Back to Our Previous “Normal”?

States Lift Mask Mandate and a 2nd Booster Shot is Introduced


Nicholas Yoo, Editor

Effective on March 7, 2022, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order in his final Covid-19 press briefing that lifted the statewide school and daycare mask mandate. Since 2020 and throughout the spread of the global pandemic, health officials have reiterated that wearing facial masks is an effective deterrent in spreading Covid-19 along with hand washing, social distancing, and other health and safety measures. 

Since the inception of the mask mandate, there have also been debates between those who supported mask wearing, those who did not, and those who simply listened to what the government laid down. 

Those who viewed wearing masks positively argued that doing so greatly reduced the spread of the coronavirus, by not just keeping the wearer safe but also those around them. In addition, mask wearers have noted that wearing masks has reduced other seasonal illnesses. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health noted that between September 2020 and January, there were only about 1316 reported flu cases in its surveillance compared to the 130,000 cases reported the year before (before Covid-19 hit). 

On the other hand, those advocating against masks have consistently used the rhetoric that people have a right over their own bodies and the choices they make (including masks). Some have claimed that wearing masks made it harder for them to breathe, others pitching in that it disrupted their daily activities. 

Finally, the neutral side simply followed the rules according to the words of health officials and the government: if mask mandates were enforced, they would wear masks; if mask mandates were lifted, some would keep masks on while others would take them off. 

As Delbarton School also followed along with lifting mask mandates, I have to say that it was nice and interesting to see the faces of my friends and teachers, some even for the first time. There are a number of students and faculty who have chosen to wear masks for a good reason and it is necessary that we respect everyone’s decisions, whether they wear masks or not. 

Recently, there has been an announcement of a 2nd Covid booster shot. States such as New York started offering the fourth vaccine doses after the federal government’s authorization of such shots earlier in the week. So far, only citizens who are 50 years old or above and have received their first booster shot at least four months ago are eligible. Johnson & Johnson vaccine patients can receive their second booster from any COVID vaccine, such as Pfizer or Moderna, but those younger than 17 must stick with the Pfizer vaccine. 

Health officials from all over the world have constantly explained that being vaccinated with all recommended doses is the best way to prevent severe illness and hospitalization throughout this pandemic. 

Whether you decide to wear your mask or not or get vaccinated or not, these are all decisions up to the individual now. However, we must always remember to be polite and understanding of either side.