The Cummings Brothers: Coronavirus

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Written by Logan Cummings, Alex Cummings, and Ethan Madura|
Video by Logan Cummings, Alex Cummings, and Ethan Madura|

After many interviews, we gained some very interesting responses to this question: What do you know about the Coronavirus? The most obvious takeaway from this is the fact that many students took the matter lightly. Some said it sounded like a band name, some said that only old people are at risk (so high-schoolers don’t have to worry), and some made jokes relating to Corona beer. Freshman Matthew Menacho referenced the drink when suggesting that we celebrate once the pandemic ends and “send it.” Quite a few Corona beer jokes had to be edited out of the video. Clearly, the Coronavirus was not a serious matter to many students before the country was put in a state of emergency.

Students complained about cancellations, saying that the state and school system have been overreacting. The CIAC canceled the remainder of the winter sports season, and the administration canceled this year’s Morgan Musical. There is also the potential of losing the spring sports season (which has not yet been decided by the CIAC).

Junior Olivia Riccio said, “I don’t think they should be taking these drastic measures” regarding the cancellations. There is also uncertainty regarding both proms and graduation. The original deposits for the proms have been taken back, but there’s still potential to have the proms if the pandemic blows over soon enough. The senior prom has already been rescheduled to June 5th, but it’s still up in the air.

Nobody is sure about what will happen in terms of graduation if we’re in a quarantine state through June. Whether we’ll have a virtual graduation, postpone the regular ceremony, or just be given our diplomas in the mail is not yet known. It’s not an easy decision to make (especially this early on), so we simply have to wait and see.

Many students also said that the media is overplaying the severity of the situation. Since students don’t see the virus as a threat to themselves, they think that news outlets are going crazy.

According to freshman Dylan Mazzarella, “it’s not really that big of a deal, it’s basically the flu.” Senior Carlo Arnoldi said, “there’s a bit of hysteria going around… more than there should be.” Carlo then urged viewers to see the Morgan Musical which had not yet been canceled at the time of filming. It’s likely that students thought it to be overexaggerated since some of the aforementioned cancellations were very disappointing. Regarding the state of hysteria in America, our in-school suspension supervisor Dan Zumpano commented that “we gotta be prepared, but let’s not overly panic.”

Aside from stats that were all over the place, the students had an accurate understanding of the Coronavirus. Some students made sure to address the virus by its actual name: COVID-19. There is a variety of viral strains in the Coronavirus family; COVID-19 is the one causing the current pandemic. The virus is usually spread through droplets of fluid. This transmission occurs through coughing or sneezing on someone or something. If these droplets end up on a surface, the virus can be spread through contact. Simply put, COVID-19 is incredibly contagious.

Students were also right in emphasizing that COVID-19 affects more elderly people and people with weaker immune systems. This means that such people show more symptoms and are at higher risk of death. That being said, anybody can fall ill with the virus. It’s even possible to carry the virus and transmit it without showing symptoms. While it’s hard to measure how contagious such people are, it’s possible to carry the virus for 1-14 days before exhibiting symptoms. Usually, people begin to show symptoms after 5 days. Some symptoms are fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Aside from its contagiousness, its symptoms are very similar to the flu. Many people suggested that the flu has a higher death rate than COVID-19. According to an article from Live Science, it’s likely the other way around. “Though the death rate for COVID-19 is unclear, most research suggests it is higher than that of the seasonal flu.”

Some students also accurately mentioned the origin of the virus. The COVID-19 strain first showed up in Wuhan, China. It was first observed on December 31st, 2019 with 41 patients having some strange pneumonia-like illness. It was formally discovered as COVID-19 on January 7, 2020. From then on, it spread across the world very quickly. Outbreaks in South Korea, Iran, and Italy began in the month of February. On March 13, 2020, the US declared a national emergency because of the virus. This is the same day Clinton Public Schools decided to shut down indefinitely.

According to The Atlantic, America is not well equipped to deal with this pandemic. COVID-19 is becoming very dangerous as the hospitals are getting overwhelmed with patients (you can see a live update of the total cases per country here). As the total number of cases increases, the availability of hospital beds, ventilators, and protective gear decreases. Amid limited action from the federal government, many state governments have urged citizens to stay home and practice social distancing. By limiting person-to-person contact, the spread of the virus is slowed. This reduces the number of patients flooding into the hospital at any given time and it gives medical researchers and scientists more time to come up with a solution. Since America as a whole lacks an action plan and is low on medical supplies, it’s crucial that we do our part to slow the spread. On social media, many students are now promoting the method of social distancing to slow the pandemic.

COVID-19 stats as of noon on March 30th

The CDC has put out some recommendations for how individuals can help prevent the spread of the COVID-19:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using a regular household detergent and water.

Here are our own thoughts:

Logan: This feels like the free-trial version of the apocalypse. Seeing so few cars on the road is just strange. It’s interesting to watch the video from just a couple weeks ago before the schools were shut down and when students didn’t care about the Coronavirus (especially considering the country is living in fear now). At this point, most people seem to be aware of the severity of the situation as the number of cases increases every day. I just hope that people are taking the pandemic more seriously than they were before.

Alex: I think this is a very dangerous thing that is going around now. We should make sure to stay home because that should give the doctors the time they need to treat this virus (as well as giving them easier access to equipment). It’s still a good time to get out of the house, go for a run or walk as long as people stay away from others at a distance of 6 feet or more. It’s nice to know that the administration and teachers are worried about the students and the community.

Ethan: This is becoming more and more of an issue. I believe that the students were not scared about the virus. They were just eager to get out of school. A lot of elderly people are definitely more scared than young people since they’re more at risk. Although it’s weird to have the schools closed indefinitely, we understand they want to make sure our school system is safe. Like Alex, I think the administration is more worried about the well-being of the students and community than they are anything else. 

Although a few weeks ago students were pretty dismissive of the Coronavirus, we’re hoping that they’re taking the pandemic seriously. Be sure to keep up with the news to make sure you’re up to date on what’s happening!