To address the point in the thread title: Statistics from the CDC and elsewhere confirm that case numbers are high, and they represent a massive undercount, which is aligned with everyone's anecdotal experience that they know of many more people who are SARS-CoV-2 positive than ever before. This is caused by several factors, including increased transmissibility of the BA.4, BA.5, and the emerging BA.2.75 sub-variants of Omicron, plus evasion of immunity conferred by vaccination or prior infection.
The "everyone is going to get it so no big deal" isn't supported by the evidence. While it's true that hospitalizations and deaths are considerably lower than in previous surges, that doesn't mean no harm is being done. For one thing, the probability of persistent COVID-19 symptoms, so-called long COVID, is unclear, but it is likely that the number of affected patients in the U.S. will be in the millions or more. As well, it is clear that there are long-term effects on organ systems even in people who became asymptomatic after their acute infection. It's also important to recognize that repeated infections appear to have cumulative deleterious affects. Here's an article from Eric Topol about reinfections:
Why a new report is so troubling
Which brings me to masks. @Herdfan
's post about them implies that mandates don't work. However, mandates are not the same as actual masking, and the low efficacy of most cloth masks compared to respirators blunts any positive effect. I switched to N99s last year and plan to continue wearing them. Will I got COVID-19 at some point? Perhaps, but I want to minimize the likelihood of repetition.
Here's a good article about how Japan has fared without mask mandates:
By MOTOKO RICH, BEN DOOLEYTo understand how Japan has fared better than most of the world in containing the dire consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, consi