To preface this, obviously, we all want the pandemic to be over.
There is probably not a person alive that doesn’t want this pandemic to be over.
We have been repeating what has essentially been the same day for almost a year, with little surprises like insurrections thrown in here or there, for almost a year. Friday, March 12, will be one year since Auburn University announced a halt on in-person classes.
We want it to be over, and we want to return to a sense of normalcy. We also understand that the only way to do this is to not jump the gun or drop the ball. Whatever phrase you want to use. The end of this thing is almost in sight, we can’t quit while we’re so close to the finish line.
On March 4, Gov. Kay Ivey extended the statewide health order through April 9. She also extended the mask mandate for what looks like the last time. After that, some of us we will be free to continue not wearing masks while we’re outdoors, but also not have to begrudgingly wear a mask when we have to go into a store.
“Folks, we are not there yet, but goodness knows we’re getting closer,” Ivey said.
That perfectly sums up what is a very confusing time for the whole country. Vaccinations are being distributed everywhere, and with the introduction of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the vaccination rate should only increase. On March 2, President Joe Biden even said that there will be enough vaccines for every adult in the U.S. by the end of May.
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But April 9, is not the end of May.
April 9, is close to May. So close, that everyone could probably continue wearing their masks for at least another month. At least until the majority of Alabama is vaccinated rather than the 5.5% that had received both doses at the end of February, according to reporting done by BirminghamWatch.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been approved, why not wait until it, the Pfizer, and Moderna can all be distributed at the same time? The mandate shouldn’t be ending at at time when we don’t know what could happen next, a date that at once seems so far away and startlingly close.
The point of this is not to solely criticize Ivey. We understand that she was going to end this mandate eventually, but there were probably other factors pressuring her pen to sign this a bit earlier than she may have liked.
Ivey has faced opposition for this mandate since it was implemented in July. Those in her party have been calling for its end, only growing louder the longer its been in effect. Despite protests from Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, and even the State House of Representatives asking Ivey to rescind the mandate, she held strong for a long time.
Even as other Republican governors, namely those in Texas and Mississippi have loosened their reins prematurely, Ivey has stuck out for, at least, the next month.
That is admirable.
But, we are so close. State Health Officer Scott Harris said they are expecting to deliver another 750,000 doses of the vaccine before the mandate expires. That's not enough for the three million people that still need to be vaccinated, and more people will get sick between now and April 9 and after.
We should be holding out just a little bit longer.
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