Mask on ... Mask off

While running through the Newark International Airport in New Jersey last week to catch my flight after my first one was delayed, I thought to myself, “this sure would be easier to do without a mask.”
I got to the gate just in time and continued to catch my breath as I boarded the plane. While making my way to my seat I noticed something very odd. One passenger was not wearing a mask and was talking to a flight attendant who had his mask under his chin.
“Did they suddenly change the rule to not wear masks on a plane,” I thought to myself while also thinking I may have been hallucinating.
Shortly after finding my seat the pilot took to the microphone and announced to all passengers who may have just boarded masks were no longer required on United flights. There were no audible cheers but whispers to one another saying “did you hear that,” and “we don’t need to wear masks anymore,” as masks were quickly stowed away in pockets and backpacks.
Since the beginning of the pandemic the question has always been when will it be over? Would it be a month after quarantine? After the vaccine is available to everyone? After the first, second or third booster? The answer varies based on perspective of the pandemic and where one lives in the country. Personally, the removal of mask requirements on planes seems to be the best indicator of the end.
While many areas of the country have been able to return back to “normal” for months, mask requirements at airports and on planes have been a constant in every state. No matter what the rules have been on a state-by-state basis, airlines have maintained similar guidelines for their customers since returning to the sky during the pandemic.
While there are still issues regarding whether or not the mask mandate for airlines should be lifted, just the idea of being able to remove it shows how much progress has been made.
In places such as Goshen County, deaths related to COVID have remained stagnant for more than a month and very few if not zero patients have been admitted to the hospital with a positive case. It has been quite clear the virus has been suppressed in the area, and it appears the same can be said to a for parts of the country which have experienced the pandemic on a larger scale.
Thinking back to the beginning of the pandemic, a lot of things have reverted back to what we once considered normal. Fans are back at sporting events, movie theaters are filling up again and handshakes and high fives have made a comeback after avoiding extinction.
As the final mask mandates start to be lifted across the country it appears as though the worry of the virus may finally be behind us all.