Starting a new year doesn't mean losing precautions

By Murphy Obershaw, A&E Editor

Don’t be too ready to think that 2021 is going to be better than 2020.

Yes, I realize I am the person who wrote an opinion piece about the good things that were happening even when the country first shut down, but while I try to be an optimist, I am worried. Around New Year’s, people were ready to no longer be in 2020 because it was just a horrible year, but things are getting worse and have the potential to continue to get worse.

One of the biggest things that destroyed 2020’s good reputation was the coronavirus. And it hasn’t gone away yet.

You may be thinking, “But Murphy, there is a vaccine now.” Yes, there is. It’s a vaccine that is slowly making its way into the arms of people across the world.

But the sad reality of this is that once people get the vaccine, they may think, “I don’t need to wear a mask or social distance,” even though people can still get and/or transmit the virus to others if they aren’t taking those precautions. The vaccine is 95% effective, which means there is no guarantee that you won’t get it even though the odds are in your favor.

The vaccine, unfortunately, may make people disregard the safety recommendations. But people have also been ignoring them anyway, which is why there have been so many cases in the United States.

I can’t understand why some people don’t always follow the recommended precautions so they can help protect others and help us get past this virus. But I feel like a growing number of people just feel like they are done with all the stress and isolation, so they just act like they don’t care anymore. I think this problem started in 2020, and it will probably get worse in 2021.

With the new and more transmittable strain of COVID already in the United States, if we don’t clean up our act as a nation, we may have to shut down again. Not caring and doing whatever just perpetuates the problem instead of getting us closer to a solution.

And until COVID numbers actually start to drop significantly and stay low, the economy and job market are still going to be terrible. Instead of our graduating seniors joining the workforce after college and starting their adult lives, they will have to compete with all the other Americans who are currently unemployed and may need the money more than our graduating seniors.

Even Joe Biden, before he was president, said, “Our darkest days in the battle against COVID are ahead of us, not behind,” and we are still going through it.

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