The Pandemic Reaches a New Phase of Uncertainty

Emma Schifferl, Staff Writer

COVID-19 has brought about stressful times for billions of people worldwide. Whether it’s been seeing friends at a distance, not being able to attend school or a job, or wearing a mask everywhere that we go, COVID-19 has changed how we live. However, after almost a year of living in a pandemic, and with new vaccines coming out, there is still a lot of new information coming out.

Many people see a light at the end of the tunnel, but it now appears that the virus is mutating. In the past few weeks, several new strains have been reported. These include the strains from the United Kingdom, Brazil, and South Africa, which have become more prevalent. Some studies have also shown vaccines not working well against the new strains. There is real concern, especially since millions of people have begun to receive those vaccines. Many countries are also having issues with the amount of vaccine available and the difficulty of administering it. For example, with more than 30 million Americans having received the first dose and more than 6 million fully vaccinated, the United States is still not even close to herd immunity.

As new information about the variants comes out, many have been wondering about masks. Multiple studies suggest that wearing both a surgical mask and a cloth mask could work better than simply one. Some also wonder how far into the future masks will have to continue. Since no one knows when the coronavirus will go away, and some experts suggest that it will probably never go away entirely, people should be prepared to wear masks for quite a while.