Photo Credits: AGGIE FILE
While a vaccine could be available for everyone in 2021, it is necessary we maintain social distancing
Yolo County has officially moved back into the most restrictive Purple Tier, joining 94% of the state’s population as COVID-19 cases continue to spike nationally. Counties with a positive test rate over 8% qualify for the Purple Tier. The World Health Organization advises areas not to reopen until the positive test rate is below 5%, and the Harvard Global Health Institute recommends a rate of 3%.
The positive test rate in Yolo County was 11.58% as of Nov. 18. This high percentage suggests that transmission is widespread in Yolo County and that there could be many more untested community members who are infected with COVID-19. Now more than ever, it’s important to wear masks, maintain social distancing and avoid large gatherings.
Governor Gavin Newsom announced a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for all counties in the Purple Tier, starting Saturday, Nov. 21. The state hopes this action will reduce transmission during late-nights parties. The Editorial Board stresses the importance of adhering to this curfew or else rising cases could send the state into a full lockdown again.
Coronavirus burnout is real, and as we approach our ninth month of the pandemic, it’s understandable to get tired of the ongoing restrictions. But we can’t stop now—the intersection of the flu season and COVID-19 could be disastrous if we’re not careful.
We all miss our friends and want distractions from midterm scores and impending finals. But this is not the time for partying. The UC Davis fraternity Theta Chi allegedly threw a party that not only violated Yolo County gathering restrictions, but had a member in attendance who tested positive for COVID-19.
This is unacceptable. Attendees not only risked their own health, but they threatened the wellbeing of their housemates, the professional cleaners who had to disinfect the fraternity house, anyone they passed in the grocery store and so on. Whether we like it or not, we’re in this together—and it’s our responsibility to keep each other safe.
As Thanksgiving approaches, many students might feel conflicted about their holiday plans. The Editorial Board recognizes that the decision to see family or not is incredibly personal and understands there are many reasons why students will be traveling this holiday season.
There are ways to make the holidays safer, and the Editorial Board urges students to be mindful of reducing transmission risk. Consider having smaller celebrations where attendees are wearing masks at all times except when they are eating and drinking. If possible, hold the gathering outdoors and space out each household six feet apart.
Crucially, students must schedule one UC Davis COVID-19 test both before leaving Davis and as soon as possible upon returning. This important step will keep families back home and the Davis community as a whole safe from asymptomatic spreaders.
Whether we hunker down in Davis or travel to see family, the holidays will be drastically different for most of us this year. It’s devastating that the pandemic has lasted this long, but for the first time since lockdown began in March, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
The Centers for Disease Control expects to begin distributing safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to healthcare workers and people who are high risk before 2020 ends. It predicts a large enough supply of the vaccine in 2021 to vaccinate all adults in the U.S. Next year, we might be able to spend our holidays normally, traveling and celebrating without worrying about COVID-19 transmission.
Even though the rapid development of the vaccine is good news, it will come with its own challenges. The majority of people in the United States won’t be vaccinated for many more months, and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci says the vaccine won’t be mandatory.
Despite these potential setbacks, there’s an end to the COVID-19 pandemic in sight. It’s vital that we double down on our efforts to keep everyone safe—especially those belonging to high risk categories—until we’re all able to be fully vaccinated. It’s time to find our second wind and get through this together.
Written by: The Editorial Board