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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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June 8, 2024

How the shelter in place strategy is backfiring

Flaws+in+the+ways+we+are+currently+trying+to+fight+the+spread+of+COVID-19+is+discussed+by+opinion+writer+Zach+Freeman.
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Flaws in the ways we are currently trying to fight the spread of COVID-19 is discussed by opinion writer Zach Freeman.

Last Tuesday, a shelter-in-place order was issued in Brazos County. This decision, made to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Bryan and College Station, is having unforeseen impacts. I live in a relatively large and crowded apartment complex in College Station. One thing I’ve noticed since the start of this order has been how few people are remaining indoors. Many people now unable to work or go to campus are developing cabin fever. Staying in a small apartment room all day can make it hard to stay motivated and entertained.
When I look outside, I see people exercising, walking their dogs, riding their bikes and socializing. At least one unexpected result of this pandemic might be that everyone will be in great shape by the end of it. Similarly, the public parks are busier than they would likely be without all this extra free time on our hands. I’m guilty of this as well. Somebody has got to feed the local ducks in these hard times. My job in fast food also requires customers to come into the store to pick up their food. As of now, they’re still allowed to order while they’re there as well. Of course, we take precautions, we have tape lines and signs everywhere, but some customers don’t notice or don’t care. At our busiest point, we had about six people waiting in line, while our store barely has enough space for two people to stay six feet apart.
Taking only half steps to address this issue could be a dangerous mistake. We’ve had 63 cases as of publishing this, and there’s undoubtedly now spread in our communities from those who are not likely aware that they’re infected. The frequency with which we are finding those who test positive is increasing. Current measures simply aren’t slowing the spread, and at our current rate, it’ll only get far worse before it gets better. We’re a big international community full of active young people. Though we’ve been urged to go back home, I and many others I know refuse to do so while we’re still paying rent and having to stay focused for classes. While we’re all here in College Station, we must take the proper precautions to ensure that COVID-19 doesn’t spread.
Unfortunately, this has not been the case so far. Our infection rate is two to three times higher than Texas’s average. I know it’s hard being a bored college student right now, but we’re going to have to do better. The grim truth of the matter is that we need to take COVID-19 seriously. The refrigerated corpse trucks in New York City should tell us as much. I know from talking with other students that many religious institutions are still having physical services in one way or another, and this very much breaks rules that allow no more than 10 people to gather and stay six feet apart. Death and panic aside, I’m honestly just ready for all this to be over with already. I know most people are, and whether or not you see COVID-19 as a legitimate threat, you’ve got to recognize that the fewer people that spread the virus, the faster this ends. So take advantage of your newfound free time and learn to cook, as long as you’ve got more than toilet paper and hand sanitizer in your pantry.
The takeaway in all of this is that the current strategy and enforcement of our shelter-in-place order are not working. Either Brazos County needs to come up with a new plan in limiting community spread or people need to take it upon themselves to ensure we stop COVID-19. Our current order’s guidelines for exercise and essential businesses may be too lax. The excess number of people wandering around outside could be doing additional damage in spreading the virus. The crisis has forced cities that have been hit harder by COVID-19 to issue lockdowns and more severe precautions and penalties for violating them. At the rate the virus is spreading in Brazos County, with public officials reporting multiple new cases in as little as every six hours. In essence, I’d argue that these measures could be necessary. Taking a page from countries who have been more successful in handling the virus, like South Korea, would further help prevent unnecessary deaths. But for us as individuals, staying inside, limiting your contact with others and washing your hands is critical. You should be doing the last one regardless, actually. When it comes down to it, it might be up to us, the Aggies and the good people of Brazos County to BTHO COVID-19.

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