Editorial: please adhere to safety guidelines

As we enter the tenth month of COVID-19 precautions, school closures and on-and-off stay-at-home orders it is evident that this period has taken a toll on everybody. A national study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that symptoms of anxiety were three times more prevalent in the second quarter of 2020 than during the same period of 2019. Likewise, symptoms of depression disorder were nearly four times more common in the second quarter of 2020 than in 2019. Such lockdown-induced mental health drop-offs have been widespread, and in a time when loneliness is a consistent theme in many of our lives and thoughts, it can be tempting to question the purpose of our isolation.
Another CDC study shows that young people are far less likely to become hospitalized due to COVID-19 than their older counterparts, which has tempted some young people to ignore safety guidelines. However, such temptation is dangerous and has led to legitimate harm. COVID-19 rates are higher than they’ve ever been and remain on the climb, cementing one of the worst national health crisis responses in American history. Local hospitals are flooded with patients, and if action is not taken soon, they will need to begin deterring infirmed individuals dying of COVID-19. So more than ever, it is imperative that Urban students adhere to the guidelines set out by the state: avoid seeing people outside of your household, stay at home when possible, and always socially distance. By failing to do so, we impact not only ourselves, but our at-risk loved ones, overwhelmed health care workers, and friends who have respected guidelines because they care about us.
Additionally, the Urban community cannot afford to follow the examples of our government officials with respect to COVID precautions. For some, the importance of adhering to social distancing guidelines has been undercut by the very sources that needed to legitimize them. President Donald Trump has repeatedly mocked mask-wearing in the public forum, sparking a following of “anti-maskers,” whose privilege-laden argument portrays the defiance of safety mandates as the preservation of freedom.
Simultaneously, pro-social distancing Democratic politicians have reeked of hypocrisy. California Governor Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Mayor London Breed were both seen at close gatherings at the same Napa restaurant on consecutive nights (for more information on this turn to page 2 to read Max Miller’s article). Unfortunate as it is, we must continue to do as they say, but not as they do. Our community relies on our adherence to their advisories – advisories that they themselves have failed to adhere to, an immense hypocrisy indeed. Nonetheless, it is more crucial than ever that we follow their words. Those that we love, and those that others love, are reliant upon this for their lives. During this irregular moment in our lives, refraining from seeing our friends in person shows that we care about them. It demonstrates that we are as committed to their health and safety as they should be to ours.
At this point, the Urban Legend implores the Urban community to only leave your home when necessary and to avoid social gatherings. Throughout the pandemic, many Urban students have gathered with friends, with 69% of students admitting to violating social distancing guidelines according to a recent Urban Legend poll. Now is not the time. Indeed, after spending the majority of a year withdrawn from much of society, our friendships can be one of the only things still keeping us sustained. Important though it is to maintain mental health by reaching out to friends, in this momentous period, it is more important to empathize with others and to place others before ourselves. Rather than visiting them in person, use FaceTime, group chats, Netflix parties, and more to hold yourself over until this spike in cases calms. By violating guidelines, we put more than just ourselves at a dangerous risk, and we perpetuate the crisis that we all dearly wish would end. At this critical point in history, we must remember that our decisions have resulting consequences, and that we are not the only ones who will shoulder the burden.