Daniel Downer, 35, will always remember where he was when he first learned that COVID-19 was officially over. “I was at my office and in between meetings when I saw the alert pop up on my phone: The Biden Administration had officially sunset the national emergency status of the virus. I thought to myself, Sure, why not?”
Downer is one of approximately 50 million Americans who has an autoimmune disease, which means his body is much more susceptible to viruses and diseases than others. And despite the news that this virus is over, he doesn’t really expect anything substantial to change in his life.
“I guess I don’t really have a choice,” Downer shrugged. “I’ll probably just keep wearing masks and getting boosted until COVID-19 isn’t one of the top five leading causes of death. Actually I think they stopped counting a while ago, so that’s … neat.”
This exciting announcement has been a long time coming, as Americans, and more specifically their politicians, have had enough of COVID-19. Earlier this year President Biden announced it was time for Americans to “get back to work and fill our great downtowns again,” to which Downer remembered saying “what?” and “gross.”
But not everyone is such a downer about the news; Downer’s friend Ellie is excited to get back to normal. “I am just so excited to see all of my friends and give them all the biggest hugs,” she said. “After so long apart … even though we’ve all been basically maskless since last summer anyway. We all got together and had a mask-burning party in my backyard. Not in a gross protest way, but in a fun symbolic way! I don’t think Daniel came to that. It’s just nice to know that I can start having my old life back. I wish he would come out. You can’t just be scared of getting sick forever. You need to break that bubble.”
When asked for a response, Downer’s eyes glazed over with a faraway stare. “I went to the hospital for some routine bloodwork and none of the medical staff were masked, but the front desk had a Comic Sans sign that said ‘Celebrate Your Smile.’ I guess it’s just up to me now. So … cool, I guess.”