Halloweekend is upon us. Yay!
We’ve spent almost nine months in lonely social distancing and almost two months in college classes of less than desirable circumstances. We’ve been diligently wearing masks, socially distancing and those of us on campus have probably been spending unhealthy amounts of time alone in our dorms in an effort to keep ourselves and others safe.
Whatever our reasons are for following the rules, they still suck. Halloween may be one of the first occasions we have to celebrate in months, offering a potential break from mentally and socially unhealthy – if safe – monotony.
At the same time, the United States is embroiled with many other countries in a “second wave” of COVID-19, making our situation worse than ever before. On Wednesday, the country broke our previous world record for new COVID-19 cases in a day as more than eighty thousand new patients were documented nationwide. That same day, our total national death toll rose to 228,000, making it the greatest in the world.
Thankfully, UConn offers elective COVID-19 tests free for symptomatic and asymptomatic students and also conducts some random surveillance testing. However, they do not conduct mandatory, universal testing on a regular basis. The trade-off of this decision is that the data UConn provides about the spread of the virus is both somewhat behind-schedule of the virus itself and can only provide estimates about how many people are infected. Although current data suggests that there is no unusual outbreak on campus today, we must acknowledge the uncertainty about the presence of COVID-19 here in Storrs at any given point in time.
“Although current data suggests that there is no unusual outbreak on campus today, we must acknowledge the uncertainty about the presence of COVID-19 here in Storrs at any given point in time.”
Additionally, the state of Connecticut is experiencing this second wave of the virus right now. Since Wednesday almost 2,000 new residents have tested positive, and Mansfield’s neighbor town, Windham, has joined 11 other CT municipalities in the “Red Alert” category the state has established for areas experiencing the worst outbreaks.
Unfortunately, in spite of Halloween, there has never been a better time to be concerned about contracting or spreading COVID-19. This is no reason for us to not party – we should take the advice of President Katsouleas and party outside in masked, socially distanced circumstances. Hard as it may be to believe, it is possible for us to maintain our health and socialize during a pandemic.
Stay safe, and have a great Halloween!