February 23, 2021

Stay home: Traveling over spring break is a risk you shouldn’t take

By Zachary Baker–

It seems insane to imagine that we are nearing the one-year anniversary of when this pandemic began, for many of us it feels as if time just stopped. 

So many of us feel as though the only way that we know time is passing is because deadlines for assignments get closer and closer. It may feel like we all need a vacation, a trip to the beach, or to Las Vegas for a night on the town. It may be tempting with classes online and spring break coming up soon. 

But don’t fall to temptation. Rather, stay strong, stay home and stay safe over the next couple of months.

According to data reported by The New York Times, the 7-day average for new cases of COVID-19 within Jefferson County have been declining since early January.

In February, the rate of new cases dipped below 1,000 on 3 separate days. For a brief period, Jefferson County was considered an “orange county” as the incidence rate dropped to less than 25 cases per 100,000 individuals.

At the time of this article’s publication Jefferson County is back to being a red county.

With vaccinations coming, and many people that we know already receiving them, it may seem as if this is almost all over and we can return to normal. However, being near the end doesn’t mean that the threat of the pandemic is over yet. 

“The benefits of travel simply aren’t worth the risks, yet,” said Scott LaJoie, an associate professor of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences at U of L. “By spring break, too few people will be fully vaccinated, there are new strains of SARS-COV-2 trying to get established, and we could end up giving the pandemic new life if we stop doing what we know works.” 

The threat that a new strain could go around before we are ready to stop our current one is very real, and it is a situation that we see happening in other parts of the world. 

At the same time, you want to go out and do something fun to get away from the same old routine you find yourself caught in. But you do not have to travel in order to get away from our routines. You can find fun at home under current protections. 

One option is to travel to one of the nature trails or parks within the county and get a breath of fresh air and exercise. Another is to have small get-togethers with friends on Zoom for some much-needed social time. 

“With mass vaccinations underway, the end of the pandemic is finally coming into view. We have the tools to keep ourselves and others safe. It is up to us not to stumble at the finish line,” said Ryan Combs, an assistant U of L professor of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences.

We are close to winning against this disease, and while it may be awhile before things feel normal again, we shouldn’t risk our lives and the lives of others for an attempt to get away from it all. 

Stay home, stay in Louisville, stay safe and let’s beat this thing.

Graphic by Andrew Campbell // The Louisville Cardinal 

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