Numerous states and countries have begun lifting Covid-19 mandates even though there are more deaths due to the virus now than there were during the majority of the pandemic. For the past month, there have been more than 2,000 Covid-19 related deaths a day in the US reported, which has been the highest count since the first winter Covid-19 surge before vaccines were available. At present, Covid is attributed to 20% of all deaths worldwide. The demographics have now changed to younger and unvaccinated individuals dying, compared with older individuals who accounted for most of the casualties before vaccines were available.

These death counts are not surprising as data from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that the chances of dying from Covid-19 are 14 times higher for unvaccinated adults than for vaccinated adults and 51 times higher for the unvaccinated than for vaccinated adults who have had a ‘booster shot’. Despite these statistics, vaccine hesitancy continues in younger individuals, often due to disinformation and the perception that younger people do not die of Covid-19, along with a growing acceptance of the risks associated with the virus. Governments and healthcare institutions will need to continue to push vaccine uptake in younger individuals and for more adults to get their booster shots.

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Despite these record new daily Covid-19 infections, England has ended all its remaining restrictions, with the rest of the UK to follow by the end of this month. The country is also ending its contact tracing programme and the legal obligation to self-isolate following a positive test result. Iceland has removed all Covid-19 restrictions, and in the US, Los Angeles county has recently dropped its indoor mask mandate and New York City plans to roll back its indoor vaccine and mask mandates. Within the next few weeks, Hawaii will be the only US state to still have indoor mask mandates.

As the populace wearies of Covid-19 restrictions and the Omicron variant is perceived as less dangerous, people are longing for a return to normal, despite ongoing high death counts. Concern still remains that a more deadly variant could emerge or that the lack of restrictions, coupled with waning natural immunity, could lead to another deadly surge.