• Ken Baeza

The Importance of Staying Home

May is almost over, and we have been in lockdown/quarantine for more than two months. The economy of almost all countries is being heavily affected, with global shares seeing huge falls, more than 36 million people having lost their jobs in the US, the oil prices going even lower than in the early 2000s, and the GDP of countries like Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US expected to decrease by more than 5%. 

Now, governments are taking action to avoid a complete catastrophe: Donald Trump announced Operation Warp speed to have a vaccine at the end of this year, however, he made it clear that “vaccine or no vaccine, we are back”; Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte announced Italy will reopen for tourism on June 3rd; in Japan and China, many schools have reopened, and domestic flights have resumed; and businesses all over Europe are opening again.

While this might lead us to think that the situation is improving, and that we will soon be back to normal, we can’t forget about the numbers:

  1. Almost 6 million cases have been reported since the outbreak

  2. Around 90,000 people are getting infected every single day

  3. In the last weeks, almost 5 thousand people have been dying every day due to the virus 

Now, I’m not trying to say that people shouldn’t go back to their jobs, and should lose their jobs staying home. I’m not saying that the world should continue being in quarantine forever. What I’m trying to say is, just because countries and businesses are reopening, it doesn’t mean that the virus is gone. Keep in mind that these actions are being taken to save the economy. 

While parents who have to go to work to provide for their families should definitely go to their jobs, this doesn’t mean that everyone should go back to their normal lives. The virus is still out there, COVID cases are significantly increasing every day. 

While young people might think that they are safe, and it will just be a cold, they can’t forget that the symptoms are way worse than “just a cold.” There are healthy students within the UWC community who have become infected with the virus, and let me read some of the things they have told me:

  1. “I feel like my head is going to explode”

  2. “I feel tired all day, all I can do is sleep, and when I wake up, I just want to go back to bed”

  3. “I’m not able to keep my eyes open”

  4. “My temperature has been around 40 degrees for more than two weeks, I could barely sleep”

But the most interesting comment I’ve heard is the following:

“Many would think that the most challenging part of the virus is the amount of energy that it takes away but in reality for me the worst part is how mentally tiring it is. Being completely incapable of doing things on your own because you don't find the strength inside you is simply depressing and makes you feel like giving up.”

So, what I’m trying to say here is: stay home. Stay home unless you really need to go out. Stay home unless you have to go to work. Otherwise, you will expose yourself to the virus, and while chances are that you will survive; believe me, it’s not going to be pleasant.

You can watch the video version of this post with the collaboration of 25+ students from different UWCs here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKJ8vscFM_4