Self-isolation is self-preservation (and basic human decency)


Graphic by Sarah Morgan

Sarah Morgan

DCPS’s rescheduled spring break, nicknamed “coronacation” after COVID-19, is unlike anything we’ve experienced before. So, during this time we might be thinking, “I’m sooo bored. What’s the move?” 

If you’re craving social interaction, you might want to invite all 50 of the homies over. Which would be a mistake. First of all, the social distancing and quarantine approach is to limit the amount of contact you have with other people, so we can slow the spread, and control the number of people exposed. This should be enough incentive, but since teenagers are less affected by respiratory illnesses, we seem to be a lot more nonchalant about the situation than we should be, based on the behavior displayed by many fellow students. 

There are people who live with you and take care of you. Maybe a mom, a grandpa, a brother, or really any guardian. While teens have generally not been experiencing COVID-19 as intensely as other age groups, we can still carry the virus, making us a possible threat to our loved ones. And besides that, anyone with a compromised respiratory system is at a higher risk. How many American teens have asthma? 11.1 percent, according to the CDC.

This is not to mention that the incubation period for the coronavirus is incredibly long and variable (from two to 14 days). We could be walking around with this virus for roughly two weeks before symptoms arise. You might have contracted it at school just last week, and you still wouldn’t know. All of your friends could have gotten it two weeks ago and you wouldn’t know until today. 

In addition, while COVID-19’s mutations are not really cause for concern, the more people it infects, the more likely a dangerous mutation will occur, making the virus even more frightening. And if the virus does spread enough to acquire a dangerous mutation, everyone will be hit harder.

Which brings us back to slowing the spread. Because while a lot of people have it, the slower the disease spreads, the better in the long run. The current situation in Italy exemplifies how terrible this situation can get if people are getting sick en masse. A lack of resources and infrastructure has created a terrifying situation. Hospitals are running out of ventilators for people who are struggling to breathe. Patients are being turned away from hospitals because there is no more space. 

The mindset of “I’m a teenager, I’m probably not going to die” is selfish. It’s true: we’re teenagers, and most of us will be alright. Only, there are more people in the world than just us. Self-isolation is essential in order to slow the spread of coronavirus. This means we should avoid large groups and public spaces unless it’s absolutely necessary. Instead of hanging out with all 50 of the homies, Facetime them! Hang out with your family! Cook something—anything that you can do at home. This period is essential to sort out who’s sick and who’s not, hence the two weeks off. Use them responsibly. •