It’s time to stop complaining and live your life

For over a year the singular cry of the United States has been Covid. For over a year the American people have obsessed, planned, and thought about the virus incessantly; no business remains untouched, no personal story unblemished. Every individual, from the city dwellers in L.A. to the coastal clingers of Key Largo have been bombarded with news and stories of the pandemic. The chant begins again with Omicron.

Omicron is the latest variant of Covid. It originated in Southern Africa and has since spread to several continents, slowly creeping across countries and replacing the previous Delta strain. Omicron, as far as health officials know, is still guarded against by the vaccine.

And that is the extent of Omicron information provided in this article. In order to understand the point, you needn’t know anything else. For every strain of the virus, for every instance of this pandemic, the vaccine virtually eliminates risk. If you take nothing else away from reading this, take that. Take the knowledge that vaccination and treatment options have grown (and are growing) dramatically better and more effective. Understand it. Internalize it.

Covid is not going away. There will always be new cases of the virus. There will always be a new strain, and yes, people will always die from contracting it. Covid is becoming endemic, meaning it is going to become a part of life, just as the flu and the common cold and pneumonia are. Americans live their lives with relatively little fear of the previous ailments; they should learn to live with Covid as well.

Americans live their lives with relatively little fear of the previous ailments; they should learn to live with Covid as well.”

— Reagan Eastlick

This isn’t about the Omicron variant – it’s about peoples’ reaction to any new strain of Covid. The Pfizer vaccine reduces the already low mortality rates of the virus by 97%. Vaccination disconnects the number of people infected from the number of people who die, making catching Covid relatively unimportant.

Once a person has been given a chance to take the vaccine, any consequence is not the government’s responsibility. People have agency, they have the ability to make decisions for themselves; if that decision is against the vaccine then they have made their choice. Vaccines should not be mandated, and neither should masks. The American people have been presented with a solution to every strain of Covid. What they chose to do with that solution is their decision, not the government’s.

Americans have a tendency to look at Covid in a way that is completely dissimilar to any other disease or sickness. The roughly 330 million people who live in the United States live in one of the cleanest and most technologically advanced countries in the world.

Why does that matter? Covid was the very first disease to sweep across the country while simultaneously being covered by a plethora of news outlets and social media. The huge influx of coverage didn’t make Covid more dangerous, but it created panic to a scale never before seen.

Every day you take risks. You wake up and drive to school on roads where crashes occur regularly. After that you eat food you didn’t prepare, trusting that grocery stores and cooks are clean and orderly. You take trips on planes and shake strangers’ hands, basking in their bacterial glory. And all the while, you never realize it. You weigh the cost of not doing those things with the risk of living your life, and nearly every time, you choose to live normally.

Today, I ask you to add Covid to the list of risks you take every day. And I go a step further: I ask you to move on with your life. New variants will come and go. Sadly, some people will die. That’s life. And it sucks, it truly does.

But that’s Covid, and the common cold, and the flu, and driving, and climbing a ladder. The important thing is that you don’t let the risk of dying stop you from living.