I’m sure you’ve already seen the pictures and videos by now of parties being held off campus, bars packed like a can of sardines, all with a lack of masks and physical distancing. You name it, we’ve likely already had it around these parts. To be honest with you, it’s stupidity like this that makes me want to hop in the car and book it to a mental hospital.
All told, I truly think the countdown is on to an online-only semester like a repeat of the disaster we collectively muddled through last spring. It’s another variable in this era of seemingly incessant fluidity.
As of this writing, just over 230 cases of novel coronavirus have been confirmed in Nodaway County. Statewide, per the Show-Me Strong Recovery Plan interactive tracker, the number of COVID-19 cases reaches nearly 69,000. To make matters worse, Missouri’s positivity rate is up past 11%. For those keeping score at home, that’s enough to put the state in the so-called “red zone” for COVID-19 cases.
Anyone with a brain would likely see these figures and have enough evidence that this pandemic is far from over. Nonetheless, there are still plenty of tumbleweeds who think wearing a mask is a political statement or that physical distancing is some lost art that is proving toxic to their social lives.
Look, I get it. We’ve all been away from our friends and instructors for five months now. Even for introverts like myself, that alone time is mentally taxing. I know you’re excited to catch up with friends and go do the things you’re used to doing on this campus or in the community. Think of coming back here as a privilege, though.
With the ability to stay here comes responsibility for each and every one of us to take precautions seriously. For that matter, it’s common decency to follow guidelines. Northwest’s administration and public health officials haven’t been asking you to wear masks and distance and wash your hands without reason.
The fight against this virus is a team effort. Wear a face covering while inside public spaces and anywhere physical separation cannot be maintained. If you feel ill, stay home and contact your primary care provider. If a contract tracer calls you and advises you to isolate for two weeks, park your butt there and do it.
Remember when they taught you back in kindergarten how to properly wash your hands? Put that into use. And, for the love of all things holy, do NOT go to the biggest party on the block just so you can be the first to catch the virus or get tanked. If you do, I guarantee you we’ll all be back to Zoom and not leaving our homes within the next month. And nobody wants that.
Remember, around 40% of coronavirus cases are completely asymptomatic. Chances are you may be a carrier and not know it, even if you’re tested and initial results show you’re negative. That silent spread could prove deadly for you and someone you love. Please — let’s be safe this fall. We’re all in this together. Let’s act like it and look out for our fellow man.