Relatives watch students entering a school for the China's national college entrance examinations, known as the gaokao, in Beijing on June 7, 2022. A rise in COVID cases have brought masks into focus to keep out coronavirus. Image Credit: AP

COVID-19 cases are rising. It’s true. Should I be worried? No, I’m not. Simply because the infections are the work of two coronavirus strains with increased transmissibility. Moreover, safety protocols have been relaxed or lifted in many parts of the world.

So what do we do? The best thing to do is follow the health advisories diligently. Although masks are not mandatory outdoors, it’s necessary to wear them indoors. That is because the air in enclosed spaces tends to recirculate without proper ventilation. And people are closer to each other in confined spaces. So it’s not a good idea to cast away the mask when the virus is still around.

Over the past two years, we have ridden out several COVID storms. So another infection spike shouldn’t worry us. We just have to strictly follow the safety protocols of washing or sanitising hands regularly and wearing a mask. Since we have done it in the past, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Vaccines made world a safer place 

Actually, we are in a better place now than in 2020. Much of the world is vaccinated, and all the eligible people in the UAE have been vaccinated. Vaccines work, which is why the number of fatalities is very low; in the UAE, there haven’t been any deaths in a while. Most fatalities worldwide have been among the unvaccinated or people with underlying health issues.

We have vaccines, several of them. They have allowed countries to lift COVID restrictions. Jobs have returned, students have gone back to colleges, and offices have welcomed employees who worked from home. Normality has returned. And the world is back in business.

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Perhaps, the best indicator is the travel industry. Airports have become busy as planes return to the skies. People are already planning their summer holidays, and freshmen are busy pursuing university admissions abroad.

Amid such optimism, should we allow the rising COVID cases to upend our plans? No, we shouldn’t. For that, we have to follow the precautions.

COVID is no longer the monster it used to be; it’s more like a case of flu. Most recent cases, including reinfections, have been mild to moderate. That doesn’t mean we have to welcome the virus into our households. Even a mild case would mean isolation and quarantine, which are distractions and disruptions to regular routines. We can do without them.

So mask up to safeguard yourself and others. It will help keep out random cases of monkeypox too.