If you need a reminder that health bureaucrats and Democratic politicians are going to keep COVID-19 restrictions going as long as possible, Oregon is offering the country a glimpse into the future with its permanent mask mandate.

Oregon’s indoor mask mandate was imposed from May 2020 to June 2021, lifted briefly, and then reimposed in August. The state’s current mandate is in place until February, but that apparently isn’t good enough in a state where 75% of adults have been fully vaccinated.

The Oregon Health Authority’s Rules Advisory Committee has begun drafting a permanent set of rules for the state’s mask mandate. The permanent rule can be ended at any time by state health leaders, but given Oregon’s track record, which includes at one point mandating that athletes in outdoor sports wear masks during competition, it’s safe to say such a "permanent" rule would be around for quite a while.

You can see the signs of permanent COVID-19 mandates from politicians and bureaucrats everywhere. Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said last month that you must have a booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky has signaled that the definition of “fully vaccinated” could change because of booster shots, while President Joe Biden tries to enforce mandates that would get people fired for not being "fully vaccinated."

These restrictions are not going to go away absent widespread rejection of them or a change in leadership of the administrations imposing them. It does not matter how many children get vaccinated: The University of Massachusetts Amherst is already mandating boosters for students, even though unvaccinated college students are at little risk from the virus, let alone students who have already received two doses of the vaccine.

There is not going to be a natural end to these measures. The people putting them in place are obsessed with case numbers, not deaths or hospitalizations. The goalposts have moved constantly, from “15 days to slow the spread” along with mask mandates to vaccine mandates and booster mandates (and still mask mandates). Children, who (even unvaccinated) are at less risk from the virus than vaccinated adults, have faced mask mandates and canceled sports and school activities for nearly two years now.

Most of these COVID-19 policies are incoherent, dismissing the efficacy of vaccines or the actual data about COVID-19 in favor of panic over case numbers or the next new COVID-19 variant. This is all in pursuit of the mythical goal of zero COVID-19 cases, which is never going to happen. This virus is going to be around for a long time, and, at this rate, so will these restrictions and mandates.