By Andrea Valdez
Broadcast News Director
Photo by Chris Swann
[mkdf_dropcaps type=”square” color=”Black” background_color=”White”]C[/mkdf_dropcaps]OVID-19 has turned into what many are calling the “new normal.” This new normal has brought precautions like temperature checks, designated social distancing spaces, online meetings, mask mandates and more. In-person events have either been canceled or switched online. For the fall, TJC created a COVID-19 plan with the health and safety of students in mind. Students who attended classes in person followed the COVID-19 protocol like wearing masks, social distancing and creating a way to report positive cases on campus. In the Tyler community, smaller establishments are slowly opening up their doors for dine in and are continuing to offer take-out options.
COVID-19 has caused a massive shift and takeover in everyday life. Even TV is down to two topics: the 2020 election or how COVID-19 cases are increasing nationwide.
At the beginning of the virus, we never could’ve imagined the outcome. There was the sense of fear and uncertainty not just in the U.S. but also worldwide. By March 2020, the World Health Organization had marked the spread of COVID-19 as a worldwide pandemic. The last major pandemic was the flu outbreak of 1918.
As the virus spread rapidly, world leaders formed a plan on how to combat the spread in their respected locations and worked quickly to implement their plan. The U. S. on the other hand, formed a COVID-19 plan later than most countries, which lead to the spread worsening in the U.S.
By the end of March, the U.S. was already leading in the number of cases and continues to have the highest number of cases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we have seen cases continuing to rise in the U.S. With colder temperatures and the holiday season approaching, we will continue to see cases increase rather than decrease as we had hoped.
Countries that created a plan to combat and contain the spread of the virus are slowly lifting restrictions and going back to normal because their strategies have been successful.
For example, New Zealand, who as of Nov. 17 had only four positive COVID-19 cases, illustrates how Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s efforts have worked well. The country went into lockdown in late March by quarantining citizens and following all the procedures necessary to ensure everyone was safe. The country went as far as shutting the borders to all non-citizens and residents. New Zealand citizens listened to their government officials and followed the steps necessary to reopen the country, which is something the U.S. has struggled with. In March, the U.S. declared a state of emergency and shut down the country. Many states including Texas and California lifted the lockdown earlier than anticipated while cases were still high.
There has been a lack of communication between the U.S. and its citizens. President Donald Trump apparently knew the severity of the virus in the beginning, yet to not cause a stir among the American people, he did not make a big deal about the virus until it became too late. Even when the U.S. reached 11,320,337 cases, the country still downplayed the virus’ severity. Precautions, such as social distancing and wearing masks, are more relaxed and are not taken as serious as they used to be. Many see the case count as rising numbers and not actual people who are dying.
If the current administration had acted faster with this virus, we would not be leading in COVID-19 cases. Cases would go down, and we would go back to normal like other countries. For now, the American people can only expect the worst to come and be prepared to see cases to increase.