Is COVID-19 Almost Over?


Christopher Oliver, Staff Writer

It seems as if COVID-19 is coming to its end. On January 31, 2022, the FDA approved the Moderna COVID vaccine, and since the vaccine was approved, COVID cases in Riverside County have been steadily declining. January had one of the county’s worst amounts of COVID cases since July 8th of 2021, which almost instantly started decreasing throughout February and March. For Santiago High School, it has been almost a month since the mask mandate was removed in March. Students can decide whether or not they will wear masks inside their teacher’s classrooms.  With this in mind, it would seem that COVID-19 is finally going away. While the changes have been welcomed so far, will removing mask mandates do any good for preventing more cases?


Lifting the mask mandate has caused quite a bit of controversy from the public and especially the CDC, who claim that lifting the mask mandates in schools was premature. This is because of the newest form of COVID-19 known as Omnicron.

Omnicron so far is the most easily spreadable variant of all other variants of COVID-19. The symptoms expected by Omnicron are identical to other variants of COVID, and the severity of such symptoms can be altered by vaccination, health conditions, and age. However, if the variant is so spreadable, why were mask mandates lifted in the first place? Well, while in contact with Omnicron, the illness produces less severe diseases than other variants. There are already tools that can fight back against Omnicrn, making it much less hazardous thanks to the COVID vaccine. Based on a country-level-assessment, the CDC eased its mask mandate conditions. Students are allowed to decide for themselves if they want to wear masks in their classrooms or not, which would possibly mean in the near future the public will feel safe without a mask once again.


There are other issues with these mentalities and decisions, as Dr. Meyer, a Yale infectious disease expert, claims It is much more objective and based on case rates, hospitalizations related to COVID, and hospital capacity,” which signifies that some areas may be in higher risk than others. The CDC uses masking guidance to determine if a county is a low risk, medium risk, or high risk; Everyone is eager to take their masks off as they should; Dr. Meyer also says that at this point “people are tired of being told what to do. I think that frustrates people.”  Those areas at high risk are the ones most recommended to wear masks, as they are the most likely to get infected with any of the variants in their vicinity.

So what should the general public be aware of? They should know that COVID-19 is still going to last for a while longer, even if things seem to be dying down. While this is certainly the case, the averages for people infected with COVID have gone down, it could just as easily go right back up. There could be a new variant tomorrow, or there could be a spike in COVID cases in just the blink of an eye. Whether a good decision or a horrible one, the population is now allowed to take the mask mandate into their own hands, and hopefully this decision will be rewarded, instead of punished.