What Does the End of the Pandemic Emergency Mean to You?

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What Does the End of the Pandemic Emergency Mean to You?

On May 5, the World Health Organization declared the end of the Covid-19 global health emergency. A week later, on March 11, the coronavirus public health emergency in the United States expired.

The New York Times writes:

On Thursday, three years and 100 days after the Trump administration declared the coronavirus a public health emergency, the Biden administration will allow the emergency declaration to expire, ushering in a new era when the government will treat Covid-19 like any other respiratory ailment.

If the coronavirus pandemic was a war, the United States is about to officially enter peacetime.

What’s your reaction to the news? Do you feel relief? Joy? Surprise? Indifference? Have you already moved on? What does the official end of the pandemic emergency mean for you, your family and your community?

In “As Covid Emergency Ends, U.S. Response Shifts to Peacetime Mode,” Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Noah Weiland wrote:

But interviews with senior federal and state health officials — including the secretary of health and human services and the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration — make clear that while the United States has greatly improved its capacity to fight Covid-19, it is not fully prepared for a radically different future variant or a new pandemic.

They also report that Dr. Ashish K. Jha, the coronavirus response coordinator, cautioned that the virus was not going away.

More than 1,000 people are still dying of Covid-19 in the United States each week, according to the C.D.C.

“Covid is going to be with us, but we know how to live with it in a way that need not cause disruption, need not put people in the hospital — or worse,” Dr. Jha said. “And we know how to monitor this virus and manage it so that if it takes a turn, if it does something different, we’re ready for that.”

In the immediate term, the end of the emergency declaration will not cause dramatic changes for Americans, though some people could face new costs for coronavirus testing. After Thursday, private insurers will no longer be required to cover up to eight at-home tests per month. Those with Medicare or private insurance may have co-pays for lab tests.

Students, read the entire article, and then tell us:

  • Think about the three years of the pandemic and everything that happened to you. Then consider these questions: How have you changed during this time? Why? What did you lose? What did you find? What began for you? What ended? What did you learn about yourself and about life?

  • What does the official end to the Covid pandemic emergency mean to you, your family and your community? Will it change your behavior, attitude or outlook, or have you and your community already begun to move on — whatever that means to you — from Covid some time ago?

  • How are you feeling right now about Covid? Optimistic? Anxious? Bittersweet? Exhausted? Hopeful? All of the above?

  • What got you through the pandemic? Did you have any special people in your life — family members, teachers or coaches — who brought joy and meaning during a time of social distancing and isolation? Did any books, movies, games, songs or other activities help connect you with others, escape reality or just pass the time? What are you most grateful for? Are there any people you would like to thank?

  • Looking ahead: What are your hopes and dreams for the summer? The year ahead? How might you make up for the opportunities you missed during the pandemic? What questions do you have about the next stage of the coronavirus?

  • How do you think history books will tell the story of the pandemic? If you were to put together a time capsule of artifacts of this era to show people 100 years from now, what would you include, and why? What will you tell your grandchildren about what it was like to live during this time?