By Dveen Hagopian
With the stress of Presidential elections, online school, and the general chaos of the holidays approaching, many of us have become distracted with all that’s going on and nearly forgotten about the ongoing pandemic. The virus has been a concern in the U.S. for about nine months now, and the panic and worry regarding its detrimental effects has severely plummeted, although statistics are getting worse rather than better.
Americans seem to have become fairly comfortable with the thought of a deadly disease outbreak. Once a global concern that collectively brought everyone together to do whatever they could to stop the spread, COVID-19 is no longer prioritized as a serious threat in many people’s daily lives. Even worse, many seem to have forgotten just how dangerous this virus really is.
Despite the fact that, according to the New York Times, there are over 10,000 cases of COVID-19 cases reported each day in the U.S., compared to 1,000 when lock down began, many Americans are no longer quarantining or staying in isolation. There are over 10 million cases that have been reported since the pandemic began, yet the worry seems to have diminished.
Logically, it would make sense for Americans to be even more worried about COVID-19 now than they were back in March or April, as there are far more cases and therefore a much higher likelihood of contracting the virus now. Unfortunately, however, most people are beginning to act on their emotions rather than their logic, and shopping or dining as usual simply because they are bored.
This results in a recurring pattern in which the more time goes by, the more people get bored and go out, which then increases the spread and number of COVID-19 cases in the country. This glaring exhibition of selfish behavior and lack of strict lockdown laws is the reason the U.S. has the most of COVID-19 cases in the world as well as the most COVID-19 deaths.
Although the U.S. is, without a doubt, leading the world in COVID-19 cases, Europe is beginning to catch up again. During the first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak, Europe was hit hard, and countries such as Italy and France had some of the most alarming numbers.
However, due to strict quarantine and social distancing rules that most everyone in Europe abided by, the numbers dropped in a matter of months, and life in Europe was able to return to somewhat normal for a short period of time. That is until recently, as it is now reported that a second wave in Europe is causing the number of cases to rise again, according to the New York Times. Many European countries are acting quickly in response, with France, Germany, and New England having already re-imposed lockdowns and instructed citizens to stay home.
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent Presidential election win has left many Americans optimistic that the pandemic will be taken more seriously, and more action will be taken to decrease the number of cases. According to Biden’s official campaigning website, the Biden administration plans to “mount a decisive public health response that ensures the wide availability of free testing,” as well as develop a vaccine as soon as possible. Biden has also stated that he will eliminate all cost barriers to inhibitory COVID-19 treatment and provide all necessary supplies and facilities needed for patients. Regardless of the actions the President-elect will take, it is important for every American to take responsibility and do what they can to prevent the spread.
With 2020 coming to an end, the majority of us are understandably growing weary of the effects that the COVID-19 outbreak has had on the world, and more specifically, the United States. Many of us were not expecting to self-isolate for this long, and we are all longing to go back to our normal lives. Being unable to see our friends and family members, go to school, or do the other day-to-day activities we were so used to doing is bound to take its toll on mental health and overall quality of life.
With that said, it is still important to keep in mind why social distancing guidelines are encouraged. The more you go out, whether it be to restaurants, parties, or even just the grocery store, the higher your chance of contracting and/or spreading the virus is. This is not to say that you should never leave your house, but you should only go out to places if you absolutely need to, and if you decide to go out, be sure to keep your mask on and maintain distance from others. Yes, this means avoiding going to parties, as they are an extremely quick way for COVID-19 to spread to a multitude of people. It is important to remember that the virus is airborne, so it can spread to people even without physical contact.
In addition, many people who contract COVID-19 are asymptomatic, meaning that they are likely unaware that they even have the virus, which makes it incredibly dangerous as they can unknowingly spread it to others.
The impact of COVID-19 on a person’s health greatly varies depending on their age, genetics, or health background. While some people barely have a sore throat, others can end up in the hospital for weeks, or even pass away from the virus. Regardless of whether you believe COVID-19 will harm you or not, it is everyone’s responsibility to do their part in keeping those around them safe and healthy, which can be done by staying home, social distancing, and wearing a mask.
This is why, as difficult as it may be, it is best to play it safe and just stay home to avoid as much contact with others as possible.