Last Updated: November 20, 2020, 11:49 pm

OPINION | Utah needs to take pandemic seriously


COVID-19 numbers have been rising all over the United States. Brock Doman says Utahns should be following COVID-19 protocol more seriously. Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Utah residents are not doing enough to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Utah is currently the No. 30 most populated state in the country, but it has recently been named one of the world’s worst hotspots for the COVID-19 virus. So, what is going on? Why can’t we figure out how to wear a mask, social distance and ultimately slow down the virus to see the numbers of confirmed cases begin to deplete like other countries across the globe are seeing?

When I went to the grocery store last week, an employee greeted me at the door and was offering masks while shopping for those who do not have one. As I was adding items into my cart, I noticed multiple shoppers had either taken their masks off or were wearing them underneath their chins.

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Social distancing, wearing masks, washing your hands and getting tested if you’re experiencing COVID-like symptoms are the actions recommended to help slow the spread of the virus, but some Utahns aren’t engaging in those minimal-effort recommendations.

I take this pandemic seriously for three primary reasons: I have an immediate family member who is immunocompromised and therefore high-risk, I currently hold a position in health care and see firsthand what the virus is capable of doing, and I care about the health and wellness of the country we live in. It has almost been a full year since the country saw its first confirmed COVID-19 case in the United States, and over 244,000 deaths later, we still can’t figure out how to stop it.

Some would say wearing a mask and social distancing is taking away Americans’ freedom, but the decision to wear a mask is 100% up to you; however, if an individual refuses to wear a mask, store owners and restaurants have the same freedom to refuse entry in their buildings. The ball swings both ways.

Choosing to wear a mask is an excellent way for people to show patriotism for their country in this time of need. Wearing a mask shows support and care for those around you; this shows you value their health and well-being by doing your part to slow the spread. If you choose not to wear a mask because it may hurt your ears or feel uncomfortable, how do you think the 75-year-old man on a respirator is feeling, infected with the virus while fighting for his life?

Some feel the virus only affects those who are older, so they don’t need to worry about what would happen if they receive a positive test; this belief is completely inaccurate. Yes, the elderly and immunosuppressed are more at risk of serious symptoms if they get the virus, but evidence shows that athletes and the younger generations can develop myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, from catching the virus. Myocarditis is a very serious diagnosis and shouldn’t be taken lightly since it results in weakening of the heart muscle and can cause irregular heartbeats, along with severe symptoms including sudden cardiac arrests.

There are even people who believe the virus is a hoax, and believe conspiracies that hospitals aren’t really as crowded as they say they are. In fact, there were people who tried breaking into the Utah Valley Hospital to “prove” the hospitals aren’t really that busy and are putting out fake numbers.

DSU students will soon be able to get a COVID-19 test once a week to help stop the virus from spreading. If you feel sick, get tested, quarantine and social distance until you have received a negative result.

DSU is also offering courses via Zoom, which is a great option to attend classes if you are feeling under the weather and awaiting a test result. College students love to party and have a good time, but the lives of others are much more important than going to a weekend party during a pandemic. We need to understand the severity of the virus and do our part to minimize the rate at which the virus spreads.

Utah, it’s time for us to click the reset button and commit to doing what we can to stop the spread of the virus. Let’s set our political values aside and acknowledge the severity of this potentially fatal virus. Follow the recent mask mandate, socially distance and do your part as an American citizen to slow down this virus.

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