Frontline healthcare workers

Frontline healthcare workers check information at a COVID-19 testing site in El Paso, Texas, on Nov. 13, 2020.

March marks the one-year anniversary of quarantine life in America due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and there are still millions of cases throughout the world almost a year later and the only way to get rid of this virus is to go into national lockdown and make stricter regulations that are enforced more.

North Carolina went into a state-wide Stay-at-Home Executive Order for only a few months last spring and then businesses, gyms and other establishments slowly started to open back up through phases while cases continued to rise. Today, masks and social-distancing are still part of America’s society, but what if those regulations were still enforced while we went into a national lockdown?

Some people say the way we live currently is the “new normal,” which in some ways is a positive way of living. Individuals all over the world have become more sanitary and safe as they have taken various extra safety precautions due to COVID-19. I think back to the way people lived pre-pandemic and it blows my mind how unsanitary we all were.

Why did we stand so close to each other in airports or in grocery stores pre-pandemic? Why did teenagers or young adults go to parties and gatherings when there were hundreds of complete strangers there?

Although there were more enjoyable things to do when COVID-19 was not present, like going to sports games or to the movies, we should continue to incorporate COVID-19 precautions even when the virus goes away. If we go into lockdown, we will be able to do the enjoyable activities we want to do sooner.

I do want the pandemic to end sooner rather than later. I really hope it does not affect my whole college experience. I think that the only way COVID-19 will end is if we, as a country, go into a national lockdown. While a national lockdown will not be very beneficial for the economy, the general public’s health is more important than the economy. If the number of cases can be controlled, everyone can get back to the way they lived their lives before the pandemic.

The COVID-19 vaccine has recently been distributed amongst individuals, some of which include healthcare workers and the elderly, and in the coming months, it will hopefully become available to everyone. Hopefully, having more people vaccinated will help control the COVID-19 rates. Will the vaccine make all restrictions and regulations be lifted? No. Keep in mind, not everyone will take the vaccine and people don’t yet know the long-term effects of the vaccines.

It is to my knowledge that not a lot of people know every guideline that is in place. My friends have been guilty of asking “is the curfew still in effect?” or “how many people are we allowed to have in one sitting?” or “will we have to start wearing two or three face masks at a time due to the new variants?”

As a college student, I see through social media posts that quite a number of people are still going out to parties or other social gatherings. It amazes me that people will go to these gatherings with more than 50 mask-less people mid-pandemic. There should be more law enforcement acted upon those individuals who chose not to social distance and not wear masks. The COVID-19 regulations need to be stricter and enforced more.

There are new COVID-19 cases which arise everyday not only in America, but also throughout the world. There have also been new variants of COVID-19 that have broken out since last March, such as SARS-CoV-2, which means the virus isn’t getting any better and isn’t going away anytime soon.

This is why a national lockdown should be put in place. If individuals, like myself, want to go out without having to wear a mask, they need to follow the protocols that should be enforced more. If people can’t follow and enforce the regulations, then a national lockdown needs to happen, because we, as a country, will end up getting a lot worse than better if we don’t.

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