The World Health Organization has issued a new warning that the COVID pandemic is certainly not over. In fact, it could get far worse this year.
On February 18th, 2022 WHO’s director warned that not only is there more to come from COVID, but the worst dangers could be ahead. Furthermore, rolling back mandates and allowing the public to think they can relax could have devastating effects.
WHO points out that 70,000 people are still dying each week from the coronavirus.
Omicron hit hard, especially in the US where infections and deaths easily rivaled or surpassed earlier waves of the virus in the initial weeks of 2022.
Omicron presented extra challenges due to being more contagious than previous strains of COVID. In spite of some downplaying how dangerous it is, it certainly hasn’t disappeared overnight. People are still getting infected from it and are still dying from it.
The director of WHO specifically warns that recent media coverage of Omicron, and how some cities have claimed declining case numbers which led to having eased mask rules could all be creating the perfect environment for the pandemic to worsen.
With fewer people taking precautions and more letting their guard down, a new variant which is even more deadly could easily spread quickly before it is recognized.
Other health experts have also called mask mandate lapses irresponsible and too early. Many accuse them of being politically motivated, while jeopardizing public health.
So far, the economy seems to have survived. Though another round of lockdowns due to lax policies and premature unwinding of recommendations could be the final nail to the coffin, for many.
Having the choice is good, though individuals and employers are owed the truth about the virus and how to protect themselves and others.
WHO’s warning comes even after we’ve become aware of the latest COVID variant, a sub-variant of Omicron called BA.2 or the Stealth Omicron, which may be 50% more contagious and far more deadly. That makes it one of the most dangerous strains already.
It is now widespread and in at least 74 countries and many US states.
If people take off their masks thinking omicron is more mild, they could deeply regret catching this strain. To make matters worse, vaccinations may not offer a substantial amount of protection against this variant.
John Hopkins University data shows that around 65% of the US population has been vaccinated. Far lower in places like Africa, where WHO says only around 17% of the population have received vaccines.
This also doesn’t mean all of these individuals are considered fully vaccinated with all of the latest follow-up booster shots.
It is also vital to remember that vaccines may not be effective against new variants that may arise.
While governments and many health institutions are still adamant that vaccines are the most important tool for combatting and controlling the pandemic, the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that N95 masks can provide even greater protection than vaccines. In some cases, it is more than double the protection of vaccines, depending on how long ago you got your last booster.
The really serious problem here is that employers and the public are being lured into a false sense of security. Most of us want the pandemic and rules to be over, yet being caught unprepared could at least be very frustrating, if not deadly.
Allowing your supply of masks to run out means that you may not be able to enjoy your freedom and you may not find them in stock or at reasonable prices later, when cases start rising again.
The economy is continuing to prove very volatile with rampant inflation and supply chain issues. That was even before the latest global political issues which experts believe could drive gas prices up to $7 a gallon.
Masks For Businesses
Businesses still face a variety of different mandates and rules governing their employees and customers. It can be confusing. To stay safe and protect your ongoing ability to stay open, it is just common sense to have a good supply of N95 masks available for each shift for both your staff and customers.
Depending on your business this may include N95 masks or N99 masks.
Masks For Individuals
Don’t rely on your employer or the government to keep you stocked with a fresh supply of masks all the time. You still need them to ensure your ability to work, freedom to move around, and would still need them in many situations for healthcare – even when going to the dentist or getting eye glasses. Don’t get caught short. Your life and livelihood could depend on it.
WHO warns that the COVID pandemic is far from over. It could also get much worse and more dangerous. That could well be compounded by rumors that new virus variants are going to be milder and people not being as diligent about wearing their masks.
Freedom of choice is important. That also means that we all have the choice and freedom to stay safe and to protect those around us, too.
N95 masks continue to be proven to be the best defense. Be sure that you have enough of a supply on hand to keep working, retain your freedom, and protect your health and of those you care about.