The world before the COVID-19 pandemic was all about living free as evidenced by the trends in traveling, more acceptance of LGBTQ individuals, and leading lifestyles that we deemed suitable for us because the world cannot dictate how we live our lives or spend our money, right?

But in a matter of days following the discovery of a highly contagious and fatal virus that can be transmitted through the air and droplets we breathe, the world turned upside down and inside out. Traveling overseas is suspended and issues we used to be passionate about like gender equality seemed minor compared to the pandemic we were facing.

It forced people to withdraw from the outside world for the sake of their safety. It led us to be isolated from the rest and quarantined at home as the government figured out how to take control of the existing damages and future losses due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

There are some who protested against wearing a mask or getting vaccinated, but the majority of us followed protocols to prevent getting infected. We have seen on the news how high the death toll is and how many are still getting sick. Being positive with COVID and how our body reacts to it is like playing Russian roulette, you may or may not die. Even being fully vaccinated people can still get infected. However, the symptoms may be less severe and mortality is unlikely but still possible.

Almost everyone now had a family or friend who became COVID positive, even ones who have succumbed to it. Humanity is way past the stage of denying the presence and virulence of the virus. We are now learning and starting to fight back.

We can never be certain so we have included handwashing, sanitizing with alcohol, and wearing a mask when going out of the house as parts of our new normal. Nobody wants to get flu-like or flu symptoms anymore in fear of it being COVID 1. As the way of life is slowly returning to the pre-pandemic state, the government and private sectors have organized a contingency plan for their working class and for the general public to be able to return to face-to-face transactions.

People are encouraged to get vaccinated as part of their civic duty to protect the greater good. Innovative companies like Vaccin8 Plus now offer flu vaccination and rapid antigen testing through mobile health providers. For now, they cater to both big and small corporations and schools who want to have their employees and students get tested before safely going back to face-to-face interaction. The specimen used is saliva and the result is available after 10 minutes.

This rapid antigen testing is the answer to convenient monitoring of individuals who go to work and study in an environment where lengthy exposure is inevitable and transmission is likely. 99% of negative results in rapid antigen testing are accurate while positive results can be confirmed using the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

Our society has learned to be cautious because of COVID 19 but the virus can never stop humanity from going back to being functional again after two years of the pandemic.