We're ready for the return of the roaring '20s.
For the past couple of years, we've social distanced, masked up, glopped enough Purell on our hands to sanitize a short-staffed daycare and generally avoided the few fun events in the world that weren't canceled.
We're so done with you, COVID-19.
So we rejoiced at last week's announcement by Gov. Mike Parson: "The COVID-19 crisis is over in the state of Missouri, and we are moving on."
To be fair, COVID-19 isn't likely gone, never to be heard from again.
"We don't know if this virus will ever completely go away, but we do know that there is no longer a need to live in crisis mode and that we can shift our response to meet the current needs of Missourians," the governor said.
But it's gone enough to be downgraded from a pandemic to an endemic. It's will likely come and go like the flu. And like the flu, we'll have to get periodic vaccines to protect ourselves. But, ultimately, we'll have to live with it.
But for now, COVID-19 transmission is at its lowest level since the beginning of the pandemic. That's cause for celebration.
Parson estimated the vast majority of Missourians, either through vaccinations or through past infection, have received protection from the virus.
Universal contact tracing and individual case investigations will end. So will the state's daily updates for vaccinations, testing or positivity rates. The state's COVID-19 dashboard will transition from daily reporting to weekly reporting.
Missouri will base response and mitigation strategies on regional- and community-level trends, Parson said. It will focus less on individual case-based data.
For now, we're ready to make money in the growing gig economy. We're ready to spend money and patronize our local businesses, especially the restaurants. And we're ready to love our neighbors, whether that means backyard barbecues, local fundraisers and other social events, or simply an unmasked, face-to-face chat over cold beverages on a soon-to-be hot day.