Mask mandate lifting: end of an era, or beginning of a new one?

Does anyone else feel like things have been in constant motion, and yet at a complete standstill for the last two years? This pandemic continues to feel like it will never end.

People are continuing to get vaccinated and boostered against COVID-19, but the rules are constantly changing. As we inch our way to feeling protected against this virus, Donkey Kong throws another barrel. Just one more obstacle to overcome.

A few months ago, officials said we need to double mask or wear N-95’s to provide the most protection. We have heard how transmissible and “cold-like” the new Omicron variant is. So why now
are we hearing that masks are no longer needed?

California Governor, Gavin Newsom, announced that the indoor mask mandate would be lifted as of Feb. 15.

In a tweet, Newsom summarized that the surge of cases has peaked and is currently at 65% and that hospitalization rates are down. This prompted California state officials to drop the mask mandates for vaccinated individuals. Unvaccinated people still have to wear masks indoors. But how are places going to be keeping track of that? Are they going to start mandating that every place checks COVID-19 vaccination cards?

Some think that the reason for the statewide mandate being lifted so early and suddenly is due to Newsoms own hypocrisy. Newsom was seen at Super Bowl LVI Feb. 13 maskless among many other high profile celebrities. Or the fact that with the primary elections coming up in California, Newsom may be trying to appeal to a greater audience. Either way, I certainly feel that it’s premature to end the indoor mask mandate after just announcing the peak going down.

As for California counties, local governments are handling individual cities differently. Some are continuing to mandate masks, and others felt like the mandate was never in place to begin with, so what really changed?

Personally, working in dining on campus, and attending in person classes and events, I am glad that Cal Poly Humboldt has decided students continue to the indoor mask mandate.

In an article by the National Public Radio just a month ago, Dr. Fauci discusses COVID-19’s possible status change from “pandemic” to “endemic” in the future. An “endemic” is the same virus status as the flu, doesn’t go away, you get a yearly shot, we move on.

But is it too soon to tell if we are at that point yet? Is this the beginning of another surge, or are we really starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel?

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