By Bella Richmond

The mask mandate was lifted on March 1 in Sacramento, but the coronavirus disease hasn’t gone away yet. It is getting kind of rare to see a mask out in the world. And yet, last week one of my meetings was canceled due to COVID shutting down a site. Current statistics show a spike of cases in recent weeks. This contrast of cases spiking and Sacramento allowing citizens to regulate themselves has me pondering safety concerns. 

The current spike in cases is still nothing compared to what happened in January with Omicron. The increase is still notable compared to only a few months ago. The New York Times has reported a daily average of over 500 new cases and a daily average of 2 deaths in Sacramento County, as of July 7. The Los Angeles Times reported a slightly lower number of almost 500 new cases and an average 1 death per day, as of July 8. Both these sites and the official Sacramento County COVID-19 Dashboard show this new spike starting to mellow since July. 

This rise in cases is affecting some communities more than others here in Sacramento. The dashboard shows that Elk Grove has had some of the highest numbers of cases in the Sacramento area. In the past month, Citrus Heights has started increasing in cases. It isn’t practical to avoid an entire zip code because of COVID. This breakdown of regions may be helpful for residents who are considering testing just to be safe. 

Most of the eligible individuals who aren’t vaccinated are probably not in the 3% of the U.S. population that is classified as immunocompromised. As recent as July 6, NBC reported that new Omicron variants are accountable for over half of COVID cases. These variants aren’t really more deadly than previous ones. New variants are quickly transmissible for vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Right now, everyone should be conscious of their health. What does this mean for Sacramento? 

My last memories of the school year or of school administration announcing masks would no longer be required and then heavily suggested the use of masks, as cases began to rise. Then masks were back on. The mask mandate was reinstated by the school district two months after ending it. That was a cautious move by the district. The current spike of cases may be flattening now, but it is up to the individual to operate on the safe side. New variants of the coronavirus disease are liable to keep spreading until more people get immunized and new vaccines are made available to the public.