Our View: New year, same pandemic

While at first the pandemic and resulting quarantine might have been an opportunity for many college students to rest, binge-watch TV and make iced coffee, for many students, the social isolation is now taking its toll. As freshmen struggle to meet people and seniors aren’t able to have a normal last few months of college, many students are feeling discouraged. 

Meanwhile, cases are rising and numbers are constantly being reported, and these numbers can often seem abstract and far away. Apathy and avoidance can seem easier, at times. However, this virus is still the same virus it was in March. While reading the latest statistics, think of these numbers as your neighbors, your friends or your family members.

Here’s a chance to put that idea into practice: as of Jan. 19, Truman State University reported 11 students with active coronavirus cases. As of Jan. 15, there have been 120 active cases and a total of 1,980 COVID-19 cases in Adair County according to the Health Department. On Jan. 7, the total of COVID-19 related-deaths reached fifteen in Adair County. The New York Times reports that as of Jan. 17, there have been 6,645 deaths in Missouri since the beginning of the pandemic.  

The pandemic requires more than just frequently washing your hands. It is more than simply having to put on a mask before leaving your house. The New York Times reports that 369,591 Americans have died so far because of the pandemic, some of them likely your neighbors, your friends and your family. The issue of COVID-19 has come to the forefront of our lives, and it cannot be ignored. 

However disheartening and discouraging it can be to think about the reality and effects of the coronavirus, each day that passes is a day we are closer to the end. As more time passes, we learn more about the virus and are able to distribute more vaccines. So, we should not be losing hope, but rather, we should be gaining it. Furthermore, we should not be discouraged and instead be even more motivated to selflessly protect our community and our loved ones. 

So, though students might be tired of hearing it and it might sound cliche, everyone needs to remember to wear a mask and social distance. Instead of going to parties and traveling, make better, responsible decisions. At this point in history, we each carry an immense amount of responsibility that can mean the difference between life and death. Each decision that we make could cause ourselves or people we love to get sick. Think of the consequences of your actions, because though you might ignore the pandemic, it will not ignore you.