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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SJSU chapter.

Over the past couple of years, the COVID-19 pandemic has gradually become a topic of the past as we move on to other pressing issues such as the student loan forgiveness plan and the upcoming 2024 presidential elections. 

Albeit these are just as important, however, the pandemic is still a public health emergency that is affecting millions of lives across the globe. So why have we brushed this pandemic under the rug?

According to data collected by The New York Times, U.S. COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations have been on a decline since February 2022. Despite the drop in positive COVID-19 patients, 14% of the U.S. population are still testing positive on a daily average.

Nonetheless, these results have placed people into a false sense of security. We can speculate that the alarming drop in concern towards the pandemic (see: figure 3) could be because of the social comparison theory. SCT, coined by Leon Festinger, is the theory that people base their self-worth on a comparison to others. Though SCT has a focus on social juxtaposition, we could apply SCT to the comparison of case rates throughout the year. 

On January 14, 2022, the daily average for COVID-19 cases was 806,795; on September 6, 2022, the daily average was 75,395. When we compare the two numbers, our main focus is not on the fact that thousands of people are testing positive, but rather, that the daily average is 731,400 less. 

It’s not just average people neglecting the pandemic. U.S. senators, governors, and representatives are throwing their hands up in the air and lifting COVID-19 regulations. Ballotpedia reports that all 50 states have fully lifted mask mandates and/or vaccination requirements except for healthcare facilities in certain states. 

As a result of the unanimous agreement with revoking COVID-19 regulations, 25.75% of the U.S. population are experiencing high levels of test positivity; 40.04% are experiencing medium levels of test positivity. This means that only 32.21% of the U.S. population is experiencing a reduction in test positivity. That’s 65.83% against 32.21%. 

Some may question the severity of the COVID-19 virus. If we go back to the data accumulated by The New York Times, there have been a total of 397 deaths on a daily average as of September 6, 2022.

Before 2022, COVID-19 deaths would average about 1,000 daily. Though hundreds of people are dying, we discern the death count as less than in previous years. Thus, we deem COVID-19 as “just another cold.”

However, we must not forget about the dangerous effects of the long-haul of the virus, the post-COVID syndrome that is affecting 52% of teens and adults ranging from ages 16-30. As stated by the Mayo Clinic, “the most commonly reported symptoms of the post-COVID-19 syndrome include: fatigue, symptoms that get worse after physical or mental effort, fever and lung (respiratory) symptoms, including difficulty breathing or shortness of breath and cough.” 

Moreover, the Mayo Clinic also reports the more dangerous, long-term symptoms of long-haul COVID-19, such as neurological problems, heart, and digestive symptoms, including difficulty in concentration, sleep, and stomach pain. Symptoms may also include blood clots, rashes, and changes in menstrual cycles. 

Furthermore, with our obstinate determination to not put on masks and take our vaccination shots, we are putting many people’s lives at risk, including our healthcare workers. A survey conducted by Mental Health America showcases a 13.6% vacancy rate for registered nurses. 

“The reasons for the vacancies are multifold, ranging from an aging workforce, burnout from two-plus years of coping with the demands of the pandemic, and the fact that some nurses are leaving staffed positions to take higher-paying jobs with the staffing agencies,” says MHA. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, when so much was unknown and feared, many healthcare organizations consolidated the care they delivered in person to a few selected departments to protect the majority of the employees. As a result, R.N.’s were burdened with a high-stress environment taking care of the sickest patients. 

Though we may see a decline in COVID-19 cases, we should still be considerate of others and keep in mind that the fight against the pandemic has just begun. 

To protect ourselves and others, CDC recommends we partake in the following actions: keeping up to date with vaccinations, ventilating rooms, consistent testing, quarantining if found sick, seeking immediate treatment, and avoiding contact with those who have or show signs of containing the disease. 

How are you protecting yourself from COVID-19? Let us know at @HerCampusSJSU.

Annabella Juarez (she/they) is a third-year pursuing an undergraduate degree in English – Creative Writing. They currently serve as the Editor in Chief for Her Campus at SJSU and are an ambassador for the Gender Equity Center. If Annabella found herself deserted on an island, she’d bring her journal and laptop. She couldn’t imagine skipping a day of writing fiction and poetry. Of course, music during writing is a must. The playlist would be filled with K-pop, alternative, Spanish, and queer music. When Annabella isn’t typing away on their keyboard, they’re journaling and scrapbooking their life for the #memories. Annabella chose to become a Her Campus writer for two reasons: to leave an everlasting impact through her articles and because writing is her lady.