The onset of the COVID-19 second wave: why numbers are rising and how we’re fighting the surge

Photo by Darien Funk

Last week, 28 students at Western University tested positive for the virus. Their interactions were traced to gatherings at local restaurants and nightclubs while they shared drinks and e-cigarettes; another seven cases were linked to a single house party. Wilfrid Laurier University also announced over the weekend that four of its students tested positive. 

After these COVID-19 outbreaks, I sincerely hope this is a wake-up call for students and other young adults not following the public health and safety protocols.  

London Mayor Ed Holder said: “To those who are part of the problem, I cannot put it any more plainly. If this continues, you are going to kill someone.”    

While you might say this is a dramatic statement, it’s unfortunately true. Since the virus’s incubation period can range from one to 14 days, we may not know we have the virus until getting tested, and we may never be able to fully track its transmission per individual.  

Throughout the summer we saw some relaxation of public health and social measures, but we are faced with the choice to either stop partying now or prepare for another lockdown. 

Statistics show that most of the recent cases involve young people and are often caused by mass gatherings like parties, but also include large family gatherings for weddings, birthdays, etc. Therefore, as you can probably guess, the spike in COVID-19 numbers is caused by improper forms of physical distancing. 

As a result, the Ontario government has taken its first steps in a second lockdown by limiting the number of people at indoor gatherings to 10 people, and outdoor gatherings to 25 people.  

Ontario Premier Doug Ford stated that people caught violating these guidelines will face severe fines, in order to deter people from gathering in large groups.  

The Ontario government has issued a minimum $10,000 fine for organizers of illegal gatherings, and a minimum $750 fine for guests at illegal gatherings. Still not convinced? Canadian universities have also decided to reprimand students who are putting the community’s health at risk with the threat of expulsion if caught violating public health and safety protocols.   

Some university students are arguing that the government, rather than students, are to blame since they’ve known students will be returning to schools in September, and that they would be partying and socializing; therefore, the government should have done a better job of creating a targeted campaign. 

While there’s always room for improvement, this argument proves the immaturity of students who claim themselves to be “adults.” The fact that some students and young adults cannot abide by the rules for the sake of public health shows just how naive and ignorant they really are.  

Going to parties in a pandemic is like smoking cigarettes or vaping. You think you look cool but it’s really not cool at all; it’s irresponsible and endangers your health and the health of others. There are other ways to have fun and socialize that don’t threaten the lives of those around you. 

If major fines aren’t going to deter you from partying and gathering, think of all the other side effects. Becoming infected with COVID-19 would force you to stay in your room or house for 14 days after you’re clear of symptoms, cause setbacks in school by not having the energy for homework and contribute to a decrease in mental well-being.  

For those of you who have been following the COVID-19 guidelines, I thank you. For those of you who choose to ignore the COVID-19 guidelines, I hope you can re-evaluate your actions and realize we can’t beat this virus alone. We’re not in bad shape and there is still time to change for the better, but we need to assert our collective responsibility and be accountable.  

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