As COVID-19 cases increase throughout the nation, the CDC reported a drastic increase in the virus at the start of October among adults aged 18 to 22. The CDC indicated the likelihood that some of the increase is linked to the resumption of in-person attendance at some colleges and universities. Their previous reports show that young adults are less likely than other age groups to adhere to some COVID-19 prevention measures.
In response, students shared their thoughts on the increase in positive cases.
Jarrod Jackson, a graduate student in the Master of Public Administration program, said he was not surprised to see the rise in positive cases. He said people should be more aware of the ramifications of participating in social gatherings and not following safety guidelines.
“Since the very beginning, nobody was taking COVID seriously,” Jackson said. “I just hope now people can just open their eyes and take COVID seriously, so we can be done with this chapter.”
Vanessa Arias, a senior biology major, shared a similar sentiment, noting that she expected to see an increase in COVID-19 cases. She said she felt that people are getting lazy and not wanting to wear their masks anymore and follow safety guidelines.
“I think it’s a shame,” Arias said. “I think people should take it seriously. Now that cases are increasing it’s just going to get worse.”
While the nation is dealing with an increase in cases, Seton Hall similarly saw a spike in positive cases last week. Jackson said he urges students to continue to practice safety guidelines like washing their hands, wearing a mask and not participating in large social gatherings.
“[Students] have to be considerate of other people and considerate of their future,” Jackson said. “They are just thinking about the now and not tomorrow. So, hopefully, Seton Hall and the students work together to take care of the issue.”
Arias shared a similar response and spoke about her frustration with students not taking the right precautions in slowing the spread.
“It makes me really upset that people are doing these gatherings and not following guidelines,” Arias said. “This disregard for other people’s safety and health is really disrespectful and really dangerous. By doing that, you are not only endangering yourself, you are endangering the people around you.”
Arias said she attends small social gatherings, but all the events follow correct protocols. She said all the attendees are aware of their COVID-19 status. Arias added that in all cases, like indoor dining or outdoor activities, all her friends wear masks at all times.
Erney Fertile, a senior creative writing major, said he rarely goes to gatherings with more than five to six people. He said that when he does hang out with people, he wears a mask and keeps his distance.
“On the occasion that I might be with more than five or six people, I distance myself for the next few days to see if anything comes up,” Fertile said.
In recent weeks, the World Health Organization reported that people globally are suffering from pandemic fatigue – feeling demotivated about following recommended behaviors to protect themselves and others from the virus. This fatigue has many people partaking in social gatherings, but neglecting to follow safety protocols.
While Jackson has managed to avoid any type of gatherings, he said that “people need to fight the urge and really think about other people and the long-term results of our actions.”
Fertile said that people he knows personally who are struggling with this fatigue are combating it in various ways.
“Depending on the person, I know some people, despite the fatigue they are feeling, will still adhere to the guidelines,” Fertile said. “It might cause other people to say ‘screw it,’ let’s just do this, that and the third.”
For those facing this fatigue, Fertile advised people who participate in any gatherings to be cautious before and after the event.
“Take the precautions after the event, get-together or meet-up to at least make sure that you didn’t contract anything, and you are not bringing anything home,” Fertile said. “Get yourself tested as soon as possible, if possible. Just take the little steps that you can to make sure that you are not completely reckless with how you handled the situation.”
Nicholas Hernandez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.