Is Charlottesville Opening Up Too Fast?

Shamya Reese, Staff Reporter

Being stuck at home is dreadful, but staying home until it is certain there are absolutely no cases of COVID should be the priority. Restrictions are annoying, but what would also be annoying is going out and about until there’s a sudden spike of cases. If a sudden spike of cases happens, we will have to go back into lock-down. 

On May 28, Governor Ralph Northam lifted the universal mask mandate and eased all distance and capacity restrictions.  However, as of June 7, students and teachers in ACPS are still testing positive for COVID, according to the County’s COVID dashboard. With more public places being opened up with higher capacity there will most likely be more cases on the way.

Before raising limitations and hosting concerts with higher capacity, leaders should start being more cautious if there is still a possibility of COVID cases rising. While the number of COVID cases has been trending downwards according to the Blue Ridge Health Department, new mutations of the virus could cause a spike at any time.

According to  COVID Act Now, 56.2% of Charlottesville’s population is vaccinated. The vaccination rate should be at least 80% to open more public spaces. The higher the vaccination rate, the fewer people will be getting COVID. 

Until more of Charlottesville’s population gets vaccinated, everyone should still wear a mask. People who are vaccinated should still wear a mask too. The new CDC guideline says that those who are vaccinated should feel safe to go outside, but do not forget their masks. Vaccinated people forget the masks because people read too fast or only read on what they want to hear.

There are also worries from public health experts of unvaccinated people being in danger. Even though the Pfizer vaccine was recently approved for those 12 and up, there are many teens whose parents will not let them get vaccinated, as well as people who are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons. Even Dr. Faucci says we will likely need a COVID vaccine booster, but no timeline for that is out yet.

The only way for us to be truly safe is to wear masks and stay away from large groups until we know for sure that we have beaten COVID.