The US is too eager for the old norm

By Conny Chavez, April 12, 2021

Tears rushed to my eyes, blurring my vision as my father was placed into the back of the ambulance. The day after Christmas, my entire family and I had tested positive for COVID-19 and my father was having difficulty breathing and in a constant state of confusion. Never, in a million years, would I have thought I would see one of my parents placed into the back of an ambulance. 

The daunting feeling of not knowing if my father would receive the proper medical attention from the paramedics, who did not speak Spanish, if they would transport him to the hospital on time or if I would ever get to see my father alive again was overpowering. 

Though I am grateful that the U.S. is distributing COVID vaccines, it is extremely unsettling to see that some states are eager to rush back to what was once “the norm” without taking into consideration any safety precautions.   

A week after my father returned home from the hospital, I once again found myself calling for an ambulance as my oldest brother had a deadly high fever of 106°F. Watching how COVID-19 nearly took my oldest brother and seeing the plastic tubes in my parents’ nostrils as both my parents eventually relied on oxygen machines to breath tore my spirit. I later fell into depression when my uncle, who had texted me words of encouragement throughout my sickness, passed away from COVID-19 on Jan. 26. 

It is infuriating to see that 20 states are nearly fully open and no longer have any mask requirements nor other safety guidelines suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to stop the spread of COVID.  

It is even more disturbing to see some states have been fully reopened with no mask requirements such as Florida, which has reported over 39,000 new cases in the last seven days, according to CDC records, and only an 18% full vaccination rate. It is outrageous that even with low vaccination numbers, these states have decided to fully reopen because they are more worried about the economy than the safety of its citizens. 

Not only does COVID affect you physically, but it takes a mental and emotional toll that calls for a great amount of time to recover. Never would I wish for anyone to experience what my family and I experienced this winter. This is why I truly wish not only politicians, but all Americans, would take this pandemic seriously. 

I appreciate that the majority of the U.S. is taking a slower approach to reopen, but it is still scary to see people gathering without masks and hearing others say they won’t get vaccinated. 

We can live without visiting best friends for a few weeks, we can live without visiting Disneyland, but most importantly, we won’t ever go back to “the norm” if people do not take proper safety precautions and get vaccinated. 

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