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Your vacation can wait

Mackenzie Ward

Staff Writer

As the threat of the coronavirus increases throughout the world, we have been desperately urged to practice social distancing in order to limit the spread of infection and flatten the curve.

In doing my part, I have watched three whole seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy” and two seasons of “The West Wing.”

I have a lot of free time.

However, not everyone is listening to our government and health care professionals. People are continuing to travel around the country and meet up in large groups.

Over the weekend, I watched interviews of college students who decided partying in Miami was worth the risk of getting infected and possibly spreading the coronavirus to hundreds of innocent people.

“If I get corona, I get corona,” said Brady Sluder, a college student who went to Miami despite being advised not to.

After hearing this ignorant man willingly admit he was OK with getting sick, I was enraged.

How could someone be so selfish?

Yes, selfish.

Someone as young as he may be fine if he becomes infected with the coronavirus if he receives the proper medical care as he is young. However, due to the 14-day incubation period, he can unknowingly spread it to his family, friends, and strangers without experiencing any symptoms associated with the virus.

Although this individual later apologized and called his comment “insensitive,” the damage was done. So far, five University of Tampa students have tested positive for the coronavirus after traveling together for spring break.

How many others did they unknowingly infect?

According to the CDC, the most high-risk individuals are those who are over the age of 60 or have a pre- existing condition such as asthma. If someone who belongs to either of those groups becomes infected, their recovery process will be extremely strenuous.

That is why social distancing until we flatten the curve is so important.

Although young people may consider themselves safe from the virus, according to the CDC, 20% of those hospitalized cases which presented severe symptoms of the coronavirus, are between the ages of 20 to 44 years old.

Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to run to the grocery store, stock up on toilet paper, and then bunker down in your home. Social distancing means limiting the amount of people you interact with and reducing the amount of times you leave your home. You can still grocery shop, take walks, and call your friends and family.

Hospitals are already overwhelmed as staff tirelessly work to save the lives of their patients and by flattening the curve, we can prevent a spike in cases and avoid further overwhelming the health care system.

Although it must be so hard not to go on your spring break trip to Miami Beach, your decision to stay home and practice social distancing will save countless lives and help us get back to normal.

It won’t be the group of celebrities singing “Imagine” by John Lennon that helps 9atten the curve.

It will be the individuals who decided to stay home.

It will be the health care staff who risked their lives caring for those who are sick who will make the difference.

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