To Slow the Spread of COVID-19, We Need to Do Better


Fia Cooper

To prevent the rapid spread of the coronavirus, we must wear masks, wash hands, and socially distance.

Kendall Whiteside, Assistant Editor

Walking into a store without a mask, attending parties, standing closer than six feet away from one another, or seeing our loved ones over the holidays this was our reality a year ago. Now, it has all changed. 

While many of us have followed coronavirus protocols and regulations, others have not, contributing to the continuous rise in cases. Whether you believe it or not, the spread of this virus is at its worst, and properly following recommended guidance will make a difference in our country’s case and death count.

Statistically, what has happened?

As of today, Dec. 9, there are reportedly more than 15 million cases in the United States and over 88,000 cases in Oregon alone

According to The New York Times, in Oregon, on Dec. 8, at least 33 new COVID-19 related deaths were reported, and the average number of cases per day became well over 1,000. 

Locally, Clackamas County is averaging about 130 new cases each day, and Multnomah County is averaging about 300. Governor Kate Brown has recently named these two counties, which many La Salle students reside in, as “extreme risk” areas. 

While there have been mandates put in place, I don’t think enough people are following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

How has the state of Oregon responded to the growing number of cases?

While Oregon has enforced mandates regarding masks, social gatherings, shopping, and athletic as well as school events, this has not stopped many people from traveling or hanging out with friends without taking the right precautions such as social distancing, wearing masks, or limiting group sizes. 

If you want COVID-19 to become a thing of the past, you have to make the effort to prevent transmission of the virus. 

Recently, Governor Brown placed the entire state into a two-week freeze.

While the state has tightened regulations on the capacity within different facilities and many people have spoken out against these new guidelines, I think that it was just what Oregon needed. 

Governor Brown has not only made a tough choice, but a correct one. The state is in charge of doing what is right for the public’s safety and health. This is not a time to fight against the guidelines, but to abide by them and keep everyone safe.

Statistics show that we have had a dramatic increase in coronavirus cases recently, whether it be from holiday gatherings or people just choosing to ignore the rules. More people are dying every day, and unless we stop to think about our actions and continue to stay home, more people are going to die at the expense of irresponsibility. 

What can you do?

While you can’t stay at home all of the time due to necessary trips to the grocery store or work, it is important that you follow precautions when you can to keep yourself, family, and others safe.

Wearing your mask and social distancing play a key role in protecting everyone from the virus. While this may seem simple to many of us, it is important to ensure that we’re using the proper face coverings, as some are less effective than others.

The Oregon Health Authority does not encourage wearing a plastic face shield on its own. Face shields help prevent droplets from touching your face, but they don’t prevent your own aerosols from transmitting to others. If you want to wear a face shield, you must wear it with a mask to effectively prevent virus transmission

While many will argue that masks make it more difficult to breathe, studies have shown that breathing levels and heart rate remain the same with any type of mask. 

Wear your mask not only to protect yourself and your family, but to protect the lives of health care workers and senior citizens.

Working on the frontlines is challenging enough, wearing two or three masks at a time, a face shield, and sometimes a full hazmat suit for more than eight hours a day. It’s not fair to see so many people die due to a virus no one seems to want to stop. 

Nurses, doctors, EMT’s, and other healthcare workers have seen the effects of coronavirus all too much, and they don’t want any more people to go through it.

Social distancing is another important element of curbing the spread of COVID-19. You must remain at least six feet away from others who don’t reside in your household — this allows us to avoid coming in contact with virus droplets. 

On top of social distancing and properly wearing a mask, it is critical for us to wash our hands more often, as it provides another layer of protection. Wash your hands and scrub for at least 20 seconds with soap and either warm or cold water.

Stay home, stay safe

When the coronavirus pandemic first erupted back in March of 2020, Oregon launched a campaign, promoting that you can choose who lives and who dies by practicing social distancing, mask-wearing, and more specifically, staying home.  

The state was right to launch this campaign. Many are saying it is too extreme or dramatic, and aren’t comprehending the severity of the virus and how wearing a mask could help save lives.

While there are regulations in place to prevent big gatherings, many well-known celebrities have disregarded the fact that COVID-19 is deadly and will kill those with poor immune systems. 

In my opinion, I think young people are one of the major groups ignoring coronavirus guidelines, as they are less susceptible to the virus and even less likely to die if exposed. With this in mind, many teens and young adults are seemingly selfish and don’t care about their contribution to the spread of the virus.

Back in late July a very popular group of TikTok creators partied in a Hollywood Hills mansion famously named the Hype House. With over 60 to 70 guests in attendance and no masks in sight, this event goes to show how unaware young people are of the consequences of their actions. 

Many teens, especially seniors in high school this year, have had to sacrifice several momentous events that signify their last year of high school. While many of us, including myself, would say it is unfair to get cheated out of a senior year, that doesn’t mean that we should go attend large events, endangering the lives of others.

Oftentimes, the phrases “but it’s Halloween,” “it’s my senior year,” or “it’s only ten people” will get thrown around, but these aren’t reasonable excuses. We should instead recognize that if we hang out with our friends, we might bring sickness home to our grandparents or others in our lives that might have pre-existing conditions.

With the holidays around the corner, I can only assume that numbers will rise even more unless everyone starts to stay at home and properly limit their exposure to what is necessary. I understand that staying at home all the time is hard, but losing a loved one to this aggressive virus would be even harder.

While I can’t force anyone to do anything, I can provide you with words of encouragement. Stay home unless it’s absolutely necessary for you to leave, limit your contact with other people, and most importantly, continue to practice social distancing, hand washing, and proper mask-wearing.