Column: The pandemic may be ending, but the anxiety remains

Karina Delgado, Opinions Writer

One year ago, I remember sitting in my bedroom watching the news over protests and COVID-19. I had just gotten off work at my job as a day camp supervisor.

Things were different that day at camp. We couldn’t play with the kids or have any special event. All we could do was wait for parents to pick up a craft kit twice a week.

There was a major cut in our hours but there was not much the organization could do. One year ago, everyone was drained.

Today, things are looking up. It was not easy to get here. I don’t think anyone expected to be here after a rough fall and winter season.

When our government laid out our COVID response phases last year, I did not expect to be on Phase 5 in June 2021. Here we are. Illinois is in Phase 5 and Chicago has fully reopened.

Lollapalooza is back in action. People are able to see their loved ones again. Masks are being taken off. For the first time in a long time, I feel “normal.”

Still, it is not the pre-pandemic normal I once knew. When it comes to “normal”, it means I can see other people without wearing a face mask. It means I can be in peace knowing my high risk family is safe since we are now vaccinated.

I feel like I ran a cross country meet. Where I was okay before the race but once the race started, it was harsh. The sun beating down on my skin, sweat getting in my eye, everyone trying to pass each other, thinking about water from time to time. Then I make it to the finish line.

This is how I feel, trying to catch my breath, sweat everywhere, and wanting to lay down with a big jug of water. This pandemic drained me.

I have mixed feelings about Phase 5. I am still nervous that COVID will mutate and our vaccines will not be able to fight against it.

I am nervous that because masks are coming off, we will have a wave again.

At the same time, I think we will be okay. Illinois’ case numbers have been down. The CDC tells us vaccinated people no longer need masks.

It’s summer, so places can host events outside and people can be socially distant. I don’t know where we will go from here. The biggest lesson I learned from this pandemic is that only time will tell.

Karina Delgado is a senior English major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]