January 13, 2021

COVID could have been over by now if we held ourselves accountable

Covid strikes at the University

Catherine Brown–

In just a few weeks, it’ll mark the one year anniversary since the WHO declared COVID-19 a global health emergency and only a few months out from being declared a pandemic. If we took collective responsibility to be safe, we probably could’ve ended this months ago.

It’s safe to say that when the pandemic started, nobody had a clue that it would last as long as it has. As we approach the ‘1 year’ mark, maybe we should reflect on what we could’ve done right to prevent this.

First, lack of mask wearing. Unfortunately, wearing masks has become a political hot topic since they were first mandated in public places. 

Patrick Van Kessel and Dennis Quinn, researchers for the Pew Research Center, found that Democrats and Republicans have been divided on masks for different reasons.

For Democrats, the major drawbacks for mask-wearing included the concern that other people were not wearing their masks. 

For Republicans, the concern is that they’re unnecessary and don’t actually work.

Political skepticism alone has created so much of a divide on handling COVID-19.

U of L requires that students wear masks on campus and in public spaces. 

But that also leaves certain areas on campus susceptible to spread coronavirus. Dining areas, the library and housing are all at risk for spreading the virus as students often take their masks off in indoor areas, often within close proximity. 

And it’s no secret by now that there have been parties held near campus resulting in multiple positive cases

Traveling has also been a huge issue. Within the last year there have been several major holidays in which traveling is common, including Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Many U of L students have taken advantage of the university’s holiday breaks. While the main campus hasn’t been nearly as crowded in the last semester, many students are, in fact, coming back to campus after traveling. We see that after these breaks, there are always spikes in COVID-19 cases that appear on the university’s testing dashboard.

During these breaks, vacation hotspots like Florida or South Carolina were still busy with tourists. 

Those that continue to travel for leisure or other non-business reasons are blatantly disregarding the suggestions of numerous state governors. 

Because of this, the virus has reached so many more people and now we all have to face the consequences by continuing to quarantine, work through online classes and follow strict guidelines in public as well as within the university.

In the meantime, if you plan to return to campus at any point during the semester, particularly after recently after winter break, you need to get a COVID-19 test.

We could’ve slowed the spread of coronavirus months ago if we’d all done our part and enforced the safety precautions like wearing a mask, keeping socially distant and not traveling unless absolutely necessary. If you’ve traveled anywhere with a high volume of COVID-19 cases, please be responsible and do not return to campus until you have quarantined and been tested. 

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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