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Coronavirus has turned life completely upside down and while the desire to meet your loved ones is understandable, the blatant disregard for communal safety is not. 

I remember going to Jack’s, sleeping through my classes and lining up at the Spoke a mere week before my life — our lives — were shut down.

I sympathize with everyone who is experiencing a shadow of the life they normally live.

But, with that being said: to those treating the lockdown as a personal restriction and not as a communal effort to save lives — you are being selfish.

On March 20, Ontarians were asked to go into lockdown in an effort to prevent further community spread of COVID-19. Schools were shut down, university students went home, offices became remote and social circles became very, very small.

Stuck in our homes, with our families, we long to see our friends and significant others. We long to feel less lonely. From here the fatal thought process is born — if your friend Susan has been self-isolating and if you have been self-isolating, then it should be okay to see her, just this one time.

So you meet, and nothing happens. Now, since you’ve already met once and that door has been opened you can’t logically defend not seeing her again, so your meetings become a recurring event.

Then Josh enters the picture. Josh has also been self-isolating, and since you’ve been self-isolating and Susan has been self-isolating there shouldn’t be a risk in seeing Josh, right? Or maybe you don’t think this but perhaps Susan does with her friend Mark. And if you get to see your one friend, your sister gets to see her one friend and your mom is seeing her one friend.

Here, I want to ask you — how sure can you be that you have been truly and entirely isolated, with absolutely no exposure, from the outside world? How sure can you be that the people you’re meeting have been totally isolated?

We need essential goods and services: medicine, food and even beyond the essentials, let’s be honest — how many of us have lined up at a McDonalds drive-thru?

Staying completely isolated from the outside world is impossible. There is no guarantee that you or anyone has not been exposed — we may not even be able to tell if we have. 

But beyond increasing the chances of you, yourself, becoming more likely to be infected, you are giving more opportunities for community spread to continue. If you were to get infected at a grocery store, you’re not only going to spread the virus to your five family members but in a web of single, one-on-one meetings you may spread it to five other families. Instead of five new cases, there are now 25 new cases and it’s not impossible that one of those 25 may end up in the hospital, an intensive care unit or worse.  

And with the advent of social media and the need to share every moment of our lives, we document these meetings. With that documentation, we encourage others to do the same — if I’m doing it, you can too. All of a sudden houses are becoming more connected and less isolated.

Researchers at the University of Washington released a model in April, titled “Can’t I please just visit one friend?” depicting how that action contributes to community spread. If two people in each household maintain an in-person interaction with one person from another household, 71 per cent of houses in the community become connected.

It shows us that each interaction we can postpone until after quarantine is an opportunity to save lives.

So remember, the next time you want to leave your house to see someone — you’re not only choosing to stay home for your own safety, you’re doing it for everyone else’s. 

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Coordinating Editor

Taniya was a culture editor for volume 113 of the Gazette. She is a coordinating editor for sports and culture for volume 114 of the Gazette.

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