The Consequences of COVID-19: by Eve Brown-Ryder

COVID-19 (short for coronavirus disease 2019) is an infectious disease that has escalated into a global pandemic. Kaitlyn Jollimore, a student at Memorial who is also in the health science program at MST explains: “for the first five to fourteen days of the host carrying the virus, [they do] not experience symptoms, but… are in fact contagious. If a host comes into contact with a healthy person, they have just passed on the virus. [N]ow this other person can pass it along without even knowing.” There are plenty of unknowns clouding this crisis, but its effects are felt worldwide. People are hoarding food and supplies, businesses are closing, state borders are being shut off, and schools are switching to “remote learning.”

The idea of remote learning did not even exist a couple of months ago and it is now the way of the world. Students and teachers alike are struggling to adapt to this new system as all learning has to be done online. Packets of work were delivered to individual homes for those without internet access. Learning can occur through virtual worksheets, online videos, Zoom calls, and any other tasks that can be achieved from home. 

Since the proverbial boat has been not only rocked, but penetrated and sunk to the bottom of the ocean, most people are at least a little rattled. Seven students were interviewed remotely (five of whom chose to remain anonymous) to see what their thoughts on this crisis are and how they are dealing with it. Everyone who was interviewed said they were being extra cautious by washing their hands more often and practicing social distancing. They were split on other issues, though.

The first question had to do with the global reaction to the pandemic. Four students thought there was not a strong enough reaction and two said that the world was reacting too strongly. The next question was similar, but in terms of the United States. Three students believed the reaction is not strong enough, three thought it was the correct reaction, and one student stated that America was overreacting. The other questions were free-response

In the first free-response question, the interviewees were asked how they felt about remote learning. Ethan said, “it’s annoying and I’m teaching myself a lot.” Two anonymous responses were simply “I hate it” and “I hate this s***.” Not all responses were negative, though. One student, who seemed split on the issue said, “I like doing things at my own pace, but I miss interacting in person. It’s harder to get answers to my questions and Zoom isn’t helping that much.” The other responses were more positive: “I prefer learning from home because being in school gives me anxiety” and “I actually like being able to learn on my own time and… spend as much time as I need on something rather than having a strict, structured, 50-minute class where someone is pretty much lecturing at me.”

The second free-response question was phrased as an open-ended opportunity to share whatever the interviewee was thinking about the virus. The first two responses were short, but valid points: “Italy… decided that people over 60 will not be put on ventilators because they don’t have enough supplies. Is this disease a form of population control?” That is a very scary question, but in this time of uncertainty, it seems like anything is possible. The next response was simply, “we need to go into a full lockdown… to beat this virus.”

Kaitlyn Jollimore had a longer response to the prompt and recommends the following: 

“I believe that the government is doing the most that they can to prevent this virus from spreading just as it has in Italy or some other countries. The schools and businesses [that are] shutting down… are also doing their best to prevent this virus from spreading… [S]tay home to keep yourself and your family safe, to prevent this from spreading to everyone, and to keep our society safe.”

The final response, which was also on the longer side, was very passionate and came from an anonymous student:

“I don’t think many people are taking COVID-19 as seriously as they should. I think this is because our generation (Gen Z) has been bombarded with so much information from such a young age that we’ve become desensitized. However, people NEED to take it more seriously. Going out with your friends in public and acting like this is a vacation is extremely irresponsible and leaves many people vulnerable and at risk.”

If you or anyone you know has concerns or questions about the COVID-19 pandemic  https://www.coronavirus.gov/ is the CDC’s recommended website for updated information on this ever-evolving issue. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at The Memorial Crusader News with comments or article ideas about COVID-19. 

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