OP-ED: Preventing the Spread

Abby Hansbury

The COVID-19 cases have spiked within the last month and have reached higher numbers than ever before. With the opening of schools, sport games being played between different towns, and the idea that the spread of the virus will end soon is all increasing the numbers of cases as well misleading people to believe that they do not need to be as cautious as they needed to be in March when it began. However, now is a time to be more cautious than ever as the number of cases has reached 10 million in The United States. When schools were closed in March, there were only about 250,000 cases. By wearing a mask consistently and correctly, social distancing more within events inside and outside of school, and eliminating HIPAA for certain cases, the spread of coronavirus can be decreased with hopes of a near vaccine as well.

Although schools have tried to limit chance of contact with cohorts and Remote learning as a hybrid system, the cohort idea is not very useful if such a high percentage of the school is participating in sports. I personally do want fall sports to continue, but I think it may be smarter to hold off on these leagues until the cases decrease. Students from both cohorts are able to play together, not only within the team, but with other teams from separate towns as well. If one player on a team has coronavirus, or if the town itself is considered in the red, the team should not be able to participate in out of town games for at least two weeks.

The fact that some people believe that masks are an “optional” or “unnecessary” part of stopping the spread of the virus shocks me. There is scientific proof that reduces the spread of the virus and decreases the cases greatly. Although it does not completely solve the issue, if more people had worn masks when they were told to, the cases would not have increased so abruptly. Donald Trump has multiple rallies where masks are not required and this event alone has been linked to over 30,000 cases and around 700 deaths. He continuously spread the idea that masks are useless and that coronavirus does not exist if he personally could overcome it which is simply not true. There is scientific evidence that supports making cases. For example, according to USFC education news, “The first five days after a mandate, the daily growth rate slowed by 0.9 percentage-points compared to the five days prior to the mandate; at three weeks, the daily growth rate had slowed by 2 percentage-points.” Even if wearing a mask only protects others and not yourself as well as not being a permanent solution, any decrease in the number of cases is beneficial and will save lives. Wearing gators within public areas should not be allowed because there is also scientific evidence that proves that they do not stop the spread of germs from one person to another.

Additionally, I believe that HIPAA privacy is an important agreement to continue for almost all forms of patient healthcare. However, the school not being able to release who has acquired coronavirus is very off-leading to me because if students are not informed of a case, they may continue to expose themselves and others with no clue that they may be asymptomatic. Personal information from a patient’s healthcare should continue to remain private and not be shared with others, but in the midst of a global pandemic, it is vital to share these cases to stop the spread of the virus more rapidly. People’s lives should matter more than their privacy at this time because this pandemic is nothing like anything people have seen or experienced before. Unknown issues need to have new and improved solutions and tactics to save millions of lives. If making coronavirus cases to be more public information that is accessible to those who are exposed is going to save multiple lives and spread cases, then I believe that these guidelines should be pushed aside as we have to learn to adapt with the challenges that are presented to us during this global pandemic.

There are many other locations around the world such as New Zealand and Vietnam that have reported under 2,000 coronavirus cases total and less than 200 deaths. New Zealand has only reported 20 deaths total. Although circumstances may differ in these parts of the world, there are many improvements that can be made. Being more cautious in the past back in March would have been the most beneficial, but as of now the United States needs to take a step back and realize the amount of lives being lost in addition to wearing masks and listening to global recommendations to decrease the spread of the virus.