The isolation, loneliness and boredom of the lockdown from the past month is sure to be unsettling for most students, and everyone is itching to go back outside and see their long-lost friends. However, once the state lockdown ends on April 20, the essential role of staying home and away from others is still crucial to cease the spread of COVID-19 throughout Indiana.
The importance of social distancing is not only to ensure your own safety, but the safety of others as well, especially those who may face real consequences upon contracting the virus. This includes the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, including conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or anyone undergoing cancer treatment, that can leave them vulnerable to the virus.
While the CDC predicts 25 percent of cases are asymptomatic, according to the CNN, research in an Iceland lab suggests up to 50 percent of coronavirus cases have no symptoms. This means that many people who are choosing to walk outdoors, visit the grocery store or go to work may not even realize they are sick or be aware that they are passing the disease onto others.
Research also suggests that symptoms of the coronavirus, such as fever, chills and a cough, may not appear until 2 to 14 days after the virus has been contracted. This leaves a 2-week period for an infected individual to unintentionally spread the virus before they even know they are sick. An infected individual is most contagious 24 hours before they develop a fever.
However, for many students, dedication to work and other errands means it is required for them to go out, whether this is “grocery shopping for [family]” like senior Jacob Marshall or going out to work like senior Cosette Wu. In these cases, wearing masks and generally keeping your distance is recommended as a continuum to stop the spread of the virus to yourself or others.
Social distancing is understandably a difficult task and can lead to feelings of loneliness and boredom upon not being able to interact with anyone outside of your own home. Senior Nathan Zeichner agrees with the overall isolation of undertaking social and physical distancing.
“It is kinda exhausting being alone all the time. Being with people makes life seem more normal,” he said.
However, it is still vital to keep in mind why exactly remaining home and away from others is so important. Even as social distancing guidelines begin to loosen, experts still worry of a ‘second wave’ of the coronavirus hitting Indiana as more and more people begin to go out during the summer, leading to another peak in cases.
It is frustrating to continue isolating ourselves and being away from family, friends and other loved ones and made even more difficult from the fact that no one really seems to know the answer of when things can exactly go back to ‘normal’. There is one positive that remains constant throughout the isolation of social distancing, and that is the importance of keeping yourself and your family safe.