By Shohom Chakraborty
During the past few months, schools, businesses and workplaces all over the nation have been inching closer to pre-pandemic normalcy than ever before. Mask mandates are being lifted, COVID-19 vaccinations are being carried out across the country and general pandemic restrictions are becoming looser. Cases have yet again been on the rise across the United States. With the healthcare system under immense pressure, it is becoming increasingly unclear what the future will hold for the COVID-19 pandemic.
The recent surge in coronavirus cases is prompting many schools to reimpose mask mandates, since the risk of community transmission has increased across the nation. According to experts, the current surge in cases and the threat of a new wave may be attributed to a combination of several factors, including the gradual reduction of vaccine immunity, the rise of new and more transmissible sub-variants, as well as the relaxed pandemic guidelines.
Source by Sam Tsui
Vaccine immunity gradually decreases over time as coronavirus continues to play a prevalent role in daily life.
In spite of the recent rise of coronavirus cases, much of the general public still believes that the pandemic is coming to an end. According to a survey conducted by Axios, about one in three Americans believe that the pandemic is over. The results from the survey indicate the nonchalance that people are starting to feel towards the pandemic itself. This applies to many students at NHP as well, including those who have previously been infected and are now at risk of re-infection.
"I first contracted COVID-19 six months ago during winter break, but with this recent coronavirus surge I'm now at risk of catching it a second time. However, I am not extremely concerned because I have acknowledged the fact that, despite my prior infection, there has always been a chance of me getting it again," eighth grader Jackson Kang said.
Other students in the school are also unconcerned about getting infected due to the steps they are taking to protect themselves and others during this coronavirus surge.
“My entire family, at one point, had contracted COVID-19. Despite this, I am not scared of getting COVID with this new rise in cases, since I am taking multiple precautions to avoid infection at any cost,” eighth grader Sitatafeef Islam said.
The results of the nationwide poll also indicate that about 32% of those surveyed were most concerned about spreading the virus to those who are at a higher risk, such as senior citizens. This reflects that protecting the most vulnerable members of the population during this pandemic is a top priority for many Americans, including some students at New Hyde Park.
"Although I've never contracted COVID, I'm not scared about getting the virus itself because it would very likely give me only mild symptoms," junior Paul Wang said. "I will continue wearing a mask, however, so that I can protect my grandmother at home. My concern is that most others no longer wear their masks despite the surge, but I understand we still need to get back to normal at some point."
Amidst this dire situation, the nation is taking crucial steps to combat the spread of the virus, especially amongst those at the highest risk. According to the FDA, Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine booster had just recently been authorized for children aged five to 11. This new expansion of vaccine eligibility will help reduce the spread of the virus among very young children, protecting them from any severe consequences from contracting it. As society returns back to a state of normalcy, these updated vaccine guidelines will also help decrease the risk of older and more susceptible people contracting coronavirus and developing more severe, long-term symptoms.
Regardless, NHP is continuing to remain cautious about protecting its students and staff from this virus. The public is encouraged to continue practicing safe and healthy habits to help the nation swiftly recover from this pandemic.