The COVID-19 pandemic has altered everyone’s lifestyles whether it be for the worse or for the better. Some may be rejoicing that they don’t have to return to school, while others may be upset at the loss of the only real home they have ever known. While there is no way to stop the virus from spreading since people need to go to work and to the store, there is a way to ‘flatten the curve’: social distancing.
Flattening the curve means slowing down the spread of the virus to prevent healthcare workers and hospitals from being overwhelmed and overrun with cases of COVID-19. If everyone gets sick at the same time, there would clearly not be enough resources to treat everyone in a timely manner. By flattening the curve and slowing down the spread, we can simultaneously help our healthcare workers feel less stressed and help those in need of treatment receive help quicker.
Social distancing is a concept that should help us to do so, and I’m sure you have heard of it by now. Countless memes and Tik Toks have been made about this topic. The idea is simple: don’t go out into public places unless it is absolutely necessary and don’t go hang out with your friends at a house party or game night. Just stay home. Sounds easy enough. Until you actually do stay home.
I’ll be the first to admit that I was a part of the problem. I went to a family friend’s house to watch movies a couple nights, even after I had heard about social distancing--I’ve since learned from my mistakes and have been cooped up in my room ever since. Staying home with no human contact or socialization is hard.
We are social beings and crave communication with each other, and that was highly prevalent during the first week of practicing social distancing. However, these few months of staying home will seem minuscule once this is all over. In order for it to all be over, though, we have to listen to the warnings being given to us.
The CDC urges avoiding close contact. Their website states, “Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community,” and “The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.” Since younger people may not show symptoms and may merely be transportation for the virus, the best thing to do is avoid contact with everyone outside of your household.
You may not feel sick and you may not be sick, but there are plenty of other people that you could be affecting by choosing to go hang out with friends rather than stay at home. The elderly, those with asthma and those with weaker immune systems are just some of the people that you could be impacting negatively by not staying home.
Say you go to your friend’s house and it’s just a few people hanging out. You don’t think it’s a big deal, but one of your friends is still an essential employee so they go to work regularly at the grocery store. They could have been in contact with who knows how many other people and bacteria while working, and that could be passed to you. Or, you could be a vessel for the virus and it hops on over to your friend who then helps an elderly customer grab something off a shelf at the store the next day. That elderly person is way more susceptible to sickness than you or your friend.
So, when thinking about whether or not you should go to that house party or go play games with your family or friends, think of everyone that you could be affecting. Think of how much better the entire world will be in a few months if we all just stay home for this minuscule chunk of our lives. Nothing will get better if we continue to act selfishly. Think of others as well as yourselves, and the world will be better off and back to normal in no time.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of The Torch.