As COVID-19 has begun to spread across the country, and the speculation that we would be sent home from Claremont has become a reality, some things have become very evident.
For one, this sucks.
It’s terrible for those who don’t have a good place to go — whether that’s because travel bans have limited their opportunities to return home, people can’t afford to go home or because the 5Cs have become home.
It’s terrible for all the seniors who could graduate without a commencement. It’s terrible for our classes, many of which are discussion-based and won’t function well online.
It’s terrible for the sports teams that will lose their seasons, for the many seniors who will never play their sports again.
Selfishly, it’s terrible for this newspaper, which will be forced to stop printing until classes resume as normal. Most of our operations will be canceled — with no events or happenings on campus, there’s not much to write about.
However, as bad as this is for everyone involved, coronavirus is here, and it is serious.
James Lawler, director of international programs and innovation at the Global Center for Health Security, recently told public health officials to prepare for “disease burden roughly 10 [times of] severe flu season.” Since October 2019, the CDC estimates between 18,000 and 46,000 people have died from the flu, and between 32 million to 45 million people have contracted the illness.
Multiply those numbers by 10 for coronavirus, and that becomes an incredibly concerning potential reality.
So while it is completely rational to be upset about the realities and effects of the pandemic, we also need to take this threat seriously, and be rational about what we need to do to help.
We need to start practicing social distancing and alter our daily routines — as The Washington Post wrote this week, “The goal isn’t to stop the virus; not anymore. It is to slow it down.”
Every measure we take, as a society and individually, will help save lives. Maybe not the lives of the many of us who share good health, but the lives of those who don’t — either because of age, pre-existing conditions or socioeconomic disadvantages that can leave people susceptible.
So, please do everything you can to limit your potential exposure to the disease, whether you’re going home or not. Wash your hands, stay inside, avoid big crowds. With enough effort, despite the temporary inconveniences, we can slow this thing down.
For now, it’s all we can do.
TSL’s editorial board is comprised of its editor-in-chief and two managing editors, and does not necessarily represent the views of other TSL staff members.