The World Health Organization has ended the global emergency status for COVID-19 a couple of weeks ago, more than three years after its original declaration. This means countries should now manage the virus along with other infectious diseases, after three years of emergency footing, where during that time, the coronavirus managed to stop the global economy in its tracks and kill more than 6.9 million people.
This declaration was a long time coming, as much of the world had already been opening up and easing restrictions for quite some time. Whether we were ready or not, we had to live with COVID, and because of the immunity that we had built up, primarily because of the massive global vaccination effort, coupled with the natural immunity others gained from being infected, being hit with the current dominant strain is no longer as scary as it was before.
However, despite the end of the global emergency status and infections becoming less dangerous, a lot of us tend to forget that for the unlucky, COVID can still wreak havoc and even kill, and because of that, precautions and measures still have to be taken in order to avoid infections.
Most of us must’ve noticed the irony that infections are surging again, just when the WHO made its declaration. The country’s positivity rate is almost at 25 percent already, according to OCTA Research, which means 25 percent of all those who tested for COVID are returning positive results. Note that is just for those who are tested, and we all know that almost nobody gets officially tested anymore, as the people we know who have been testing positive are doing home antigen tests that government doesn’t track.
Despite all this positivity, we are sticking to our guns and pushing through with most activities. My daughter had her PE dance presentation last week, with half of the school and the children’s parents, present at the university coliseum. Before that, they held multiple practice sessions for their dance, and all these events pushed through, even if there were kids who were feeling a little unwell. A few months ago, such events would’ve been outright cancelled, no questions asked. My daughter wanted to wear a mask during her dance presentation, and I told her that she should if she felt unsafe. However, she didn’t push through with it due to peer pressure… none of her classmates wore one and she would’ve been the wierdo if she did.
Lined up in our social/academic calendar for the next few weeks are a Junior’s Prom night, and a Senior High School graduation ceremony, both of which I don’t think will be cancelled anymore, even if the positivity rate hits 30 percent, even if a few participants test positive just before those events, because we are all living with COVID now.
School activities are ramping up, work conferences, meetings and even team building activities too. Parties, gatherings, and revenge travel is so March 2023. It would seem that everybody is no longer afraid, even if a close contact reports having tested positive. Heck, even people who know they are positive don’t stay at home anymore because it is apparently harmless now, and everybody does it anyway. After all, most of the people who do get infected only have mild symptoms these days, and it seems that nobody we know has been sent to the ICU or the morgue anymore.
The global emergency status has been lifted. Most people are no longer wearing masks. We are simply going to have to deal with COVID along with other infectious diseases, like the common flu, dengue, or gonorrhea: Protect yourself, mind your own business, don’t be a downer, assume the worst when it comes to people you don’t know.
As for me, I’m just going to keep wearing a mask when indoors, especially if it’s an airconditioned or poorly ventilated space with lots of people. I’m also going to be judgey and stay away from people who look and sound sick. I’ll also have to make sure my vax shots are updated, especially when the new ones come out. All these little things will mean life is going to be a bit more hassle than just letting loose and living my best post-COVID life, but we didn’t survive a pandemic for nothing.
However, if there is one good thing to come out from this pandemic, for me it would be retaining the right to not show up to any shindig just because “it doesn’t feel right.” I’m not sure how long we can still use, as its shelf life as a valid excuse among friends, family, work and school seems to be expiring, especially after all the “normalness” that everyone has been enjoying these days, but I’m going to keep using it for as long as I can.*