New Year, New Variant

Associated with gatherings of excited, hopeful individuals and catchy phrases such as “New Year, New Me,” the New Year is cherished for its celebration of new beginnings and exceptionally cheerful attitude. In particular, this year’s celebration was heavily anticipated, with many under the impression that the pandemic situation was becoming less severe. With 66% of eligible people in the U.S. fully vaccinated and recent booster shot roll-outs, many were ready to share a glass of bubbly champagne.Then came Omicron. 

With omicron cases rising exponentially, everything seems dreadfully similar to the events of last January’s covid surge and beginning of months of lockdowns. The comparison is drawn with case growth rate, where “cases where averaging in this same range, more than 200,000 new infections a day” (Aubrey, 2021). Just days before the fireworks were ready for blast off, Dr. Fauci discussed the 126% increase in cases and 11% increase in hospitalizations. He went on to state, “If your plans are to go to a 40-to-50 person New Year’s Eve party with all the bells and whistles and everybody hugging and kissing and wishing each other a happy New Year, I would strongly recommend that this year we do not do that.” 

Students at Wheatley shared their various experiences/thoughts, stating: 

This New Years felt particularly lonely for not just me but a lot of people. I really thought things were changing and set my expectations way too high. It just wasn’t what I expected but it could have also been worse” – Erika Ustick, 12th grade 

Covid rising again is definitely making people hesitant to go out and truly make the most of it. It also doesn’t help how careless people are, with their avoidance of wearing masks properly or going out and getting vaccinated” – Jake Jacknis, 12th grade 

Honestly, I had a great time this year. I think spending it with my close family was enough for me and I’m just grateful none of us got sick. I choose to look at the brighter side of things but I seriously am getting some deja vu with this whole situation of last January” – Asher Kaufman, 12th grade 

Hopefully cobwebs don’t accumulate on our dress pants and dancing shoes before we get the chance to truly enjoy the celebration again, but it seems that staying in is the best procedure to follow in these uncertain times. It is of utmost importance we continue cooperating, listening to professionals, and hanging in there as everything continues to unfold. Luckily for us, a significant part of the New Year’s festivities is creating and sharing our resolutions, something that can be done regardless of the Covid-19 situation, so I’ve provided a space below for everyone to do just that. Happy New Year! 

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