How We Are Failing With Covid

Time To Get Serious: Stop The Spread Before It Gets Worse

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Jennifer Love, Copy Editor

March 2020 marked the beginning of the pandemic of COVID-19. What began as a simple two week quarantine with only essential travel turned into an eight month and counting pandemic, affecting people across the world. When it started as a simple two week quarantine for the United States, students saw it as an extra long spring break from school, nonessential workers saw it as a vacation from work, and others saw it as nothing particularly new for them. Now November 2020, the pandemic is still hitting the United States hard with over 11.8 million cases and 252,000 deaths at the time this article was posted. With these tremendous and, frankly, obscene numbers, a person would think all citizens would take all possible measures of precaution. This assumption would prove wrong with mask wearing debates, complaints of infringement on freedom, and even the country’s own president downplaying the virus. 

Throughout this time, the CDC has set numerous safety measures in the times of going out to public areas or in the chance of exposure to the virus. One sore point of discussion in these safety measures, in regards to COVID-19: masks, a government mandate. With no middle ground, people either believe mask wearing as an effective form of prevention or a futile and inconvenient form. Studies show masks lowering the risk of contraction by 65%. Though it may not seem like a significant number, is it not better than 0%? In the possibility of exposure to the disease, the CDC put a two week quarantine in place, which is the maximum time for COVID-19 symptoms to show. As for those deniers of the seriousness of the pandemic, they do not follow these guidelines, either completely ignoring it or breaking the quarantine too early and continuing on with their lives, risking exposure to others around them. On average, every person infected with COVID-19 infects two other people. This would cause a dangerous chain reaction. Tests were developed early on in this historic event for the diagnosis of COVID-19. If a person at risk of exposure or someone with the possibility of having the virus receives testing, while waiting for results, people would believe they would go home and wait, just for the safety of others. Instead, again, most times the deniers will go out to eat afterwards or continue to go to work, selfishly assuming they do not have the virus. In this assumption, when they touch anything at work or a restaurant or cough or sneeze in a public place, they spread their infection through the air and surfaces. COVID-19 can last on some surfaces from anywhere to a few hours up to days. When someone infected with COVID-19 coughs or sneezes, the virus spread through respiratory droplets and can last for three hours, potentially infecting many. If and when they find out they, in fact, have the virus, they have now gone to various places spreading the virus to those around them. While the CDC put these measures in place for the safety of the entire population, those who do not have it in them to consider others or rebel for the sake of rebelling put everyone at risk around them to contract the virus. 

Since the entire country and world yearn for things to return to before the pandemic, they become lenient on the standards and requirements of public areas, or they never required them in the first place after nationwide quarantine broke. Stores say they require masks, but sometimes when a customer says they have one but do not put it on at the door, they do not stop them from entering the store. As the pandemic goes on, churches begin to return to normal schedules, not requiring masks as the government highly recommends. Schools are back in session, and with this, students, who usually have the freedom to not wear a mask in other places, have the requirement of wearing a mask to school everyday to protect themselves and others. While a requirement, the chance of school staff members catching every student in the hallways or the classroom or during lunch not wearing a mask or wearing it improperly is nearly impossible. The ability of students in high school to leave campus during lunch also puts fellow students and staff members at risk. While eating, they have no choice but to take off their masks in a public place where they risk exposure. When eating out during lunch, students and staff risk infection when touching surfaces in the restaurant or simply breathing the air with their mask off, not knowing if someone there before them had the virus and contaminated the area. Everyone wants for the world to go back to normal, but with these uncontrollable and unchangeable factors, it will take much longer than it could if everyone followed these guidelines. 

From the president’s handling of the virus in a nonchalant way to individuals’ ignorance of the severity of the virus, the country will eventually fall into a hole from dealing with the situation the wrong way where many die because of selfish and arrogant people. COVID-19 should not be compared to the flu. It can affect the younger generations. It can kill the younger generations. In a study of 1,482 COVID-19 cases, between March 1-23, 2020, 24.7% of hospitalizations were 18-49 year olds. Not every case of the virus has the same result. Just because a story spreads of someone surviving the virus or someone close to them survives it, it does not mean everyone will survive it, as shown by the statistics of COVID-19 related deaths. While it may inconvenience people to wear masks, follow requirements, and keep doing it for as long as it takes, it will be essential in the world moving on from this monumental event. If everyone does these things with the health and safety of people around them in mind, eventually this virus will die down and become another seasonal, “no big deal” virus.