By Grace Welsh–
There’s no debating that the last five months of our lives have been full of uncertainty and confusion. We are living through events that no one alive has experienced before.
With the start of a new school year and students returning to campus, the temptation to socialize in big groups is strong. However, it is imperative that we limit these gatherings for the sake of our community.
Earlier this month, an off-campus party was linked to 29 cases of COVID-19 in U of L athletes. Officials in the department have suspended workouts for men and women’s soccer, field hockey, and volleyball for the next week. They have also dismissed the three men’s soccer members that were responsible for organizing the party.
In a press release last Tuesday, U of L’s Athletic Director Vince Tyra said he was disappointed by the athletes actions.
“It is clear that these student-athletes did not meet the code of conduct of the university or their team,” Tyra said. “Ignoring the safety protocols issued by federal, state and local officials, as well as the athletic department, is unacceptable and dangerous. Their history of actions are not in alignment with the values of this university and athletics department.”
A majority of the 29 cases were asymptomatic, but the virus is not something to be messed with.
The CDC reports that older individuals and those with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk for long-term respiratory, cardiovascular and kidney damage from the virus. So, while you may be fine if you contract the virus, others may not be.
“Time and time again, it’s shown that transmission is ongoing before we have a grasp of the numbers,” said Erin Welsh, a candidate in disease ecology and host of This Podcast Will Kill You. “This is due to slow testing, transmission before symptoms, and the high numbers of asymptomatic individuals.”
Because of the high rate of asymptomatic cases, it is impossible to tell who is infected and who is not without a test. Therefore, it is best to keep the parties to an absolute minimum. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear highly encourages gatherings of no more than 10 people.
A party with just one or two infected individuals can be deadly when the newly infected people go out in the community.
We don’t know how long it will take for things to return back to normal. Until then, it’s important that we do our part to exercise necessary health precautions. Wash your hands frequently, wear a mask in public and stay at least six feet apart from others.
We are all in this together.
Let’s all put in the effort to stay home so we can protect our community and slow the spread. While it is definitely tempting to socialize with everyone you missed over quarantine, that doesn’t mean the virus isn’t still a prevalent part of our lives.
File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal