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Staff Editorial: Now is not the time for complacency

HN Hoffmann

It’s been almost a year since the United States and the Washington University community shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, three vaccines have emerged and show promising prevention for contracting the virus. Furthermore, we’re a little bit deeper into the semester now and the weather is warming up, all of which together makes it easy to let our guards down when it comes to the COVID-19 virus. It’s important to note that even with the countrywide vaccination program in place and the decreased number of cases, the pandemic has not yet gone away, and we still must act accordingly.

The choices we make now, although they may come with a sacrifice to our social lives, are comparably beneficial to us in the long term. For instance, traveling what seems to be a short distance via a small weekend trip may seem harmless. However, partaking in such a road trip has the potential to bring the virus from our campus to the rest of the world, or vice versa. It is important to look at the long-term picture of not only our individual health but the health of the community.

Additionally, continuing to indulge in these instant gratification activities would mean that many of the activities that we’ve been looking forward to returning would continue to be delayed. Things like going to a concert, celebrating a loved one’s wedding and this year’s commencement would become less and less likely to happen. All of the progress that we’ve made to this point can be undone—especially given the fact that there are new strains of the virus—if we choose to act as though the pandemic is over.

In addition, it’s important to remember that just because more people are getting the vaccine, does not mean that it is okay to take a break from our efforts. Even if you are vaccinated, you still have the potential to carry and spread the virus without it impacting your health, but potentially being detrimental to the health of others. Furthermore, it is not fully known how the current vaccines will hold up against new strains. Staying vigilant and diligent in our efforts to be mindful of the health of our community despite having the vaccine is important to ensuring the long-term gain for not only ourselves but also society at large.

With the warmer weather, it is now much more accessible to continue socially-distanced hangouts with your friends outdoors. Consider studying or having a picnic in Forest Park, playing non-contact sports like badminton and tennis, going on hikes or visiting sculpture parks including Laumeier Sculpture Park and Citygarden Sculpture Park.

There’s one more Wellness Day to look forward to in April, and although it is possible that many more members of the Wash. U. community will be vaccinated by then, it’s nonetheless important to continue taking the pandemic seriously. No more missed graduations and celebrations. Wash. U., let’s stay diligent in our efforts to keep our communities safe.

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