The Path to Normality
By: Haanya Quadri
The COVID-19 pandemic has felt like an eternity to most high school students. Starting in mid-March 2020, the pandemic continues to rage on while students try to focus on classes and daily routines. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel: with COVID-19 cases consistently declining in Illinois and vaccines ready to be distributed, the school has once again opened up utilizing a hybrid program. Although the hybrid program attempts to allow students a sense of normality, it is far from a traditional pre-COVID school week. The questions on many students’ minds ring true with the rest of the country: when will things ever go back to normal, and what needs to happen in order to get there?
According to The Harvard Gazette, vaccines could pave the way for the continuation of normal, pre-COVID life. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says that if 75 to 80 percent of Americans get vaccinated within the coming months, we could possibly go back to normal by the end of 2021. This is made possible through a concept called herd immunity, in which people who are immune to the disease do not get sick, and therefore cannot pass it on to anyone else. However, if only 40 to 50 percent of people get vaccinated, fewer people will be immune to the virus, more people will spread the virus, and many more will get sick. Dr. Fauci states that in this latter scenario, it will take much longer to return to normal.
We as students can do plenty to help Dr. Fauci’s prediction come true. First, it is important to keep wearing masks around others. Masks will prevent further transmission of the virus while also protecting those who wear them. Additionally, social distancing is essential in the coming months. Because COVID particles can only travel so far, social distancing can help fewer people become sick. Students can also encourage people to get vaccinated, especially those who are already eligible to receive the vaccine.