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Taking a step back: will schools go back online?

Covid 19 tracker mapLauren McCloy, Staff Writer

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, several coronavirus strands have come and gone, SARS- CoV-2, continues to mutate and evolve. But, this November of 2021, a variant of the SARS- CoV-2 coronavirus emerged, named omicron by the World Health Organization. Omicron is definitely taking its toll, hospitals are filling up and people are getting sick. Covid numbers are spiking again daily just as schools are going back in session. And with the way things are going with Covid, will we end up taking steps backwards?

Back in 2020, the peak of the pandemic, masks were mandated, schools were online, places were closed. Though some say it isn’t effective, it’s a lot safer. Cities around the United States and countries around the world are going back to this, as well as adding in vaccination card requirements. Though omicron continues to be a bit of a mystery to the common eye, scientists are running tests and experimenting with ways to help us fight against this strain. Experts say the variant could lead to long term Covid, even with a mild case. Patients with long-term symptoms can experience fatigue, irregular heart rhythms, etc. months after their initial Covid infection. The omicron variant likely will spread more easily, especially in a school building with 2000 kids with no masks or social distancing. Though it may seem like nothing now, especially in Florida, the numbers are spiking again.

With over 57 million cases in the United States alone, when will this pandemic end? We seem to be asking this question daily. But after multiple conversations with multiple people, I can tell who is going to be masking up in the new year. The booster shot is available to everyone 12 years and older, and masks are quite literally $5 on Amazon. If you don’t want to take steps backwards and go back to that spot of March 2020, think smarter! Prevent the spread.

The CDC recommends that everyone 5 years and older protect themselves from COVID-19 by getting fully vaccinated, so if you are reading this, get vaccinated! Take proper precautions and be safe!