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A Guide to the Next Normal

Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD, Campus Public Health Officer

Can I make a bonfire with my masks?

No. Keep your masks because:
  1. Burning them would be bad for the environment, and
  2. There is no guarantee that we’re done with COVID-19 yet. Please see President Gabel's latest message on campus masking requirements.
Masking isn’t an on/off proposition. Some people―people with weakened immune systems, with young unvaccinated children, with medical conditions that might make them vulnerable to a more severe course of the virus, with elderly relatives—will need or want to continue to be masked. We cannot leave people behind in our hurry to leave the pandemic behind.

It will help all of us if we allow others to make their personal choice on masking without judgment and support people who need additional protection (even if we do not). If you want more information to make your decisions about when and where to mask, this is a useful article.

Lastly, mask-wearing is now normalized in the U.S. We should consider, as is common elsewhere in the world, wearing a mask out of courtesy to others if we are sick with a respiratory illness.

Why is long COVID a big deal?

  1. If you have it, you already know.
  2. If you haven’t been affected by long COVID, you are fortunate. You should know that the U.S. Government Accountability Office says that by some estimates 7.7–23 million people in our country are. This article describes how it impacts people who have it and how we, as a society, will be changed by this condition.

What’s next?

I strongly recommend that you read, or at least browse, “Getting to and Sustaining the Next Normal: A Roadmap for Living with Covid,” created by a phenomenal group of public health, science, and policy experts. It is a large document, but extremely readable and packed with useful information for everyday life as well as a national way forward.

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