Social distancing is tough, but vital


Axel Toft

In the midst of a global pandemic, metropolitan Minneapolis feels untarnished. Many Red Knights are getting out an enjoying nature.

Axel Toft, Staff Writer

The other day I sat in my living room watching TV, furious because my parents wouldn’t let me outside and all sporting activities were suspended or postponed. Reluctantly, I flipped through my favorite news channels. They made it clear that our world was in the midst of a global pandemic. The national news displayed CDC guidelines for the coronavirus, and locally, the same messages were spread (as well as covering all the closing of venues and restaurants). By the time I got up off my couch, I understood that I was supposed to “stay six feet apart,” “social distance,” and “stay inside.” 

I looked at the clock, and it was finally time for me to walk the dog. As I walked my dog around Bde Maka Ska (the lake adjacent to my house), I watched hundreds of people on the parkway, all in close proximity, walking in one path. Runners were taking hard breaths, and people were even coughing and sneezing. At that moment, after just being primed by the news channels, I knew this was not right.

I understand martial law hasn’t been enacted and that people have the right to get outside a bit to keep their sanity, but this (everyone in the area on the same paths and fields) is unfathomably incorrect. If restaurants are closed, and certain grocery stores are mandated to only allow ten people or fewer in their store, how is it okay to come within six feet of hundreds of people walking around the lake?

People who are carelessly in close proximity right now aren’t special. They are just as susceptible as anyone else.

— Axel Toft

I can understand how people may feel detached from the statistics and the numbers being reported. This leads to people not putting enough effort into following the guidelines: ‘It probably won’t affect me anyways.’ Although this mindset may seem harmless, it is inherently cruel and insensitive. Do these people think the thousands of those who have died from the virus thought they were going to get it? Do they think that the people with dead family members knew it was going to happen? 

Cases in Minnesota are escalating (with the majority of cases in Hennepin County). People who are carelessly in close proximity right now aren’t special. They are just as susceptible as anyone else. Their inherent sense of superiority is ridiculous and may cost lives. People don’t understand just how easy it is to spread or catch the disease–Dr. John Brooks, a CDC researcher, says “A recent study from the NIH and CDC suggested that COVID can persist in the air and on surfaces for hours, to even days.” 

I understand how it may be necessary to ‘get out’ somewhere to run, walk, bike, chill out, whatever, but I just would like to see fewer people using the exact same walking path and areas for these. It’s impossible to prohibit people from coming within six feet of others. Even if we could, the probability of the virus spreading is still high considering it can persist in the air for lengthy periods of time. Without social distance, the virus has a basic reproduction number estimated at 2-2.5, meaning every COVID patient can infect at least 2 more people. I would advise people to at least think of how easy it could be for them to catch this disease if it were airborne, and the two or more people they might infect (and how quickly it may spread to those most vulnerable).