Summer plans require personal responsibility as COVID-19 lingers

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As the anticipation for the semester’s end increases, and you purchase tickets to carnivals, music festivals, movies and more, you still need to do what is best for your health and the health of those around you. 

By Angelina Padilla-Tompkins, Columnist

It’s been over two years since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and everyone is ready for it to be over. The weather is getting warmer, more events are being held, restaurants are opening back up and many mask mandates have been dropped. People are ready to finally enjoy summer without COVID-19.

Unfortunately, this is wishful thinking. We still have a long way to go. The goal is to get COVID-19 rates low enough that it doesn’t affect our population, economy, or social lives, Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a Jan. 14 news conference. 

Public health administrator Lisa Gonzalez at the DeKalb County Health Department said while cases are down overall, they are still seeing increases due to the Omicron variant.  

“If we compare this week to last week, we’re seeing about a 25% increase in overall cases,”  Gonzalez said. 

Even though we are seeing an increase in cases across the state, there is little worry of another round of shutdown taking place as the number of hospitalizations has significantly decreased.

“They’re saying currently about 86% of the cases that are testing positive are the new stealth Omicron variant,” Gonzalez said. “We are not seeing increases in hospitalizations which is a really good thing.”

With the start of schools letting out for the summer, the snow finally melting away, proceed with caution as you begin planning your summer trips and events. As you’ve heard before, wash your hands, wear a mask when it’s needed, and stay home when you’re sick. 

“Personal responsibility is where we’re focusing right now,” Gonzalez said. “For those who are at risk for complications, we encourage them to remain vigilant in protecting themselves. Taking that personal responsibility for reducing their own risk.” 

While rates are down overall, there is no denying they are trending upward with the national daily average being just over 31,000 cases, as reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Junior health and human science general major, Sharonda Nixon, is keeping COVID-19 in mind while heading into the warmer months. 

“I am going downtown (Chicago) to the SHEDD aquarium, museum of science, and Vegas for my birthday,” Nixon said. “Of course, I will be wearing my mask in enclosed spaces, keep my distance if I do have my mask down, hand sanitizer, and stay home if I am sick.”

As the anticipation for the semester’s end increases, and you purchase tickets to carnivals, music festivals, movies and more, you still need to do what is best for your health and the health of those around you.