As the vaccine rollout has become more widespread, most of us are looking forward to getting back to our normal routines. Still, many may be wondering: how “normal” will our post-COVID reality be? For most people, the light at the end of the tunnel is starting to shine- at least enough to spark some feelings of hope and optimism. Even for those of us who haven’t contracted COVID or had an otherwise personal connection to someone with the virus, the seemingly endless months indoors without our normal routines has carried a great deal of weight. Getting back to the “normalcy” of life without having to worry about the risk of getting sick, or accidentally infecting a family member is something many of us have been hoping for, for quite some time. Will life be completely back to normal, though?
Healthcare officials have been urging people to continue to wear their face masks after they’ve been vaccinated. It’s a small step, and although it’s likely the US and Canada won’t ever see masks as a social norm to the same extent as say, South Korea or Japan, the general population will continue to be much more cautious than in pre-COVID times. Prior to the pandemic, it would’ve been odd so see someone wear a mask in public, and if there’s any silver lining to the past year, it’s that public conscientiousness has never been higher. Even if one chooses not to wear a mask once this pandemic is stamped out, we’ll probably always be more aware of our hygiene habits. Whether it’s an increased focus on washing your hands, paying attention to who sneezed in public, or thoroughly wiping down the machine you’re using at the gym extra-throughly, life will likely never be completely “normal” again. And it’s not a bad thing. Remembering how much we sacrificed- socially, emotionally, or financially, during the pandemic is still a thought that’s fresh in for most of us. Though we shouldn’t linger on bad memories longer than we have to, the lessons learned from the pandemic should push us all to strive to do everything we can to prevent another. We can’t control everything, but what we can- we should.