By: Michelle Young, News Editor
BC is bolting into its reopening plan. At stage three, we can have personal gatherings, organized gatherings at half capacity, and national travel. BC only has 52% of the population fully vaccinated. With concerns surrounding the delta variant, we still need to be cautious and continue to integrate pandemic guidelines such as masking, distancing, and being mindful of ventilation.
While the large majority have received their first dose, they still have about a 20–50% chance of contracting the original strain of COVID-19. It is still unknown how vaccines will protect against variants; the delta variant has already infected fully vaccinated individuals. With findings showing it is the most contagious among all the variants — spreading during the early stages of infection and potentially taking up to four days to detect — I’m not sure why there isn’t more concern. Emphasis on vaccinations also disregards those who are unable to be vaccinated due to underlying medical conditions.
COVID-19 cases are declining in BC; however, some aren’t considering that the pandemic is still ongoing. There was a huge street party on Commercial Drive following the Italy win of Euro 2020 — where people were crammed together and largely unmasked. I’m not sure how so many people could have ever thought it would be a good idea to gather so unsafely.
It’s well-known that COVID-19 is a sneaky virus. In countries where the pandemic response has been praised, places like Seoul are now struggling with lockdowns due to the delta variant — with more cases and heavier measures than previously recorded.
We have been in this pandemic for over a year now, and I’m just as eager to sit in a café without worrying about COVID-19 as the rest of us. We’re simply not there yet.
I don’t understand why we wouldn’t be more cautious when experts have been warning us for months to be wary of variants, especially when the large majority of current COVID-19 cases are made up of variants. Even SFU is gearing up for a full reopening without the requirement of masks in all areas — largely ignoring the needs of immunocompromised students.
BC guidelines have relaxed mask regulations, making them a recommendation for those who aren’t fully vaccinated. However, it is nearly impossible to know who actually has their second dose. I’m not sure why we’re opening up the air to be so full of germs again, because frankly, I’m not excited to be breathing the same dirty oxygen as the rest of you.
Taking all of this into account, I think we should be concerned about our reopening. At this crucial point in the pandemic, all of our progress can quickly be thwarted by pure carelessness. Jumping into our routines again isn’t something to take lightly. It should be done mindfully. If we don’t, it could cost lives.