, to a land of shut-ins who hid our faces and didn’t dare get near each other in line on the sidewalk.
Moreover, we became a group hundreds-of-millions strong willing to do that for two years.
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Finally, our period of forced precaution is coming to an end. Or is it?
There’s certainly solid reason to surmise we’re moving on. On Thursday, for instance, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced an undoing of the state’s mask mandate.
And when Washington — a very blue state — says human likeness will again be unveiled, it’s a major sign.
Its left-wing credentials are considerable. The union’s northwestern-most member was host to 2020’s iconic CHAZ — or Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone — which then gave way to the more toxically-masculine-sounding CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest).
Other newsworthy Washington waves:
As reported by The Associated Press, Washingtonians’ freedom of the face beginning March 21st will apply to “most places,” including childcare facilities and schools.
Furthermore, as of March 1st, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test will be lifted for large events.
But how much of a change is it, really?
Evidently, the catalyst is a calculation:
Inslee said that the late March date to lift the mask mandate is based on hospital admission projections. During Thursday’s news conference, he showed a chart that shows hospitalizations for COVID-19 are about 20 per 100,000 people. His goal is to get that number down to five, which is when he said hospitals can return to more normal operations.
“To those who think maybe it should end earlier, all I can tell you is we lost 1,000 people in January to this disease,” Jay said. “And when we make decisions, it seems to me we ought to have a recognition of how dangerous and deadly this disease still is after this period of time.”
Were those deaths actually due to the virus? It’s a question for the entire pandemic, and an answer won’t come easy if at all.
Last month, Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked CDC Director Rochelle Walenski, “How many of the 836,000 deaths in the U.S. linked to COVID are from COVID, or how many are with COVID but they had other co-morbidities? Do you have that breakdown?”
She responded as though something wholly different had been inquired:
“Yes, of course, with Omicron we’re following that very carefully. Our death registry takes a few weeks to collect, and Omicron has been with us for just a few weeks. But those data will be forthcoming.”
It seems to me we haven’t returned to normal so long as mask mandates are based on case numbers. For as long as that’s the hinge pin, what’s likely to happen when cases trend upward? What about winter? What about the flu? If we’ve turned a corner to the effect that, for the rest of the country’s existence, people will be forced to mask when germs rally, that’s quite a corner indeed.
Back to Washington, not everyone’s off the hook where face-covers are concerned.
The shrouds will still be required in prisons, jails, taxis, rideshare vehicles, on school buses, and at healthcare facilities.
Will pre-COVID America ever come back? Surely if some in charge have their way, never getting back to normal…will be our new normal.
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