Editorial—Keep up the good work on those COVID-19 numbers

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The COVID-19 pandemic as it affects us in Michigan is nearly reaching a year in length, and we are currently in the beginning weeks of the third semester of classes which have been changed by COVID-19. It would be easy to become lazy in our social distancing, mask wearing, and other acts of health-consciousness. Yet NMU’s current COVID-19 statistics speak to a positive trend.

North Wind Staff

COVID-19 as it affects us in Michigan is nearly reaching a year in length, and we are currently in the beginning weeks of the third semester of classes which have been changed by COVID-19. It would be easy to become lazy in our social distancing, mask-wearing and other acts of health-consciousness. Yet NMU’s current COVID-19 statistics speak to a positive trend.

Contrary to concerns that plague many of us regarding the potential spread of COVID-19 during winter break, there are fewer cases in the NMU community now than before the break began. At the time of the North Wind’s last COVID-19 update of the Fall 2020 semester, there were 88 active positive cases of COVID-19 at NMU. Now, as of Feb. 4, there are currently 11 active positives, for a percent active positives of 0.17%.

Given this good news, we’d like to take this opportunity to analyze what NMU is doing right, and urge students to remain vigilant as the pandemic is likely not going away soon. If we fail to continue being vigilant, we may end up experiencing a spike in cases. For those who live on campus, you may have noticed some lax behavior in regards to mask-wearing and occupancy limits in public spaces. We encourage housing to monitor this situation. Our quarantine beds are currently at a low 2% occupancy, but we could easily jump up to a 15.8% occupancy like the University of Michigan.

NMU made a point to wait until two weeks had passed after the festivities of New Year’s Eve, ensuring that any COVID-19 cases which may have spread during holiday parties would have manifested in time to be caught before being spread on campus. This action lined up with the governor’s order and made sense given CDC guidelines. In short, it was good protocol.

In contrast, Michigan Tech did not wait to begin the semester two weeks after the holiday but rather began instruction on Jan. 11. They went back to class online for a week, yet were present on campus, catching up with friends, eating, and otherwise making possible the spread of COVID-19.

We fully support NMU’s initiative to make surveillance testing mandatory, so that students are expected to participate in keeping the community safe and healthy. For those who have not yet viewed their required testing date, we encourage visit the required mass screening site to select your preferred testing time.

All that being said, COVID-19 fatigue is certainly a real phenomenon. You might not always feel like wearing your mask everywhere you go. You’ve probably started to chafe against expectations of social isolation. It’s hard to maintain a focus on the importance of actions we must take for safety. We understand that students are frustrated at the continued disruptions, expectations, and loss of freedoms and opportunities we usually enjoy. It’s been tough on everyone. Yet NMU is doing quite well in regards to COVID-19, and that means people are resisting the temptation to slack on safety. We applaud that. We must remain constant and keep up the good work to keep those COVID-19 stats nice and low.