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Surge in COVID Cases: This Is Why Students Think Its Happening

Students in Masks | Photo by Soham Parikh | The Wright State Guardian

Wright State University (WSU) students attribute several factors to the surge of coronavirus cases across Ohio, including the winter weather, small gatherings and resistance to mask-wearing.  

Pretending that the pandemic is over  

Geography major Kenna Thomas attributes the rise in cases due to many Ohioans getting tired that the pandemic has continued to persist. 

“People are getting bored,” said Thomas. “Many are just making excuses that it’s over.” 

Thomas works in Yellow Springs, where mask-wearing is mandatory downtown. 

“I’ve had to work throughout this pandemic in a tourist town, so I see a bunch of people who don’t wear their masks outside,” said Thomas. “It’s just really frustrating, especially with how many people I have to remind or ask to wear masks.” 

Seasonal contributions 

Computer science student Joseph Sodergren believes that Ohio and the country may be taking the wrong approach in combating the coronavirus. 

“I think one reason for this could be because the entire self-quarantining and masks thing is the entirely wrong idea,” said Sodergren. “Now, winter will cause cases to surge because cold temperatures cause the body to still have to do a little more work than it normally has to do to achieve homeostasis, so winter makes things difficult.” 

Psychology major Alexander Mikel agrees that cold temperatures bring in more cases. 

“I think it’s one of those things that’ll just happen with a pandemic, to have these waves,” said Mikel. “It was told to us that there would be a second wave around winter, especially with the flu and cold season coming in, and I think there’s just a certain political climate in Ohio being a more red state where people don’t follow the mask mandates.”   

According to Mikel, these factors laid the foundation for another surge. 

Small gatherings 

Nursing major Luke Kleinfelder agreed that cold weather, public indifference to the coronavirus and a lack of mask-wearing have contributed to the increase in cases, along with small gatherings. 

“I feel like most of the time where you see outbreaks is no masks and being close together,” said Kleinfelder. “I actually heard something on the news that people will get tested on Thursday and wait for their results on Saturday and then once they get it back, they’ll go and meet with people and then they’ll party, but there’s that two days in between where you don’t know who you’ve interacted with. I think that them just not thinking that they could have caught it in those two days and not wearing masks definitely contributes, but I think most of the time, at least for me, I’m seeing the two together, of not wearing masks and a lot of gatherings.” 

Mikel agreed that these gatherings would affect the increase in cases. 

“I think in minor ways, just with a pandemic, any sort of gathering of people is going to have that risk of spreading the virus. But I think, more than that, until we get a vaccine, there’s going to be a natural rise and fall in cases,” said Mikel. “People are staying indoors more, restaurants are not as able to have outdoor seating because it’s cold, so I think that probably has to do with it.” 

The Ohio curfew 

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine enacted a curfew on Nov. 17 that took effect two days later and will last for three weeks. During this curfew, Ohioans would be required to remain in their homes from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. the following day unless they needed to be out for work, food or other special circumstances.  

Kleinfelder, due to his personal experiences, feels that the curfew may not affect many Ohioans in their day-to-day lives. 

“When I heard about it, I didn’t feel like it affected that many people,” said Kleinfelder. “I myself am not really out past 10 p.m. anyway, and so I think it will cut down a little bit on the nightlife but I don’t know how big of an impact it will really have.” 

Mikel believes that the curfew is a practical idea, though it could backfire. 

“I think it’s a good idea in practice, but I’d have to see how it is enforced because people can just always go out anyways,” said Mikel. “If it’s said that you can get out to get food, then it’s hardly much of a curfew, at least in my opinion.” 

Mikel and Thomas do not believe that the curfew will be effective in stopping the spread of the coronavirus, and Sodergren does not think that it will have any effect. 

“I think the biggest effects we’ll see from Gov. DeWine’s orders are people being really mad at him,” said Sodergren. 

As of Nov. 30, the state of Ohio has not gone into a second lockdown. 

Maxwell Patton

Wright Life Reporter