Over a year and a half into the pandemic, we all thought the world would be back to normal. Now that individuals are vaccinated, socializing is returning to normal, and large events are happening, it felt bittersweet to be back to normal.
Unfortunately, we were all too eager to jump back into normal life, resulting in the spread of the Delta variant. Not only do the unvaccinated make up 98% of COVID hospitalizations, but those that are vaccinated are still getting the variant. Scientists and healthcare professionals warned that lifting mask mandates and social distancing restrictions would lead to another surge in the virus while many of us were over the pandemic and ready to return to normal.
Based on the vaccination rates and its success in protecting individuals from getting and spreading the virus, most people and many companies assumed in-person work would return to normal in September and October. Tech monopolies like Uber, Google, Facebook, and Apple were ready to make the jump into hybrid work a few days a week. Employees were unhappy with the new mandates, specifically at Apple.
With the increase in cases around the country and the world, most companies have pushed back the return to on-site date until January of 2022. It seems that most companies are following the decisions of one another by continuing to push back this requirement. A survey was conducted, including 1,000 companies, and 52% of these companies said they will require a vaccination mandate by the end of the year, while 21% already mandate vaccinations.
Now that mask mandates are back, vaccinations are becoming an on-site work requirement, and professionals are slowly returning to the office, the biggest issue lies with children. As kids have started going back to school for the year, the U.S. has already seen 750,000 new cases in children. There are plenty of states, schools, and counties throughout the country that are not requiring mask mandates, which can be a danger for both children, their parents, and those they interact with, including coworkers.
Even though Pfizer is FDA-approved, children under 16 are not yet vaccinated. Not to mention that the effectiveness of both Moderna and Pfizer have fallen since the initial two dosages, and Pfizer is only completely effective for the first six months. Millions of Americans will need a booster shot to protect themselves and others from spreading the virus.
Overall, as a nation, we are not where we thought we would be. Most people are frustrated and over the pandemic, but to reach herd immunity and get back to normal, everyone should comply with the mandates, social distancing, and the vaccination process. We understand it is a personal choice, but for companies to return fully to the office and keep everyone safe, we need to think and act for the greater whole.