Brankin: The lines outside of bars and the illusion of invincibility

Is going to a bar worth getting or giving someone COVID-19? Absolutely not.

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Tara Brankin

As I was walking across campus the other day, I saw something that left me both furious and perplexed: an absurdly long line of people waiting outside of one of the most popular bars on campus. While future patrons were supposed to be standing on marked Xs on the sidewalk in an effort to socially distance, people were standing shoulder to shoulder, as if a global pandemic weren’t continuing to take the lives of people across the world.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 400,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control. While many people I know and I take this pandemic very seriously, it shocks me to see so many others who do not. A common excuse I have heard from many my age is something along the lines of, “Well I’m young and healthy, so it’s not like I’ll die if I get COVID.” My question is, even if this statement weren’t wildly inaccurate (which it is), why aren’t they worried about getting people they care about sick?

At the beginning of the pandemic, many people, myself included, believed that the only people who would die from coronavirus were the elderly or those who were immunocompromised. Because the previous administration consistently gave conflicting information regarding social distancing and prevention of the virus’s spread, not much was done to refute this common belief. But as more and more people continued to die, it became evident that it is not just the elderly who die from COVID-19. In fact, a significant number of young adults with no preexisting conditions have died from the virus.

Even if you don’t die from the virus, it can leave long-lasting impacts. One such example is the loss of taste and smell, which can dramatically alter a person’s life. A study conducted by Harvard Medical School found that while the chances of losing taste and smell permanently are slim, it is possible. You want to be able to taste that vodka soda, right?

In a few months, some students will likely travel across the country for spring break. I am almost certain people will bring COVID-19 back from their destinations, which could cause an outbreak. Occurrences like this are why we are so far from “getting back to normal,” and it makes my blood boil. Just because the virus hasn’t affected your life directly doesn’t mean that you should risk killing other people or their family members.

The line outside of bars on campus is just one consequence of young people feeling like they are invincible against COVID-19. I am not going to pretend like it’s easy to stay home when all throughout high school we were told that college was going to be the best years of our lives. As someone who just turned 21, I wish I could spend a Friday or Saturday evening at a bar having drinks with my friends. But it just isn’t worth it right now. Too many people are dying, and while people are starting to get the vaccine, it is not enough to warrant going out.