Editorial: The pandemic isn’t over just because you’re over it

Editorial Staff

People all over the country have slowly been relaxing how they follow COVID-19 regulations, and CESJDS students are not excluded from this. The harsh truth is that we are still in a global pandemic; we need to continue wearing masks, social distancing and doing our part to stop the spread of COVID-19.

In the past two weeks, we have seen a 17% increase in COVID-19 cases and a 3% increase in deaths in the state of Maryland, as of January 17. Before choosing to hang out with people outside your household proper social distancing, you need to keep in mind that people are continuing to die from COVID-19 at alarming rates.

Additionally, rising cases could threaten our chances of attending school in person. Distance learning has not been ideal for many students, and we all want to have the opportunity to continue safely learning in the school building. The only way we can ensure that is by continuing to social distance and wear our masks so that the cases within our community remain low. According to the JDS COVID-19 Testing dashboard, our test positivity rate is 7.7% lower than that of Montgomery County’s. In order to keep our test positivity rate low, we need to continue being careful.

While it may seem as though the situation is improving, we are still in a crisis. Many people in the Greater Washington area have access to health insurance and have no pre-existing conditions. While this is relieving to many of us, we must remember that millions of people around the country do not have the same privileges.

Those begging people to wear a mask and help stop the spread on social media platforms need to remember that this advice applies to them too. We all must follow the same advice we were giving to others on how to stop the spread earlier in the pandemic.

There is also proof that social distancing and other safety measures work. New Zealand had a stricter lockdown when the spread of COVID-19 first began almost a year ago and is now almost back to normal. They were able to go from cases rising at a fast pace to successfully eliminating COVID-19 only 103 days after their first case, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. If we were to follow in New Zealand’s footsteps, we could see a large decrease in cases and deaths.

The good news is that there is an end in sight. People have already started receiving the vaccine, and the country is beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The JDS administration is also planning for in-person learning next fall.

Let’s finish strong. Let’s prevent as many cases and deaths as we can in the next coming months and look forward to getting together with friends and family once it is safe to do so.