OPINION: I was wrong about COVID-19

Don't panic buy because of the Coronavirus, but take precautions to protect yourself

LAUREN PETTIT | DAILY EVERGREEN ILLUSTRATION

On Feb. 3, I made a rash judgement, that we shouldn’t stress the coronavirus. I was naive, I hadn’t caught my first frat flu yet. I was a mere child. At the time, students and Pullman natives alike were being racist and irrational about the recent outbreak of the Wuhan novel coronavirus. Unfortunately, since then there have been developments that are scary enough that we can now safely say, you can panic.

Just over the pass lies the town of Mill Creek, Washington. Just half an hour north of Seattle, the quaint suburb is home to over 20,000 people. The county that contains Mill Creek in Snohomish county has just over 800,000 residents. Many WSU students call this area home, and with our Everett campus, some students even call it school.

Inside of Mill Creek’s winding neighborhood streets is a 4A high school called Henry M. Jackson High School. With a student population of over 2,300 students, many college students here in Pullman once attended JHS, and some even have siblings that still attend the high school.

On Feb. 29, parents were sent an email from Everett Public Schools, the district that contains JHS explaining that a student had tested positive for COVID-19. This student had no travel history.

“Whoever he was in contact with are all on quarantine and not allowed to come to school for 14 days,” Malia Washington, a JHS senior said.

I was clearly wrong about the reach of this virus. Now the only thing we can do is panic, buy toilet paper and pretend to wash our hands.

Of course, in a high school, there are plenty of falsities to be spread around.

Washington said there are rumors that the district only wiped down door handles and didn’t actually do a deep sanitation.

This is terrifying in of itself. Now we know you don’t have to take a vacation to Wuhan to contract the virus, because the virus had who-knows-how-long to infect an entire high school. We know 14-year-old boys aren’t washing their hands either. JHS and administration are taking the highest of precautions moving forward, but ultimately it is unknown how long it was “corona-time” in that high school.

JHS shut itself down on Mar. 2 to do a deep cleansing of the school, but high school students have remained absent throughout the week out of fear. Beware though, Experience WSU programs are starting back up. On weekends there are a high amount of west side high schoolers touring every square inch of this campus.

I don’t know about you but grimy high schoolers using the nap pods could be ground zero for the virus on campus. Not that anyone really uses the nap pods though.

Spring break is approaching fast. Hundreds of WSU students are going to be flocking to the west side for a blissful week at home. Those returning to Snohomish County have to take extra care in their personal hygiene. Be hyperaware of your surroundings, and how much you are touching your face.

Not only has the virus been found in a high school, the first U.S. deaths of the virus are in Washington State. Most, if not all, deaths from the coronavirus are occurring in elderly patients and those with pre-existing conditions. However, contracting an illness especially one as high risk as the coronavirus should still be avoided at all costs.

“I am not that scared, I will just wash my hands a lot,” Mackenzie Waller, freshman business major said.

Students still don’t have enough to panic about. The professors are another problem, and our international students.

Recently, WSU students abroad in Italy have been forced to return to the states to avoid getting sick. WSU is clearly taking as many precautions as they can. It is still possible that summer programs abroad will also get stuck on the chopping block.

This does not give students a go ahead to avoid Asian students. Previously we saw racist actions towards Asian students accusing them of giving people the coronavirus simply because of their racial background. This isn’t the first grade “cooties” outbreak. Hopefully these gross, irrational actions can be put behind us. If the Italians are getting it, the only reason for avoiding Asian students is your own ignorance and racism.

Make sure you are closely monitoring what World Health Organization is saying about the situation. Stop touching your face, if you’re sick, stay home and follow whatever advice your germophobic aunt gives you.

Katie Lane is a zoology major from Everett, Wash. She can be contacted at 335-1140 or at [email protected] The views expressed in this column do not necessarily represent the views of The Daily Evergreen, its editors or publishers.