Northwest Missourian Opinion

It was a little over a year ago that the United States went into lockdown as the coronavirus pandemic swept through the states. There is a drastic difference this March as we see businesses and schools start to open up again.

There were a lot of restrictions and rules put in place in the states to protect people from the pandemic. Now, one year later, states such as Missouri are lifting restrictions..

Some states are completely ending restrictions such as Texas. Texas governor Greg Abbott announced that it is time to open up the state “100 percent.”

However, the pandemic isn’t over yet.

Cities and counties across Missouri are loosening restrictions, such as early bar and restaurant closing hours. Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas recently lifted the restriction on event sizes, with social distancing still being required for events, no matter how many people attend. 

Although limitations due to the virus are being cut back on, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommend wearing masks and are now recommending two masks because of new strains of the virus.

Mask wearing is great and all, but it’s a bit confusing because there was no statewide mask mandate, so every county and city had to decide for themselves, which led to some places implementing them late or not at all.

Maryville passed a mask ordinance last year that went into effect in July and was later extended through Nov. 24 of last year, and Northwest continues to encourage students to wear masks at school.

Although the number of COVID-19 cases in Missouri are currently far from what we saw in the fall or early on in the pandemic, we are still not out the woods yet. We need to make sure that a majority of the population is vaccinated before we can worry about returning to “normal.”

As of March 1, Missouri added 275 new cases, bringing the total up to 517,000 cases. Only 8.7% of the state’s population has received the first dose of the vaccine. This is a stark contrast compared to other states like Texas that added 8,000 new cases as of March 1. 

It’s a bad idea to try and push for business as usual, especially when we are only now planning to start getting other people, such as teachers, vaccinated when schools have been open for a few months already. 

Even if people are being vaccinated, it’s important to keep cases low so that we don’t start seeing spikes again and to help out healthcare workers who have been constantly working during the pandemic.

The main goal of vaccinations is to achieve herd immunity, which is when a large portion of the population is immune to a disease. Having lots of people with immunity means that the spread of the disease will lessen.

Virus mitigation rules and restrictions were bad to begin with, and now it feels like the state is throwing in the towel, completely giving up on mitigating the virus even though it isn’t gone.

Coronavirus cases in the state may be low, but we should continue to mitigate the virus as much as we can. I want to go out and live my life like before the pandemic, but I also know that we can’t ignore it when we are getting close to the finish line.

The state shouldn’t be giving up on mitigation before the pandemic is even over. 

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