Opinion | COVID-19 cases have spiked – please don’t be idiots

Johnson county is facing a significant number of COVID-19 cases – while there is more that could be done at a policy level, we still have individual responsibility.


Jenna Galligan

Photo Illustration by Jenna Galligan

Hannah Pinski, Opinions Columnist

In case you weren’t aware, we are still in this pandemic. Why does it feel like I am stating the obvious? It’s because this past week some students returning to campus for the fall semester have treated the virus as a joke.

On Aug. 24, the start of classes, students received an email from President Bruce Harreld that 107 students and four employees tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week. Out of the 107, 19 residence hall students are quarantining and eight are in self-isolation.

This spike in cases is largely due to the fact that students are not wearing their masks, social distancing, and decide to go out to parties and Iowa City bars.

For the past week, my Instagram and Snapchat feed has been filled with my fellow peers posting pictures of nights out in Iowa City whether it is at Summit or a house party with crowds of people.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this virus is mostly spread from person to person, and the highest risk in regards to gatherings is where it is difficult to remain six feet apart and attendees from outside the local area.

These guidelines prove why going to the bars and parties is only going to increase the spread. To put it very bluntly, students who are choosing to ignore the guidelines and continue to go out are acting selfish and irresponsible.

On Thursday, Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a proclamation which ordered all bars, taverns, breweries, and nightclubs to close by 5 p.m. This proclamation covers six counties, including our own Johnson County as well as Story County, where Iowa State University is located.

Reynolds said during a Thursday press conference that nearly seven in 10 new cases in our county over the past week have been among 19 to 24-year-olds.

While Iowa City bars are closed for now, students must take this as a warning and begin acting responsibly.

I hear many of my peers claiming that they refuse to live in fear and giving out statistics describing a low mortality rate to justify their actions. Here’s the thing; this virus is not about you. By choosing to go out, you are choosing to put other people’s lives at risk, whether it’s your family, professors, roommates, or the Iowa City community.

You might be fine if you catch this virus, however there’s a chance that you will spread it to someone who is elderly or with a compromised immune system that could result in hospitalization or even death.  In a news article released by the Iowa City Press-Citizen, the seven-day positivity rate shot up from 7.53 percent to 19.52 percent as of Aug. 24.

How can we eliminate this virus when people are making decisions that contribute to an increase in numbers?

Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague decided on July 21 to require all citizens to wear a mask out in public through Sept. 15. Downtown Iowa City is filled with signs that say “face covering required” because there’s no guarantee people are able to stay six feet apart on the bustling streets.

However, I still see people either not wearing their mask or wearing it the wrong way (it goes over your nose). This is the bare minimum of precautions that we should all be doing to keep the community safe, yet some people refuse to make the right choice.

While there is an understanding of frustration and wish to go back to normal, we are never going to reach that point unless we all do our part. Wear your mask, stop going out to parties, wash your hands, and social distance.

The choices that all of us are making don’t only affect us, but the community and people around us.

It’s not fair that irresponsible choices some people are making are putting other’s lives at risk and forcing them to pay the price because you wanted a night out.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.