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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Dallas Wiertella
Dallas Wiertella
Multimedia Editor

Through my experience here at the North Wind I have been able to have the privilege of highlighting students through all forms of multimedia journalism. Whether I'm in front or behind the camera, I aim...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Opinion—Are we getting too lax about COVID-19?

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Sam Rush/NW

We’re all sick of seeing it, reading about it, talking about it and living it. Gov. Whitmer’s initial executive order for COVID-19 turns one year old on March 13th. This was a declaration of a state of emergency after two cases were confirmed in Michigan. In other words, Michiganders are approaching one year of having COVID-19 in the state, and I know we are all damn tired of hearing about it.

But we don’t have a choice. 

Earlier this month a local bar, the Wooden Nickel, lost its liquor license for failure to comply with the 25% capacity rule, according to michigan.gov. Nobody was surprised by this. I, for one, live near the Wooden Nickel and have driven by one of the nights they failed to comply. I saw a line spilling out the door and people packed inside. 

The Wooden Nickel is a single example, and although it stood out like a sore thumb, there are other, unaccounted for examples.

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In my recreation classes, desks are crowded and don’t have dividers. During class one day we mapped out wilderness areas on the whiteboard at the front of the room. We all picked up the same marker and wrote the wilderness area on the board, as a line formed to write on the board a classmate commented to herself, “we aren’t socially distancing.” 

Another course in the same program has students lead outdoor experiences. During the first hike, when we arrived at the halfway mark students took off their masks and continued to be in close proximity, talking to one another. I also chose to remove my mask, and everyone there was capable of making their own decisions, however, I kept my distance from my classmates.

These are my personal experiences, and I’m sure I am not alone in having witnessed a failure to comply to COVID-19 expectations.

We’re all fed up with social distancing, online learning and wearing masks at a grocery store. Yet these orders are still in place because there’s a serious health risk at large. People are still dying. Michigan’s increase in case count was reported at 1,744 on February 22, according to NYTimes. While cases may be overall decreasing, it doesn’t mean we can gather and hang out with our friends without masks on. 

Gary Peters, U.S Senator, recently sent out an email explaining vaccine production and distribution across the country.

“Recently the Biden Administration announced they had secured an additional 200 million vaccine doses–enough to inoculate every American adult by the end of the summer,” Peters said.

Peters also states later in the same email that he is pushing for the President’s American Rescue Plan, which would help struggling families, small businesses and accelerate vaccination distribution time. These developments are all wonderful, but the end of summer is still six months away.

On a more micro level, Northern Michigan University has one active COVID-19 case as of February 23, according to the safe on campus dashboard. Again, a decrease in cases is a promising sight, and I’m sure I’ve done more convincing of lightening restrictions than I have of tightening them. We’re getting there.

Maybe I’ve developed a hypersensitivity to safety surrounding COVID-19, or maybe it’s turned me into a germaphobe. Either way, I’m certainly not the only one. I have an inkling that our generation will be haunted by the time we’re living in, similar to those of the great depression who became hoarders and hid their money—we’ll be scoffing at people in grocery stores and acting like some new hybrid of Karen who demands everyone wear a mask. 

I know that thought is harrowing. We all crave a return to normalcy; in truth, we all just want to be around people without a barrier to divide us, something that removes the humanity and ability to connect with one another. 

I want it as much as any other student. It’s my senior year, and I’d love to get in the bar at full capacity and buy a few beers, something I couldn’t do before COVID-19. But if we get lax about the restrictions still in place, then the end of the pandemic only gets further away. 

As much as I’d love to go to a hockey game, it’s a small sacrifice to keep my fellows in the student body healthy. I know we’ve all given many small sacrifices. We as students have been engulfed in an overabundance of homework and mental health problems, but I urge us all to hang on until the vaccine is in our arms.

Editor’s Note: The North Wind is committed to offering a free and open public forum of ideas, publishing a wide range of viewpoints to accurately represent the NMU student body. This is a staff column, written by an employee of the North Wind. As such, it expresses the personal opinions of the individual writer, and does not necessarily reflect the position of the North Wind Editorial Board.

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