While we spent last summer social distancing and avoiding large gatherings, this summer we are now able to gather once again thanks to the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine.
As restaurants, gyms, offices, camps, beaches and other outdoor spaces fully reopen, we are beginning to approach some level of normalcy in our daily lives.
Still, there are some who may feel hesitant to return to regular activities. We must all create our own path to feeling safe and normal again.
There may be family members or friends who have suffered from stress and anxiety during the pandemic. They may have lost a loved one or friend to COVID-19 or may have been ill themselves. As a result, this return to normalcy may be difficult for them. Keep in mind that their reaction is normal considering not only their personal experiences, but also the collective trauma we have all experienced over the past 18-plus months.
Reach out to your friends and family and provide them with the support they need to feel secure during this time.
It’s important to remember that being vaccinated plays a vital role in getting us back to a more normal way of life. The pandemic is not yet over, and dangerous variants of the virus continue to circulate, as does the original strain of the virus. While the vaccine does not offer 100% protection, it remains highly effective against COVID-19 and the current variants. Being fully vaccinated will help protect you, your loved ones, and your community.
And remember, even though things are returning to a sense of normalcy, we should still follow guidance provided by public health agencies.
We also must continue to thank our essential workers, healthcare workers, and public safety workers who remain on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19. What they have done since the pandemic began is nothing short of amazing, and we cannot lose sight of their sacrifices and all they endured and still must face.
This war against this deadly pandemic is not over yet, but with the cooperation of all Americans we can continue to fight to return to healthy and happy lives.
Ronald G. Rios is the director of the Middlesex County Commissioner. He submits the occasional column to Newspaper Media Group.