The Road to Normal

The Road to Normal

Jenna Skanberg

Nearly a year has passed since COVID-19 infections prompted the United States to go on lockdown. After such a long time of physical isolation, many Americans are now itching to return to their normal activities. Recent vaccines and a downward trend in COVID cases seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel, and most people now wonder how quickly the United States can return to normalcy. While much could change in the upcoming weeks, recent events and research lead many people to anticipate the reopening of the country. Through the collaborative efforts of the American public and advancements in disease-prevention technology, there may be an end in sight.




Vaccination is now the most efficient, and most effective, way of ending the pandemic in the United States. In the past few months, three different brands of vaccine have been approved in the United States. Most health experts agree that, if about 75-80% of the population is vaccinated, the virus will most likely die out (Flaherty and Haslett). It’s quite simple. If everyone is immune from the virus, the virus has no one to infect, and it is unable to survive or pass on to other individuals. 


Hope for these vaccines is supported by recent observations. An Iraeli study compared the rate of transmission between vaccinated and unvaccinated people. While the study has yet to be peer-reviewed, it appears as though the Pfizer vaccine is 89% effective at preventing infection and 99% effective at preventing death. In particular, the amount of disease prevention is exciting because it suggests that vaccinated individuals cannot be asymptomatic carriers of the virus (Kresge and Gale). The vaccines work, and they work better than anyone could have hoped. If the majority of people get vaccinated in the next few weeks, they will make a significant step towards ending the pandemic.


Right now, it is important for everyone to vaccinate before the virus has the chance to develop new mutations – such as the highly infectious ones from Europe and Africa. If the virus is allowed to survive for too long, it could mutate into a form which is unaffected by the current vaccines, and scientists would have to restart vaccine production. Therefore, insufficient vaccination at this time will likely result in an extended period of social distancing regulations.


Reopening Plans In Illinois:


Because the entire state met the qualification of a less than 6.5% positivity rate for more than two weeks. Illinois has recently been able to move into “stage four” of its reopening plans. Widespread vaccination, combined with masks and social distance, has already allowed Illinois to open up some facilities. In stage 4, restaurants and bars can operate with indoor dining – as long as customers are 6 feet apart and a capacity limit is upheld. Movie theatres, zoos, hotels, and other businesses are allowed to operate in a similar manner (Price). Some safety measures are still in place in order to keep infection rate low, but for the first time in months, people may soon feel comfortable leaving their homes. If Illinoians work collaboratively, following safety guidelines for just a little while longer, it is predicted that people can soon return to their normal lives.


Remaining Cautious:


While everyone is hopeful for future improvements, it is so important to not become careless. Essentially, the recent decline is COVID cases is not an excuse to reopen everything-without restrictions. Mask wearing still remains a vital aspect of preventing COVID infections – especially as the virus mutates into unfamiliar forms. In addition, people should be cautious of large crowds. The virus has only declined in the United States, not disappeared entirely. Even after someone has been vaccinated, it is recommended that they continue to wear a mask.


Maintaining health guidelines while the pandemic improves in the united states is vital; it will ensured that all of this progress is not reversed. For now, and possibly months from now, people should enjoy the reopening of certain businesses and events while wearing masks and reducing viral spread. In the long run, it will be so beneficial.