The COVID-19 pandemic has taken over all media and news sites. It’s impossible to get on a computer nowadays without seeing the newest updates regarding the virus. This international pandemic is taking its toll on many people in many different ways. It has specifically affected UC Santa Barbara students by forcing Spring Quarter 2020 classes to move online, with university administration imploring those in their hometowns currently to stay put and avoid returning to Isla Vista. People have been laid off or are working remotely from home indefinitely. Stores are being closed and many public recreational areas have been closed by the government in order to promote social distancing.
On March 19, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order. This means that California residents should stay inside, except for essential movements such as trips to the grocery store. Realistically, law enforcement cannot keep everyone in check and ensure that all of the people they see out are on “essential” errands. For this reason, the choice is ultimately left to the individual: a true test of our society’s self control and selflessness.
For many in their late teens and early twenties, it may feel as though we do not need to self-quarantine. We may feel as if we are invincible against this virus, as we have been told that the mortality rate for young adults is lower. As the virus first appeared significantly in the United States around the time of spring break for many schools, this question of self-control has truly been put to the test for college students. As has been reported, many students threw caution to the wind and went on their planned vacations, regardless of the potential repercussions. This “coronavirus isn’t going to stop me,” mindset is dangerous for our entire population. Even after the new stay-at-home order was put in place, we are seeing many people in the younger generation continue to go out with friends and ignore warnings.
This “coronavirus isn’t going to stop me,” mindset is dangerous for our entire population.
The coronavirus is extremely contagious. Even if you were to get the virus and be ultimately unaffected by it, you would more than likely spread it to the people you have interacted with. This then causes a chain reaction, as they may spread it to people they come in contact with, and so on. Eventually, one case can easily turn into thousands. The virus spreads in an exponential way. You may be fine, you may get over it quickly, maybe even get through the disease without hospitalization, but the people who you transmit it to might not be so lucky.
Even as the mortality rates in the under-30 age range are lower, they are not zero. As The Washington Post states, there is so much about the virus that is unknown. The virus presents itself within people differently, some cases being much more severe than others. At this time, doctors are having a difficult time deciphering precisely what underlying health issues may cause these differences. While children under 19 are seemingly at a decreased risk, there have reportedly been detrimental and even deadly cases within the young adult age range, contrary to popular belief.
As doctors are learning more about the virus, they are still struggling to identify what causes certain cases to become more severe. According to Dr. Peter Hotez,“it’s possible people in their 20s and 30s may develop severe illness.” NBC News writes that when COVID-19 presents itself in younger people with pre-existing medical issues, the disease can have a severe effect. Because so much regarding the coronavirus is uncertain, it is best to take as much precaution as possible. It is important to recognize the privilege that many of us have in that the virus will likely not be deadly to us, and to take care of those who do not have the same privilege.
According to The New York Times, “If it were possible to wave a magic wand and make all Americans freeze in place for 14 days while sitting six feet apart, epidemiologists say, the whole epidemic would sputter to a halt.” While this situation is not possible, what is possible is to do what we each can and listen to what our leaders are suggesting. That is, to self-quarantine, donate when we can and reach out to medical professionals via phone when presenting symptoms.
Because so much regarding the coronavirus is uncertain, it is best to take as much precaution as possible.
Believe me, I understand the temptation. Having just moved back to my hometown, I want nothing more than to reach out to my high school friends and hang out. However, I recognize that this is bigger than myself and that I have the power to protect those who are elderly or immunosuppressed. There are still many ways to reach out to loved ones: FaceTime, Netflix Party, online games and all outlets of social media.
It is important to recognize the actual rules of the stay-at-home order. It does not necessarily mean to literally stay at home. You can still go outside, respecting the social distancing rules, go on walks alone or go on drives alone. Restaurants are still open for non dine-in options, and grocery stores and pharmacies remain open. When going on essential excursions, it is important to use safety measures: practice social distancing, sanitization, wear gloves and masks when possible. We are in the midst of a terribly detrimental international crisis. Now, more than ever, we must act with unity and selflessness. We must remain aware of the impact our actions can have on one another.
Sophia Lovell urges you to stay inside!