By Carly Herbert | News Editor
COVID hot spots across the United States as of Nov. 22, 2020. Graphic from The New York Times.
As the cold weather begins to set in across the country, cases of COVID-19 have begun to reach staggering numbers, surpassing records set by the first wave of cases in the late Spring. On Nov. 14, COVID cases consistently rose across the country, charting over 150,000 cases nationwide. The United States currently has the highest number of Coronavirus cases worldwide, raising the question of whether or not the country will go back into another country-wide lockdown.
It’s no secret that the American people are tired of being told to stay inside, wear their masks, and socially distance, and because of this schools, businesses, and workplaces have all gone through the process to reopen with varying levels of restrictions. All eyes have turned to President-Elect, Joe Biden, to see what his plans are for pulling the country out of this COVID crisis.
While Biden’s campaign stressed the importance of getting this pandemic under control in the U.S., his administration is currently trying to avoid a complete shutdown similar to the one that took place in the Spring, but time is ticking and no new solutions have been thrown out.
Julio Rosario, an IT specialist at ODU who previously worked in the medical field, shared his ideas on how to slow the spread of the virus.
“I think just people have to just obey the mandates and, you know, it's gonna take everybody's effort, just to maintain this is not one person or just a region,” said Rosario.
As far as local restrictions go, on Nov. 13, VA Governor Ralph Northam announced new statewide measures that went into effect Nov. 15 at midnight. These guidelines included dropping the number of people allowed at all public and private gatherings from 250 back to 25. Additionally, masks are required for all people aged five years and older, down from the previous leniencies that only mandated those ten years and older to wear face coverings.
Virginia is also going back to prohibiting the sale of alcohol after 10:00 P.M. in places such as restaurants, bars, wineries, and other establishments. These businesses are also under a midnight curfew.
Old Dominion University prepared to see this uptick in the case of numbers when the COVID-19 Blueprint was put out at the beginning of the semester. In order to slow the spread of cases on campus, on-campus residence halls will close after Thanksgiving break and those living in these halls will complete the remainder of the semester online, from home. This is due to concerns of students traveling home to spend time with their family’s for the holidays and then bringing the virus back to campus.
However, the holiday season has been under major scrutiny. Many feel that now more than ever is an important time to be surrounded by friends and family, especially after the way 2020 has gone. But there are ways to make sure that you are celebrating safely, even if that does include a Thanksgiving dinner Zoom party with your closest friends and family. The CDC has provided a whole checklist of how to safely celebrate the holiday season but advises that the best way to ensure that your loved ones don’t become ill is to continue social distancing, wearing a mask, and avoiding congregating in small, indoor areas.