Written by Kiahna White-Alcain
Nicholas LaValle, a Bellingham resident, hasn’t done much to prepare.
“I haven’t taken too much precaution in preparing for a quarantine or anything along those lines,” LaValle said on Wednesday, March 11. “I have been washing my hands more, but that’s about it since the coronavirus has been identified in Washington.”
A lot of things online seem to be overreactions, LaValle said, but COVID-19 should not be taken lightly. People over the age of 60 and people who have underlying health conditions are most at risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“My work has canceled all of our meetings and moved anything that we can do online to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Bellingham resident Paula Winchell.
The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Whatcom County was a woman in her 60s on Tuesday, March 10. Another two followed on Friday, March 13, and Sunday, March 15.
Winchell said she is worried about COVID-19 becoming more widespread in the Bellingham area.
“I’ve been working from home [on] my computer and doing chores around my house that I haven’t been able to do, since I’ve been so busy with work,” Winchell said. “I’ve even had the chance to plant some flowers in my garden since it’s been so nice out in the past few days.”
As of March 15, 75,620 people have recovered from COVID-19, according to John Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering, but public health officials from the CDC to the NIH to the University of Washington have warned that American hospitals could easily be overwhelmed if there is a spike in demand that requires beds for more than 894,574 people across the country. PeaceHealth St. Joseph has 253 beds, according to its website.
Instead, those public health officials are encouraging a nationwide period of voluntary quarantine in order to “flatten the curve,” a term used to describe delaying the transmission of the novel coronavirus so that everyone doesn’t get sick at once, causing the dangerous spike in cases at the same time.
Taking your temperature twice a day, staying home from school, work and social activities, and keeping a distance of 6 to 10 feet away from people are the recommended precautions from the health department. Public officials, from the White House to the Whatcom County Council, have begged their neighbors to avoid hoarding.
According to the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, all K-12 schools in Washington state will close until April 24.
So, how to avoid feeling isolated? A Feb. 25 article from The Guardian reports that COVID-19 memes have taken over social media, and they seem to be making their way to Bellingham
Relaxing the outdoors while in self-quarantine has become a hit meme. Videos of a man fishing in his own goldfish tank and masked women dancing with doctors in Wuhan’s hospitals have surfaced on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.
Many residents have been documenting their COVID-19 experience on social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. Jubal Jones, a fourth-year student, has seen the effects of COVID-19 on Snapchat.
“From what I’ve seen, it’s been a lot of people, mostly on Snapchat, laughing at the grocery stores getting ransacked,” Jones said on Wednesday, March 11. “I do think people are kind of overreacting because of that.”
Jones admitted to sending a Snapchat of himself buying the one pack of paper towels left at Fred Meyer.
“I thought it was pretty funny,” he said.
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