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The Novel Coronavirus is a Serious Matter, Even for College Students

Megan Snow ‘20

Editor in Chief

As schools send students home for the remainder of the semester, people are working from home, and even bars are temporarily shutting down, it’s becoming difficult to laugh at the coronavirus jokes we see on social media. Two months ago, this didn’t even seem like a big deal, and now people are hoarding toilet paper and selling hand sanitizer on Amazon for sixty dollars. 

On Friday March 13, President Trump declared the U.S. to be in a national state of emergency as the virus has officially become a pandemic. In simpler terms, the United States is making the decision to take precautionary measures to prevent further spread as the virus has spread to countries all over the world. Colleges all over Massachusetts and other states have made the decision to move to remote learning as students are being asked to return home. 

As the virus has affected the United States more recently, several states and towns have recommended social distancing, which health professionals hope will reduce the spread of coronavirus. Social distancing is a common public health practice used in situations where viruses are able to spread through close contact. 

When practicing social distancing, it’s important to remember that you could be saving a life by following through with these precautionary measures. Elderly individuals and individuals with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems are the most vulnerable to contracting the virus, and are at the highest risk of death from the virus. Not only will social distancing keep you healthy, but it will protect the community. The CDC recommends avoiding mass gatherings, greeting people with a wave rather than a handshake or hug, and maintaining a 6-ft distance from others if you do go out in public.

There is an overwhelming amount of information out on the internet about staying healthy and avoiding the virus, but the best way to prevent yourself from getting sick is washing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Hand washing kills the virus and is very effective in reducing the transmission of coronavirus. 

With all this craziness and uncertainty about returning to campus, it’s important we maintain healthy practices and seek out valid information. Many websites and news outlets have an overwhelming amount of info, which can be misleading. Here are some trustworthy sources:

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

As a senior who is anxious to return to campus and take advantage of my last semester at Merrimack, I would like to stress the importance of being there for each other in times like these. It’s okay to feel anxious, worried, or even upset as we face a pandemic that we are unfamiliar with. Although being away from campus is difficult, this type of precaution is very necessary to prevent the spread of the virus, potentially saving many lives. Although being away from Merrimack is difficult and heartbreaking, we should keep in mind the benefits for everyone if we flatten the curve of the virus.

Practice social distancing, and let’s hope to be back on campus soon!

Infographic is from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center