A sign along I-690 east in Syracuse implores drivers to stay home and help saves lives Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Schools, bars, restaurants and many businesses have closed to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

As the COVID-19 situation continues to change and evolve around the world, it is important that all students take the advice of both the university and health officials seriously. You’re not cool or special for continuing to go out excessively in public.

All people should be doing their best to practice social distancing to the best of their ability. Even limiting your interactions by half of a normal day could make a huge difference. If you have to go to work, go to work. Many students are completely financially independent and rely on those pay checks to pay their bills. However, going somewhere for the sake of going somewhere is reckless and selfish.

It’s important that people remember that even if they won’t get sick enough to require hospitalization there are countless people who will. This virus spreads incredibly quickly, evident from the rapidly rising cases. It’s important that students make a conscious effort to do their part to try to lower the exposure right.

A term that many have seen on social media is flatten the curve. This term is used to encourage people to practice social distancing. It means that the more that do stay home the less likely the virus is to spread at an unmanageable rate. However, it may be too late for this to be an option.

The Center for Disease Control began urging people to stay home towards the end of last week. Unfortunately, many Americans did not take this seriously and continued to engage in their everyday activities throughout the weekend.

In the time since the CDC began encouraging social distancing, we’ve learned that people can be carriers of the virus while being completely symptom free and they believe that this incubation period can last for up to two weeks. This means that people could have been out this weekend in bars and clubs feeling fine but carrying the virus.

While people have the incorrect idea that the only people who should be worried about the virus are the sick, elderly or pregnant, that doesn’t mean you won’t get sick. Just because you don’t fit those three categories does not mean you can’t become very sick, it simply means you’re less likely to have serious complications.

Continue to check The East Carolinian for current information as our campus and community face an unprecedented time. Remember to be mindful of the people you know who may be at a higher risk and if you can’t stay home because of work, try your best to limit who you interact with outside of that. Most importantly, check on your neighbors and friends. Help where you can.

If you won’t stay home for other people's safety, then at least stay home to protect yourself. It is of the utmost importance that every member of East Carolina University and the larger Greenville community follow the rules put into place to protect those who are at risk.

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