COVID-19 disrupts lives across the world

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Marissa Pekular, West Hills Center Editor

Across the country schools have been evacuated, countless businesses have been closed, and people have been ordered to practice social distancing. Within weeks, people’s lives were radically changed by the Coronavirus, and experts believe we still have a long way to go until normalcy is reestablished.

Currently, there are 141,559 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, and 2,468 people have died from the virus. The amount of cases in America surpassed every other country around the world within weeks, and doctors agree that the worst is yet to come.

Dr. Anthony Fauci,who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC News, “we will see more cases and things will get worse than they are right now,” and that how much worse it gets depends on “containing the influx of people who are infected coming from the outside, and the ability to contain and mitigate within our own country.”

In early January, China started reporting the first cases of the virus in Wuhan. In February, COVID-19 began spreading rapidly. Countries such as Italy, South Korea, Iran and Spain have reported thousands of cases and deaths since then. Almost 200 countries and territories have reported cases of Coronavirus.

Even though the United States was noticeably hit by the virus two months after Asia and Europe, the nation stood incredibly underprepared to cope with this pandemic. A couple weeks ago, the virus was compared to the common flu and downplayed in its severity during media conferences and briefings.

The Trump Administration has, since then, stated that COVID-19 is a real threat. As a result, protective measures have been taken. Borders are temporarily closed and much of the country is on a lock down. 

Colleges across the country have closed their facilities and resorted to online learning for their students. This in particular has been greeted with much disdain by young people generally.

“Studying and focusing is almost impossible when you have to keep watching the news to see if you’re safe,” says West Virginia University student, Jordan Adkins. “Some professors have never had an online class either, so they don’t always know how to fix the technical issues. Communication has been very difficult.”

University students who lived on campus prior to college shut-downs are now forced to move back home.  “At first it wasn’t a big deal, they didn’t actually want to send us back. It quickly became a big issue, ” says Adkins. “We got emails from the school keeping us updated pretty consistently, so I had enough time to get my stuff and get out, but I don’t know if other students paid attention as much as I did.”

The workload being placed on students has raised concerns amidst the pandemic. “I hope the school will ease back on some of the workload. I’m over here in Baltimore, which is a powder keg of tension ready to blow,” says Adkins. “I’m more scared about how people are reacting around than I am of the virus itself. How the hell am I supposed to focus on school?”

However, confusion continues to grow as Trump announced that he wants the country opened up and ready to go by Easter, despite warnings from health experts. The urge for reopening American businesses is due to the significant stall in the American economy.  

Additionally, doctors and nurses across the country are constantly working by helping treat the COVID-19 patients. Hospitals are extremely sparse on medical protective gear such as gloves, masks, and goggles. They are also incredibly short on life-saving equipment such as ventilators and bed space. 

Medical experts predict that if Americans return to workplaces or events within the next few weeks, there will be a catastrophic spike in the number of COVID-19 patients. 

These are unprecedented circumstances and fear and confusion is commonplace. Social distancing has been reinforced by state governors who are following the recommendations of the Center of Disease Control. 

The CDC guidelines, however, have been put on the backburner as social gatherings continue to surge. Thousands of people went to coastal states for spring break this year. Mardi Gras was held despite the pandemic. 

The House did, however, pass a COVID-19 economic stimulus bill that is designed to alleviate the fiscal stress on millions of non-working Americans. The massive $2 trillion stimulus package significantly focuses on supporting businesses and corporations. 

It is unknown when the Coronavirus will dissipate and Americans can return to their normal lives. It is certain that the number of cases will grow by the thousands in the next couple of weeks, and experts predict that there will be an economic crisis coming within the next few months. 

Although this may feel like the end of the world, health officials agree that the virus will pass eventually. Until then however, self-isolation is key to protecting yourself and others.