The developing story of the COVID-19 pandemic has college students and many others worried state-wide as schools and public places begin shutting down.
Various grocery and home goods stores are experiencing a rush of customers clearing the shelves of disinfectant supplies and foods, and the governor of Wash. has announced stricter rules on public gatherings and restaurants or store operations.
“When you hear the name Coronavirus, it’s just panic-people are panicking,” said Jag Singh.
As of March 15, 2020 there are 42 reported CoronaVirus deaths in Wash. state, and 39 positive cases in Pierce County. There are currently 769 reported cases of COVID-19 according to the Washington State Department of Health, all most likely spread by community transmission.
Singh, of Pierce College Puyallup, is among many of the college students affected by school closures across Wash. To his demise, Pierce College has announced a switch to online practices, which is expected to last until April 24.
He mentioned that it would be hard on people like him to go online with hands-on, technical classes because some things require person-to-person interactions.
The University of Washington was one of the first few colleges to announce an online switch on March 6, 2020. The following Monday, classes and finals would no longer be held in-person, though the campus remains open for student and public services.
“It’s here, and we are one of the hotspots which is awful,” said Ava Garsee, another student from Pierce College.
Gov. Inslee issued a state of emergency on Feb. 29, which directs state departments and agencies to do everything they can to help affected communities. On March 13, he declared that all public schools in each Wash. county must shut down in-person classes.
Due to the growing pandemic, Gov. Inslee announced on March 15 that he will sign an emergency proclamation to temporarily shut down recreational facilities, restaurants and bars the following day. These rules would ban dining in, leaving take-out orders as the only option.
National corporations such as Starbucks have already announced a nationwide switch to drive-through only operations.
Public gatherings over 50 people will be prohibited, and all gatherings under 50 are also prohibited unless social distancing and additional public health criteria are met. The original announcement of prohibition on gatherings had a number of 250 participants maximum, just two days earlier.
“The media is just showing what’s happening in the world–in this situation, the Coronavirus is the most important topic,” said Singh.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the virus is likely spread from person-to-person respiratory interaction, and that the best way to avoid getting sick is to avoid exposure altogether by using self quarantine methods. Other ways to prevent the virus are disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and washing your hands often.
The U.S. Department of State has issued a level three travel advisory for rethinking global travel, which has also impacted Pierce College’s study abroad trips. Among these trips, many other public events across the state have been cancelled or postponed.
The Ivy baseball League has cancelled its tournament altogether as the nationwide spread of the CoronaVirus status becomes worse, though casinos on Native American reservations do not have to comply with state regulations.
Due to the unprecedented circumstances of such a pandemic, COVID-19 does not currently have a vaccine or cure. Research and testing is happening at various universities and science labs across the country as the outbreak spreads.
“There’s a lot out there, and that’s why you have to keep a keen eye about what’s over the top and what is actually factual,” said Garsee.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost