Social distancing and quarantine. You should be familiar with these terms by now, since it is talked about everywhere: the news, social media, and all other forms of media that we consume daily. It has become our new normal. Well, for most of us.
I can’t begin to describe how frustrating it is to see people, including some that I know, not complying with social distancing.
While scrolling through my social media feeds the past couple of weeks, in between the COVID-19 updates and the quarantine memes, I saw photos of people enjoying vacations. Some I knew personally, others were acquaintances or friends of friends, but it didn’t change my feelings about it.
I stopped scrolling, looked at the photos and just stared at them for a few moments in disbelief. People were actually at the beach for the second week of “spring break?” Friends were at gatherings, drinking and having fun, during a time like this? I couldn’t wrap my head around it then, and I still can’t.
It feels like we live in two separate worlds. My new normal is staying home and keeping my distance from people when I have to leave the house for necessities. But for others, it’s as though their lives haven’t been disrupted at all. They are carrying on as normal, and that infuriates and disappoints me.
As this self-quarantine progresses, I continue to see people sharing photos of themselves hanging out with friends. Going for a walk with a friend they aren’t quaranting with, having a cookout with friends, letting their children have playdates with others… The list goes on. It seems like they do not understand any of this. Not only are you supposed to stay at home, but you should only be near people who live with you, in your household. So if your mom, your sister, your best friend, or your boyfriend do not live with you, they cannot come over. It’s that simple.
By not following those guidelines, you’re putting your friends and family at risk, and extending this lockdown.
So many people are sacrificing normalcy, their businesses, their jobs, to stay home and keep their communities safe. Many are not visiting their grandparents, or loved ones who are considered high risk, because they want to keep them safe. Why should you be any different?
You may be young and healthy, but you could still become infected. Data provided by the CDC shows that 20% of those hospitalized from COVID19 were aged 20-44 years. You are not invincible.
And if you don’t necessarily get sick, you can still contribute to spreading the illness to others. You don’t want to be that person.
You can be asymptomatic, or a “carrier” of the virus, which means you feel fine but you still pass the virus to other people. In fact, the director of the CDC says as many as 25 percent of people infected may not show symptoms.
On top of that, it can take anywhere between one and 14 days before someone starts showing symptoms.
The bottom line is that nobody wants to be stuck at home. We all miss our friends and family. It can be boring, but remember that you are not the only one who has to make that sacrifice. By defying recommendations of social distancing, you are being selfish and ultimately putting others at risk.
Why not Facetime a friend or family member, or get in touch through Zoom? Write letters or start sending postcards. Find new ways to reach out and get creative.
I’ll be honest, I don’t want to see your group pictures right now. Instead of seeing my social media flooded with pictures of group outings and jokes about how “there’s only seven of us so it’s not going against the CDC,” why can’t there be a flood of tutorials on creative ways of communication, pictures of Zoom call game nights and videos about making the most of your quarantine time? No matter how good you look in that group photo, is posting it worth flaunting that you’re not taking not only your health, but the health of those around you, seriously?
We are all in this together, and we can slow the spread of the virus if we comply with the guidelines put in place. Stay home, practice social distancing, find something else to post and you can keep those of our population who are most vulnerable safe.
Features reporter Kelley Holland can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]