Election Day has come and gone, and COVID-19 is still here. Northwest is nearing the end of its first semester, and cases on campus are spiking again. Missouri and Maryville are seeing drastic rises in COVID-19.
The virus doesn’t just disappear because we have grown tired of it. Now is not the time to fall into COVID-19 fatigue, because the more lackadaisical we become with safety guidelines, the more prolonged the pandemic becomes.
March seems like eons ago at this point. Looking back on photos, videos and events prior to the third month of 2020 seem like a glimpse into a different society altogether. Thousands packed shoulder to shoulder in arenas without care. Classes were filled with students, and to most of us, Zoom didn’t exist. It was blissful, and all of us are yearning to return to that, but we can’t because people won’t follow the rules.
All summer long, we heard about flattening the curve and the impending second wave. Still, many lived carefree lives ensuring us that once again normalcy would happen despite their actions.
We didn’t think the coronavirus would disrupt the whole summer. It did. We didn’t think it would last into the first semester. It has. There was going to be a vaccine by Election Day. There wasn’t. And now we are staring at the summer of 2021 for a possible vaccine and hopefully an end to this dreadful “new normal” that we live in.
The simple fact is that Maryville and Missouri as a whole are doing poorly at managing the pandemic. Nodaway County has almost 270 active positive cases and 70 hospitalizations from COVID-19, according to the Nodaway County Health Department. As of Nov. 8, cases in Missouri were up 87% over the last 14 days and hospitalizations were up 26%, according to the New York Times.
While Maryville has a mask mandate, which the City Council just extended through January, it’s not being enforced. There have been no citations issued for violation of the ordinance to this point. Gov. Mike Parson, who has refused to do much of anything on a state level as far as COVID-19 safety protocols, was just overwhelmingly reelected. Do people not realize that if we continue down the path we are going now we only have to suffer longer?
The more COVID-19 is present in our society, the worse it is for all of us. The economy will continue to be in the toilet. The unemployment rate will stay high. Small businesses will be hit the hardest. Oh, and people will continue to die because of frivolous objections to guidelines based purely on scientific fact.
It doesn’t have to be this way either; some countries were on top of the pandemic from the start. New Zealand — which is obviously different from the U.S. but still a good example of how COVID-19 guidelines work when followed — a place where people actually listen to reason, has had a remarkable time with COVID-19. The country's graph of cases looks like what experts told us would happen if we listened to them back in March. They have had few deaths and a low transmission rate because they followed guidelines and listened to scientists.
Want to watch your kids play sports in person, in a crowd without fear of having to quarantine for weeks later? Wear a mask. Want to eat out with friends without needing to remember to bring a mask, before July? Stop throwing house parties, now. Would you like to avoid your parents’ being laid off or a terrible job market when you graduate? Isolate yourself when you have symptoms. Want to visit your grandparents without fear you could possibly kill them? Limit your exposure to others.
We don’t get to stop following traffic laws because we get tired of them. Restaurants can’t start selling alcohol to minors because they will make more money without fear of repercussions.
COVID-19 is still here, and the more people act like guidelines don’t need to be followed because of COVID-19 fatigue, the longer it will last. People are dying, so no, you don’t get to grow tired of wearing a mask and social distancing. Listen to experts and follow guidelines. It’s better for everyone.