The pandemic is over – it’s time for government officials to catch up

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been one of the last resisters to post-COVID-19 normalcy. With the agency finally easing restrictions that have been outdated for more than a year now, state and local governments are expected to drop their last restrictions and return to normal.

The CDC no longer recommends quarantines for unvaccinated people exposed to COVID-19. The agency also removed quarantine and “test to stay” recommendations for children in schools. The infamous 6ft social distancing recommendation is also gone. Other recommendations no longer distinguish between vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

The CDC still has some masking and testing recommendations in place. Given his overly cautious tendencies, these could stay in place until the end of time. The agency had apparently been working on this change for months, and a co-author of the guide insisted that “the pandemic is not over.” But he also admitted that COVID-19 is “here to stay”. If quarantines and different advice for unvaccinated people are removed, then for all intents and purposes the pandemic is over. Government officials should start acting like this.

Instead, the restrictions remain in place. Vaccination requirements remain in place in the military, and California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, thinks it’s hypocritical to require certain vaccines for children but not the COVID-19 vaccine, even if children do not run a serious risk from COVID-19 as they are from measles and other diseases against which they must be vaccinated. Schools in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans are banning children from class unless they are vaccinated, and several other school systems still have testing, masking and quarantine requirements.

But COVID-19 vaccines have been readily available since 16 months now, and treatments have improved dramatically since the start of the pandemic. If COVID-19 is “here to stay”, then the government does not need to continue dictating how people, especially children, live their lives to deal with it. If people want to mask up, test, quarantine, or wrap themselves in bubble wrap, that’s their choice. The government should no longer be involved in this decision-making process.

Once it was clear that “two weeks to slow the spread” wasn’t working, the goal should have been to get back to normal in the safest and fastest way possible. Most people accepted this goal over a year ago. The few remaining government holdouts should join them.

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