Editorial—COVID-19 rates in Marquette concerning

North Wind Staff

As we move into flu season, we at the North Wind are concerned about the rising rates of COVID-19 on campus and in the Marquette community.

For some time, at least one COVID-19 case was confirmed on campus each day, according to the NMU Safe on Campus Dashboard. Most recently, 4 off-campus students and 1 on-campus student were confirmed with COVID-19 on Sept. 23 and 24, followed by another case of an off-campus student, confirmed on Sept. 27.

At this point, it’s worth reminding students that the risk of being hospitalized for COVID-19 is greater if you have not been vaccinated, according to the CDC. Although this semester we have become more relaxed about social distancing, hand-washing, disinfecting surfaces and other precautions, COVID-19 isn’t over. It is still causing deaths, and it likely won’t go away any time soon.

As we enter flu season, there will likely be many scares. Since many symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu are similar, it would be easy for students to assume they have either illness and be wrong. The possibly disastrous result of this mishaps could be the spread of COVID-19 to others.

Increasingly surfacing online are unfounded conspiracies claiming that the flu shot this year contains COVID-19 vaccines. For some, these rumors cause hesitancy regarding the flu shot. This is just the opposite effect of what we need.

In order to reduce strain on medical infrastructure in the coming season, it is crucial that as many people as possible obtain the yearly influenza shot. 

And, conveniently, many of the measures we have taken against the spread of COVID-19 will also be helpful in mitigating the spread of influenza: i.e. wearing masks, washing hands and cleaning commonly-touched surfaces. However, these precautions will only help if we continue to put them in practice.

NMU has been doing a fair job of this on campus. This is reflected in the relatively low rate of COVID-19 infections among campus residents. However, we must remember to keep up precautions when going out into the community as well.

Certainly, it is tempting to take advantage of the lax mask rules at businesses around town. Perhaps the summertime break from masks has made it harder for us to accept the continuing necessity of covering our faces. But, we must remind our peers that Marquette County has recently been designated as high risk regarding COVID, according to the CDC. The spike in county cases somewhat resembles the spike which caused NMU to revert to entirely online courses last fall.

If there is any hope of convincing a campus community that has become tired of the constant reminders and pleas for caution, we would like to try. Please, make it a personal goal to continue to wear your mask correctly, even in the grocery store or in social gatherings. Don’t go to class if you feel ill. 

Again, COVID-19 is still here. We’ve talked about it enough, we know how to combat it. At this point, a year and a half later, it’s just a matter of discipline.