With increased vaccine rollout and dropping rates of Covid cases, the once far-flung dream of normalcy is finally on the horizon. The reality is the “normal” we once knew died last March — it’s time to move forward into this new world forged by the pandemic as opposed to reverting to the way things were.
For however much we might like to wash away this period of time — erase it from our memories as if it was nothing but a bad dream — more than 500,000 Americans won’t have that luxury, and if nothing else, their lives should not be forgotten.
The increased amount of vaccines in arms is a powerful step in returning life to a semblance of comfort. Despite the very first glimpse of light at the end of the long and treacherous tunnel, the danger is still present and when the end is finally reached, the world outside won’t be the same as the one left behind in early 2020.
Just because a war has ended doesn’t mean it hasn’t left battle scars. The strain this pandemic has put on the bodies, the minds and the wallets of the world won’t be magically mended when enough vaccines are administered and the masks come off.
The scars of COVID-19 cut deep — the world might return to a general sense of comfort, but the ripple effects of this pandemic will likely continue for years to come.
After a traumatic event, no one is prepared to perfectly reassimilate to their everyday life and routines. It has been a year of constant stress as trauma has unfolded every single day without a moment’s reprieve to effectively process any of it.
The world’s collective mental state cannot be thrown into an emotional centrifuge and be expected to fully function exactly as it did. There needs to be time to rehabilitate the nation and the world, with an incredible focus on mental health.
Simply going back “to the way things were” would be a dangerous mistake. The way things were meant a world unprepared to combat a pandemic and is exactly how we got in this situation in the first place.
President Biden recently announced that the Fourth of July “will begin to mark our independence from this virus.” Keyword “begin” — a couple hotdogs and pretty fireworks display with a few good friends, unfortunately, won’t erase this past year. But hopefully, it will be the beginning of the end of this horrid virus and the start of healing and adapting to this brand new world.