Fiona Murphy, Editor-in-Chief
March 22nd, 2020
With Humboldt County implementing a shelter in place mandate, now is the time to pay attention to the whole “social distancing” thing. School is out for at least another month and it might seem like a good time to spend time together or throw a party. But please don’t. Doing that negates the entire purpose of the closure and puts yourself and others at risk.
“It is a moment where it feels very draconian, it feels very authoritarian for everyone to stay in their houses but this is our best bet. If you need to meet with your friends, do it on Google Hangout, do it on other apps,” Nurse Johnny Kell said, “[but] having a get together right now is extremely irresponsible.”
Kell further explained that the purpose of social isolation and the shelter in place is to prevent the spread of the virus outside your “family unit” and overwhelming the healthcare system.
“This is attempting to slow the transmission because there are right now in our community there are people who have the virus whether or not they have symptoms at all, they have the virus coming out of their bodies,” he explained.
A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control showed that 38 percent of hospitalizations and 12 percent of intensive care patients were in people between the ages of 20 and 54. While in the United States no one under 19 has died, the new data presents more serious circumstances for many young people. The fear is no longer spreading the virus to your grandparents, but to siblings and parents as we move forward.
“It’s unfortunate that at this late stage we have to be reminding young people that they can also end up in the ICU,” Kell said. “We are all at risk, just because the risk isn’t equal, just because people over the age of 65 are at much greater risk of death and permanent injury, that does not mean young people are not at risk.”
Students are not oblivious to this fact and many agree on the importance of isolation.
“We’re not doing this for ourselves. We’re socially isolating for people who are immunocompromised and elderly. And I think it is our duty to stay aware from as many people as possible to slow the spread of this virus,” Jocelyn Bliven, an Arcata High senior, said.
It is incredibly important to follow social isolation right now, as the healthcare system in Humboldt is already impacted without cases of Coronavirus. If younger people are at risk for hospitalization, that makes the possible hospital beds and ventilators needed skyrocket.
Social isolation is hard and boring, but it is the best way to keep our community safe and healthy. It may seem like an overreaction, as there has been only one confirmed case of Coronavirus in Humboldt, but it is essential.
“If we are successful in our public health efforts, the headlines will say we overreacted. That’s what public health experts want,” Kell said.
Some people are struggling with the mental health aspects of social isolation, as it can be quite difficult.
“I think it’s important to recognize that social isolation is effecting everyone in some way and there should be an emphasis on the fact that we are all in this together. In the meantime, while we can’t help what is happening we should have an open dialogue on ways to improve our mental states,” Arcata High Senior Eve Ashbrook said.
There are links to mental health resources on the Arcata High website.
For some fun tips on dealing with isolation, check out our other article.