A senior's editorial to her fellow quarantined Bobcats
To my Fellow Bobcats,
To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement.
When I found out classes were going online for the remainder of the semester, I sat in my room and cried because I thought of all of the things I won’t get to do again.
Then yesterday morning I found out there would be no graduation ceremonies for all 26 University System of Georgia universities.
Why USG felt the need to cancel two months ahead of time I’m not sure. I know that they’re trying to social distance because there will be more than 10 people at graduation. I’m positive there’s a reason like travel expenses or having to cancel reserved spaces, but to someone who just lost their chance to walk across the stage it’s hard to comprehend the reasons on calling it so early.
I am a senior who has worked my butt off to graduate with two degrees in four years. I’ve lost my GC lasts and won’t get to walk across the stage on May 2.
I won’t get my last trivia night. I won’t get my last Greek Weekend. I won’t get my last finals week. I had to cancel my Spring Break plans because my parents were afraid I would catch COVID-19 and bring it home with me.
Because of COVID-19, I am in Florida and away from the friends I have started to call family and away from the school that I have called home for the past four years.
I know we’re all sad and working through all kinds of emotions and worries. However, we need to put this into perspective. At the time I am writing this, there have been 7,087 cases and 97 deaths in the U.S. according to the Center for Disease Control. There has been a confirmed case in every single state.
According to the data released from the World Health Organization on March 18, there have been 207,855 confirmed cases worldwide and 8,648 deaths.
Yes, I know the virus primarily affects people over 65 and those with compromised immune systems, but that includes some of our Bobcats.
Three people on our editorial team at The Colonnade have a compromised immune system. There are nine of us total.
Additionally, we need to think beyond our GC student body. On our campus we have professors, maintenance workers, groundskeepers, custodians, nurses, office workers, etc. that are at greater risk of death if they contract COVID-19. Although we may not experience symptoms, we could pass it along to someone who works at GC that will experience them.
We also have the Milledgeville community we need to think about. Those who work in stores, bars and in Milledgeville in general might not be able to fight COVID-19 like we can, or they might not have access to affordable healthcare if they do fall ill.
How many of us actually listened to the warnings and practiced social distancing while on spring break? Based on my social media feeds most of us didn’t. We could be bringing it back to Milledgeville with us and passing it off to more susceptible residents.
According to the CDC, the virus can spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact (within about six feet) with one another through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. In layman’s terms, it is extremely easy to catch.
Additionally, people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic, though the spread of COVID-19 can be possible before people show symptoms. Some of us might not be experiencing symptoms, but we could still be spreading it.
There’s been a lot of talk about how COVID-19 stacks up against previous pandemics.
Ebola was extremely deadly from 2014-2016, killing up to 50% of those who got sick, however it affected less total people in less countries. According to healthline, there were 28,652 cases across 10 countries with 11,325 deaths.
Before Ebola there was severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) from 2002-2004. According to the CDC, SARS had 8,098 cases across 29 countries with 774 deaths. It had a 15% mortality rate.
Now let’s circle back to COVID-19. We have had 207,855 confirmed cases worldwide and 8,648 deaths since December. That’s more confirmed cases than Ebola and SARS combined.
Then, of course, there’s the yearly flu. The 2018-2019 flu season was the longest in a decade, lasting 21 weeks. The CDC estimated that in the U.S. alone up to 35.5 million people got sick, 490,600 people were hospitalized and 34,200 died.
The difference between COVID-19 and flu is that COVID-19 has the possibility of being more deadly as the yearly flu. This is because doctors are far more familiar with the flu than COVID-19. They know how to address the illness and address treatment, whereas with COVID-19, these are new obstacles. Additionally, COVID-19 is much more contagious than the flu. We also need to consider the fact that we have no vaccine for COVID-19. If we let COVID-19 continue to spread and let it affect the population it will be far more deadly.
According to the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, the flu has a seasonal death rate that is about 0.1%. COVID-19 is just getting started and it has a death rate of 2%. To put this into even more perspective, the “disastrous Spanish flu” of 1918 had a death rate of 2.5%.
Let’s look at the big picture: COVID-19 is a threat. It may not be as deadly of a threat to us since we’re young and healthy, but it affects others. This isn’t a media-driven frenzy. The media is just relaying what scientists are saying.
We as a community need to work together and cooperate so we can shorten the amount of time this will affect us.
Yes, fellow Bobcats, this sucks. As a senior I am devastated, especially knowing I won’t get the opportunity to walk across that stage and shake President Dorman’s hand, but I know it’s my job to quarantine and cooperate so I can protect other people.
Maybe if we’re lucky the administration will give us some say in the “alternative delivery mechanisms and other ways that might allow [them] to celebrate the accomplishments of our students” they’re thinking of.
In the wise words of Kourtney Kardashian, “Kim, there’s people that are dying.”
Let’s social distance and wash our hands so we can get the virus under control. The sooner it’s under control the sooner we can go back to our regularly scheduled program.