As the world enters the year of 2022, covid ravages onwards. With the new Omicron variant beginning to form throughout the world, humanity must once again adjust current protocols to ensure the safety of everyone in the country.
First detected in Botswana on Nov. 11, 2021, the omicron variant has infected numerous countries. Within the U.S, cases soar every day, with states reporting drastically increased positivity rates.
According to the New York Times, scientists have found that Omicron, when compared to previous variants, tends to cause less severe illness in most people; and that vaccines, though less protective against infection, continue to provide a robust defense against critical illness and death.
Since the start of January, Michigan has had over 200,000 confirmed cases. As the number begins to rise, many schools have taken precautionary measures by reverting back to online schooling.
“I would rather not resort to online schooling because I enjoy in-person learning. Being able to see my friends, talking to my professors face-to-face, and practicing for the school’s swim team is what makes my experience at Alma enjoyable,” said Abigail Haag (’25). “However, if we had to go back to online schooling I would understand.”
Since the start of 2022, Alma College has had over 200 positive cases, a number that continues to rise daily. A growing number of absences within the classroom can be traced to positive covid tests or students being contact traced.
“With the numbers rising I have made sure to stayed masked anywhere I go on campus,” said Danielle Ries (’24). “Wearing a mask in the weight room while lifting with the school’s swim team is just one of the many ways, I ensure I don’t contract the virus.”
The CDC recommends that people still take preventions such as wearing a mask indoors, washing hands and social distancing. According to a Nov. 21 statement from the CDC, getting the vaccine is essential toprotecting oneself and others against not just the omicron variant, but others as well. A COVID-19 vaccine booster restores vaccine effectiveness against infection up to 75%. COVID-19 vaccination decreases the risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
“The college has remained compliant with CDC guidelines. However, the college could better enforce preventing the spread of Covid within the classroom by not allowing students to wear cloth masks,” said Austin DeRocher (’24).
“I am fully vaccinated and up to date with boosters. Being vaccinated gives me peace at mind at knowing my chance of contracting the virus are smaller,” said Alex Small (’25).
Though Omicron presents itself to be just as large of a problem as the original strain, some Americans are not taking the same caution they took 3 years ago.
“It just seems like people don’t care anymore. At the beginning, people were disinfecting their groceries before putting them away, something I highly doubt would happen again,” said Haag. “I think so many people have just decided that the pandemic is horribly inconvenient for them and have decided to go back to life the way it was before the pandemic started, however irresponsible that may be.”