We are currently experiencing something that most of us have never experienced, at least not to this degree: a pandemic.
While the most recent pandemic happened in 2009 (the swine flu, as it came to be known), the world didn’t shut down quite like it is now. I’m sure we all have seen how our world is responding to the coronavirus. Schools and businesses are closing, major events have been cancelled, stores are running out of products. President Donald Trump has declared a National Emergency, an action that opens up billions of dollars in funding for state officials to respond to the outbreak. He also created a travel ban that suspended travel to and from European countries, which now includes the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The COVID-19 outbreak happened at a pretty inconvenient time, at least from a student perspective: right before Spring Break. Not that any time of year is a good time for a pandemic, but many people plan to travel over Spring Break. With those travel plans, many people book flights far in advance. The outbreak of this disease made flight availability increase considerably, while lowering round-trip ticket prices dramatically. Many people see this as an opportunity to travel and buy cheap tickets. But is it safe or responsible to do so?
Personally, I don’t think anyone should be traveling over Spring Break. While this could be, and hopefully is, the worst we are going to see of this disease, it may just be the beginning. The only way to keep this under control is to stay home and away from large crowds. The more that people travel, the more likely it is that COVID-19 spreads. Airports can be one of the easiest places for diseases like this to transmit from one person to many others, with so many people in one area who are coming together from different parts of the world. On Saturday, Trump acknowledged this reality.
“If you don’t have to travel, I wouldn’t do it. We want this thing to end. We don’t want a lot of people getting infected,” Trump said.
Many people already have plans that involve traveling for Spring Break, and nobody wants to have to cancel those plans that they have been looking forward to. But your health and the health of other people in this country should take priority over these trips. While some will not be affected as critically if infected with COVID-19, certain people have a very high risk and lower survival rate, due to age or underlying health issues. So if someone who is young and healthy is infected with this disease, they most likely will recover easily and quickly. But when traveling, that same young and healthy person may spread this disease to someone who is not as healthy, causing the disease to spread and the fatality rate to rise.
We have to think about everyone in this situation, not just ourselves. So if you can, cancel your trips and stay home, and hopefully Spring Break next year will be different.