Opinion | Don’t let the nice weather make you careless

Although more and more people are getting vaccinated and the weather is getting nicer, we can’t completely ignore the risks of COVID-19.

Yassie Buchanan, Opinions Columnist

As the temperature has started to climb and COVID-19 vaccinations have been rolling out, more and more people have been spending their time outside mask-free.

Living in the middle of Frat Circle, I have had the pleasure of witnessing an uptick in the amount of large maskless gatherings.

Regardless of the unfortunate circumstances we are facing, we need to be considerate of how our actions affect those around us.

After a gruesome winter with most of our time spent inside and online, it is understandable and encouraged to take advantage of this nice weather and any opportunity to see people face to face. However, we can’t completely ignore the virus just yet.

Several states and governors have started to lift restrictions and mask mandates, despite experts communicating their concern. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds was ahead of the game and lifted them in February.

One of the major concerns public health experts have expressed, in regards to many states relaxing restrictions, is that COVID-19 cases will plateau at high numbers, especially with the more contagious variant found in the UK. Here in Iowa, we are already seeing alarmingly high numbers of cases.

According to The Washington Post, COVID-19 cases in Iowa have increased by 20 percent in the last week.  Clearly, we are not taking the necessary precautions to protect each other and ourselves from the virus.

Iowa has been working towards more and more of the population being vaccinated. However, with less than a quarter of Iowans having received at least one vaccine shot, we are clearly not yet able to ignore the virus.

Earlier last week,  Reynolds reported that out of those 18 and older who are eligible for the vaccine. 21.3 percent have received a single dose of the vaccine. As of March 30, 19.12 percent of Iowa has been fully vaccinated.

With these stats in mind, it is imperative that we are careful about the way we handle this pandemic. Everyone must do their part by continuing to wear masks and take the proper precautions.

Earlier this month experts told NPR that with only 20 percent of all U.S. adults vaccinated, it is important to remain cautious. Experts have said receiving any of the three vaccines does a very good job at protecting against the symptoms of the virus.

However, there are no conclusive answers as to how well the vaccines will protect against transmitting the virus although it is suspected the risks are low. Further, even after receiving the vaccine, you could be an asymptomatic spreader of the virus.

It’s important to remember it takes two weeks for inoculation to become fully effective after one dose of Johnson and Johnson and two of Pfizer or Moderna. It is recommended, after being vaccinated, to continue to wear a mask and continue to be conscientious of those you are around as well as who they have and will be in contact with.

A lot of us are eager to ditch the masks and anxiety that has built up this year but it’s still important to keep in mind this virus has the potential to be deadly for many populations. We all need to remember to do our part in protecting others from COVID-19.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.