By: Nicolas Rontanini
If we looked at the news this week, we saw updates surrounding Covid, including the surging number of cases in the country. Given the nature of the pandemic so far, most people are understandably worried about what this means going forward. According to the news, the rate of infection is likely to keep increasing. The onset of the pandemic has led to a variety of problems already, and it might very well cause new ones.
According to CNN, about 49 percent of Americans said they would shelter in place should the order be given. This is down from 67 percent who said the same in late March and early April. The pandemic was a main topic throughout the election, with both political parties having very different views on the severity and how to handle it, which continues to do damage because of misinformation. Cases around the country are rising and the states that seemed to have a grasp on the situation started backsliding. In New York, for example, the daily positivity rate, according to CNN, rose to over 3 percent on at least one day, whereas the seven-day average and the 14-day average rose to above 2 percent. That was vastly different than 0.8 percent early in September. Nationally just this week, the seven-day average rose to 2,249 deaths, breaking the previous mark of 2,232 set on April 17 in the early weeks of the pandemic, according to the “New York Times.” Further, the U.S. is now approaching 300,000 deaths.
The positivity rate is also up worldwide, especially in Belgium and the Czech Republic. Cases in these countries have significantly increased, with the positivity rate in Belgium rising to 18 percent in October from their previous 2 percent in mid-September. Belgian epidemiologist Pierre Van Damme said that universities reopening was a driver for new cases, with students going home on the weekends and spreading the infection to their parents.
With these facts in mind, it’s understandable why people might be worried about the months to come. Health officials and aides to Mayor Bill DeBlasio have told the public that broader restrictions would be put into place should the positivity rate exceed 3 percent, including school shutdowns in New York. Some restrictions have been put into place, such as the rule for restaurants to close at 10 pm and for UrgentCare to close 90 minutes earlier each day since November 16. Due to the spike in cases, there is concern that households and individuals who have contracted the virus may even catch it again. With the holidays approaching, officials have advised that families should find alternative methods of celebrating, according to the “Washington Post.”
However, we can’t let ourselves be completely overtaken by panic. This climb in cases is certainly worrisome, but if we take precautions, a second wave can be avoided. Health officials are doing what they can to keep people safe. A long-desired vaccine seems to be on the way. Regardless, we also have to be sure we’re taking the proper precautions. Wearing a mask when going outside, washing our hands frequently and maintianing social distance are important preventative measures we can take to make sure that the events of this spring don't repeat themselves.
It’s important to say that it’s okay to be a little worried. These are difficult times, and nobody knows exactly how to navigate them with total certainty. It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and even harder to try and stay positive. Nothing about this is easy, but we can get through it. If we keep the right attitude, we'll make it to the other side. We just need to learn from the way our country responded to the arrival of Covid in the spring. Patience and discipline are necessary. We must hold ourselves accountable for preventing the spread, taking preventative measures to protect those around us. Keep in mind for the coming months: we can, and will, pull through.