Edwin Buggage Editor-in-Chief
Life In the New Normal
It’s been over a year where all of people’s lives around the world have changed because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Mask wearing, social distancing, sickness and unfortunately death has become the new normal.
Now it sees the tide is shifting because more people are getting vaccinated and CDC recommendations have been revised and more people are beginning to live life as if it were Pre-COVID. Going maskless and gathering in large groups outside of their pods, not knowing whether or not the person standing next to them are vaccinated.
Cautiously Back to Normal
In the City of New Orleans over the Memorial Day weekend, people were out and about both locals and tourist, as the City’s hotels was at 90% occupancy, they were enjoying life in a way that they hadn’t in some time.
Generations of families were able to gather for events. Any who have been suffering from the depression that isolation brings were out being social and trying to find a new normal. Some are still taking a hybrid approach to mask wearing, knowing that the honor’s system is something that cannot be completely trusted. In addition, many of the top authorities on the Pandemic, continues to stress we are not at herd immunity and the new guidelines apply to vaccinated individuals.
From Worse to First…. The Race to Herd Immunity
But in a society where there’s not been safeguards put in place where one would have to prove they are vaccinated; it can be reasonably argued that be default we have in some regard reached herd immunity. For those who actually wanted to get the vaccine many already have, and for those who are skeptical many of the incentives some are offering is not enough to get them to consider being vaccinated.
This for a place like New Orleans is a destination City could potentially be a recipe for worse days to come in the coming months with new strains of the virus that could possibly make its way into the City. Hopefully, this will not occur, but we must remember when the Pandemic first began, New Orleans recorded some of the highest numbers.
And it must be noted, that in spite of pressure from some in the business sector, Mayor LaToya Cantrell and her team followed the science and the number of cases dropped and today the City leads the state in the percentage of the population that are vaccinated. And in early March of this year, led the country in the percentage of people being vaccinated.
While restrictions have been loosened, it is important to note that the goal for the City is to get to 75-80% of citizens getting vaccinated. This is not the time to begin to celebrate that the Pandemic is over, and that people decide to live life as they did prior to the Pandemic.
Safety First…. People Wearing Masks and Other COVID-19 Protocols May Be with Us to Stay
In fact, because of the Pandemic, citizens should consider forming new habits based on some of the safety protocols that were put in place. Hand washing, using hand sanitizer, not putting hands in face near eyes and mouth, social distancing, etc. Even in workplaces, many of the things such as shields for some customer service workers should possibly continue.
These practices can in some ways help mitigate the potential of spreading the virus or other germs/illnesses to others. Before COVID-19, several would look at many international tourists, especially those from parts of Asia, wearing face coverings in public.
But much of this was normalized as a regular part of the street scene in parts of Asia after the deadly severe outbreak of Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that started in China in 2002 before spreading to Singapore and Taiwan over the following year. Today manufacturers in East Asia are pumping out 10 to 20 million units per month. Who would have thought that in the U.S. that many will not be taking off their mask for a while and others are considering when in certain instances to always mask up.
New Orleans Turning the Corner but Not Fully There Yet
The future is one that is uncertain, but it sees we are heading back to some sense of normalcy. Seeing the full face and the smile of grandma and to give her a big hug, or to “dap up” your friends or someone you have not seen in a long time. To “buckjump” at a second line, either tailgate or go to the game to cheer on the Saints, or to go to a full church to worship.
These are the things we live and breathe in the City of New Orleans. A place where people “work to live” and have a recipe for a full life that put enjoying life and people first. We are not fully back yet from the throes of COVID-19, but as more people get vaccinated and hopefully even more, so that the City can reach herd immunity, we can be truly unmasked, beginning a new chapter in one of the World’s Most Amazing Cities.