The World Health Organization announced that new COVID-19 cases worldwide decreased by nearly 80%. As of April 18, WHO reports 3,203,630 confirmed cases compared to the tipping point, 23,283,725 cases in January 2022.
Despite the global improvement, Seattle Pacific University’s community is on high alert against new cases of infection. According to a recent poll by The Falcon, 67% of 150 people think that we are still not past the pandemic.
Fourth-year nursing major Evelyn Gutierrez says we have not moved to the post-pandemic stage yet. Gutierrez explained that there is an increase in cases in Pre-K-12 students.
“After spring break, there’s definitely a surge between the kids,” Gutierrez said. “In the school setting, we see an increase in COVID cases. I think it is because of travel, and people not wearing masks when they travel.”
From a nursing perspective, Gutierrez advises being aware of hygiene and surroundings, and says that masking is always helpful in preventing infectious contact.
“I think the biggest thing is to be aware of your surroundings and masking when appropriate. If you’re going to a concert, you should mask up,” Gutierrez said.
COVID-19 policies became more lenient on campus as the government removed the mask mandate. Judah John T. Somem, a first-year theology major, explained how he feels about changing times.
“It’s surreal going back to what people said is normal back then because being in COVID has been normal now,” Somem said. “And to go back to not wearing masks and not really worrying about what happens with people around is like COVD never happened.”
Somem shared that the current situation is improving for those who have health conditions. A high vaccination rate offers protection from severe infections and death.
“For me, I have a health condition that I cannot be around too many people; it is nice to go back to the point where you know it is safe to be around people,” Somem said. “As long as we play our part and listen to what the government has to say or the school has to say about COVID policy, I think we can rebounce our community here [at SPU].”
Third-year nursing major, Quoc Phan, shared that SPU’s COVID-19 policies have been an excellent approach to operating in a school setting.
“I think SPU has done a good job dealing with the pandemic,” Phan said. “Even though the mask mandate is no longer mandatory, some professors are still leaning toward encouraging students to wear masks, which I think is a good idea to help prevent the spread.”
Phan believes that everyone should remain cautious even if cases seem to decline, regardless of opinion on whether the threat of the pandemic is still as serious as it previously was.
“Just be sure to sanitize your area after working,” Phan said. “If you’re sick, go get tested. And make sure you’re not around people when you’re sick.”
With the confidence of a high vaccination rate, many feel that it is safer to be around people, but for students like Gutierrez, the pandemic is still an urgent matter.
“The pandemic is still real,” Gutierrez said. “I think we’re in a better position because we now have the vaccine. With the COVID vaccine, I’ve seen people who have infection only experience mild symptoms, compared to pre-vaccine where we have COVID’s fear of not knowing what to do.”