Many of us didn’t think we’d make it this far into the school year without having to shut down campus, yet here we are. Two months in, and we’ve managed to keep coronavirus cases low enough to keep going to class.
It hasn’t been easy, that’s for sure. We’ve had to deal not only with the pandemic but also with repeated hurricane scares. The Loyola community has been incredibly resilient, and we’ve gotten through a lot already this semester.
Yet as chaotic as things have been, this is still the most stability that many of us have felt in months—months that felt like years. With things apparently going steady, it might be tempting to let your guard down. We can’t afford to let that happen. You might be tempted to go out and party for Halloween.
We all love Halloween, especially Halloween in New Orleans. It’s perhaps second only to Mardi Gras among holidays that let the Big Easy show off its most fun side. We all desperately want this to be over. We all want to be able to party, to live out our wild dreams of college debauchery. But we can’t.
In New Orleans and across the country, the pandemic is still just as big of a threat as it has been all year. And it’s only going to get worse as winter approaches. The cold weather will make the pandemic more dangerous. We know that for a fact. During the flu epidemic of 1918, the death rate during the fall and winter was five times as high as it was during summer. To make matters worse, we’re getting into the height of flu season. Not only will the spread of the flu make it harder to identify and track COVID cases, but it will also weaken people’s immune systems, making them more vulnerable to the coronavirus. This year, flu season will be more serious than ever.
On top of that, people are going to start travelling for the holidays, creating more and more opportunities for the virus to spread. In fact, many, if not most, Loyola students will be heading home for Thanksgiving soon enough. Don’t bring COVID home with you. When you’re traveling, keep safety as your top priority, and in the meantime, don’t make matters worse by partying and being irresponsible.
There are lots of reasons why the pandemic could get worse soon. Don’t let yourself be one of them. This Halloween, stay home. Watch a scary movie. Have a costume party on Zoom. Buy a big bag of candy and eat it while you sit on the couch. Just don’t go out and party. We’ve gotten this far by being smart and safe. Don’t stop now.