Opinion: UI students should follow expert guidance on coronavirus 

Hawkeyes don’t need to take any chances with the outbreak and should take proper precautions.


Jeff Sigmund

UI administrators field questions from reporters during a press conference regarding the COVID-19 pandemic at the IMU on Wednesday, March 11, 2020.

Visouda Somsaath, Columnist

Now that the Iowa Department of Public Health has confirmed 12 presumptive positive cases of coronavirus in Johnson County, it is now more critical than ever to take the steps to protect ourselves from the disease.

COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China in 2019 and eventually made its way into the U.S. — and the backyards of Iowans. Gov. Kim Reynolds said all individuals who are infected with the virus all had recently taken a cruise that had passed through Egypt. That was only the first wave of reported coronavirus cases, however.

The Iowa Department of Public Health website recommends that Iowans “prepare for the potential of COVID-19 in the same way they prepare for severe weather or other events that could disrupt their normal routine.” 

Actions they suggest taking include planning with family in the case of an outbreak — such asking questions and creating alternative methods of living — as well as covering coughs and sneezes, constantly washing hands, and staying home when sick.

The University of Iowa has done its part so far in keeping the student body updated on COVID-19 in regard to its potential effects on life.

Let’s all do our part in keeping our community happy and healthy by taking steps to protect ourselves”

Emails containing the proper provisions have been sent out, panels and briefings have been held to discuss the virus, and even information on how to protect ourselves during the upcoming spring break. It would be tragic if we all came back from a well-deserved break to a pandemic.

It is important to note that the Iowa Department of Public Health expressed that “the risk of influenza is much higher than the risk of COVID-19 in Iowa right now.” However, this does not make taking the appropriate precautions any less essential.

That statement was a matter of comparison to give us a quantitative idea of the likelihood of the sickness; it is better to be safe than sorry. 

Preparing for coronavirus is no different than packing a doomsday kit in the event of an apocalypse — the same principles apply.

UI students are more prone to catching and spreading illnesses because of the high concentration of our population, especially in residence halls. The very nature of a university requires students to meet countless people throughout the day and share many common spaces, making it an ideal place for any sickness to spread.

With all that we have going on in our lives, the worry of a potentially fatal illness should not be one of them. Let’s all do our part in keeping our community happy and healthy by taking steps to protect ourselves, listening to the recommendations of the Iowa Department of Public Health, and staying up to date on the movements of COVID-19. 

Remember to prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.

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