by Jetta Colsch | Class of 2021 | Apr. 14, 2020
America is the land of the free. We hear and see this saying everywhere, from political rallies to 4th of July celebrations. But while we may be free, we are NOT invincible.
Amid this COVID-19 outbreak, there are a lot of freedoms we have had to give up. I understand that it may be a difficult task - but it’s not impossible. So please… STAY HOME!
It may have begun overseas, but this global pandemic has exploded in the U.S. with case numbers rising above Italy and even China. With a population less than 24% of China’s (as of 2017), it seems nearly impossible for our case numbers to somehow be over triple those of China - 735%, to be exact. In theory, we should have a much lower number of infected people, yet the number of U.S. cases has skyrocketed.
Since the first U.S. case of COVID-19 was reported on Jan. 20, the pandemic has grown exponentially. As of 8:30 p.m. on April 14, the United States had the highest number of confirmed cases in the world- a massive 605,193 cases, over double the number from one week prior. With 25,757 U.S. deaths (a number which more than quadrupled in that same week), we have surpassed Italy by over 4,000 in mere days. And that number is continuing to rise.
In the beginning, people used the “coronavirus” as the butt of many, many jokes. Memes, gifs, and TikToks were everywhere, belittling the real effect the virus would, did, and will continue to have on our country and the world. A lot of this is caused by the fact that Americans often view themselves as untouchable. We live in a country filled with freedom and opportunity, but that doesn’t mean that we are immune to the struggles the rest of the world often faces. Believing anything else is simply naive.
The biggest problem is that these feelings of immortality come from nothing but ignorance. The government has warranted social distancing as a way to keep us and those around us safe from COVID-19, but there are countless people still deciding to travel and have parties, bonfires, and get-togethers. When
instruction from the state government, the federal government,
and the World Health Organization (WHO) is blatantly disregarded, it heightens the risk of exposure to those ignoring it and endangers the lives of anyone they interact with people who have been exposed may not even experience symptoms for up to two weeks after the initial contact with the virus. Without the fever, cough, or shortness of breath often associated with COVID-19, people may think that they are safe to go to Walmart or through the drive-thru at McDonald’s without putting others at risk. This is one of the main reasons that social distancing is being enforced: You never know who could be at risk or putting you in harm’s way.
Every 24 hours, the U.S. confirms appx. 30,000 new cases and 2,000 deaths. That means that while you are reading this article, COVID-19 will cause at least 66 people to be admitted to hospitals and kill four others in the U.S. alone.
As much as we don’t want to interrupt ourselves living the American Dream, the reality is we can only get back to normal by doing something abnormal. Discipline now is the only way we’ll be able to restore our freedoms for the future.
Our healthcare employees are working tirelessly to help us, and I think it’s time we all do our part to help them. If doctors and nurses can work 12+ hour-long shifts away from their families, risking their lives to help those already infected, we should do everything we can to stop infecting more and more people.
So please, for their sake, my sake, and your sake… stay at home! There are too many people ignoring what’s going on and living life as if there are no consequences. There’s nothing more we can do than to stay clean, healthy, and safe inside our homes, lowering the risk of exposure to people who could be infected and likely won’t know about it for weeks. I’m asking you to keep yourself safe so you can keep others safe.
No matter what we may have thought before, we now know one thing: We are not invincible.