Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UW, students must adjust perceptions of COVID-19 to new data

Two years into the pandemic, COVID-19 is here to stay and no longer the risk seen in 2020
Ahmad Hamid

It has been about two years since we’ve first heard about COVID-19. While many of us imagined the pandemic starting and finishing with a standard two-week long quarantine, we find that two years later, COVID-19 is at its peak.

The past two years have left many both physically and mentally tired. Now, we are finally looking towards the end of the tunnel, hoping to find the light.

The University of Wisconsin has done a decent job handling the pandemic with little information available and ever-changing government mandates. With that said, we have come to a point where COVID-19 is far from being completely eradicated. So, are we going to start living with the virus like it’s here to stay?


At UW, the current vaccination rate among students is 94.6% and 96.2% among employees. It’s evidence the campus at large has taken ample steps to secure their health and safety. So, now what?

Current BRT proposal out of touch with community interests

According to epidemiologist Michael Osterhold, eradicating the virus from the world right now is “unrealistic.” But, in his opinion, our failure to eradicate the virus does not mean that death, illness or social isolation will persist.

Evolutionary biologist Jesse Bloom also said to Nature that COVID-19 will become a less serious problem and become a virus with similar effects to the flu, taking on a seasonal pattern of outbreaks.

We have collectively learned a lot more since the beginning of the pandemic and will continue to develop tools — like oral antivirals — that will allow us to live day-to-day life with the virus.

When oral antivirals become available in the United States, there will be simple prescribable pills that will prevent hospitalization and serious sickness from COVID-19.

It is unrealistic to think the virus will leave our lives totally, but it is realistic to believe it will become a more tolerable and less fear-provoking virus. If this is the case, then it is time for the world and UW to transition to change their perspective of the virus.

As we learn more about the implications of COVID-19, we have started to learn more about what is most effective in prevention efforts, which has caused significant controversy in recent months.

Letter to the Editor: UW System-wide student governance would address representation issues

Recently, the Biden administration announced they will be withdrawing their COVID-19 shot-or-test rule for workers at large businesses after the U.S Supreme Court deemed the rule an “unauthorized exercise of agency power.”

It’s time to lift the mask mandates. Masks can still be encouraged for those who are more at risk, and to those who feel more comfortable with them.

Older adults, immunosuppressed groups and others with underlying medical conditions may require more isolation as they are more likely to experience severe illness from COVID-19. Additionally, according to the CDC, some people may be more likely to get infected because of “congregate living settings, or systemic health and social inequities.” 

Masks should no longer be required, but it’s still important to individually assess — with the help of a medical professional — how at risk you are. This choice should be left to make at one’s own discretion.

But they should no longer be required, especially because blunt non-pharmaceutical interventions have less medical value. UW wouldn’t be the first school to lift their mask mandates. A Long Island judge ruled against Gov. Kathy Hochul’s mask mandate for schools and public locations. Judge Thomas Rademaker said neither the governor nor the state health commissioner has the authority to push the mandate since “the governor no longer has emergency powers.”

It seems both judges and schools alike are finally allowing people to make their own medical decisions, restoring their freedom of choice. If the government doesn’t have a constitutional authority to impose mask mandates, then the university no longer has the authority to maintain them on campus.

There is no doubt across the world, people did the best they could to make informed decisions based on the wretched circumstances of the pandemic. But, now there is more information and the newest variant has proved to not be as deadly.

To solve traffic problems, we need more driverless cars in Madison

Removing the mask mandates would be a soft retreat for the university, which will allow the students to change their perception of the pandemic and allow them to start living their lives as they were.

Because we have been living in fear for such a long time, it is hard to imagine a world without it. It will be hard to return to a new normal, as we have gotten so accustomed to living the pandemic normal.

But we must change the narrative and change the way we live our lives. This is the beginning of the end of the pandemic. Let’s declare a return to normalcy and live by it!

Jessica Lewin ([email protected]) is a sophomore studying journalism.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *