Do we forget about COVID-19 when we go outside?


Ingrid Reginato

Students reach for t-shirts being passed out at the Pep Rally.

Mahika Gupta

Many of us are very cautious about masks, how we wear them and where we wear them. But when we go outside, is it possible that we forget that COVID-19 exists altogether? I believe the answer is yes.

While it is true that being in a crowd out in the open is better than being in a crowd inside, being outdoors does not eliminate the factor of the virus. Large gatherings are being held more and more often, finding the outdoors a promise of safety in order to allow people to take their masks off, and ultimately remove the idea that there is a virus going around when it is still a life-threatening issue. 

Despite the fact that being outside may be effective in reducing the risks of catching the virus to close to nothing in terms of direct transmission, we let down our guard far too much to keep anyone safe. For example, NVHS recently had a pep rally right before the 2021 homecoming dance, along with the dance itself—both being outside—and the majority of the students had their masks off and were in close proximity to each other throughout the rally and the entire night during the dance, which put them at an extremely high risk of catching the virus. Furthermore, there was not an option presented to students or staff to not attend the pep rally- it was mandatory. It was crowded and uncomfortable enough, especially at the dance, for me, and I’m sure many others, to need to step away or go to the very outside of the crowd. Less than ten percent of COVID transmissions happen outside, but that ten percent is still a chance of somebody catching it and spreading it to other people. 

“There’s been no at school spread, which is great, and we attribute that to the masks and the three-foot distance as much as possible,” Jennifer Kolb, a school nurse at the main building, says. 

It is, of course, a struggle for many people including myself to understand that it is nearly impossible to precisely predict the transmission of COVID-19 while it is happening due to the fact that it is not something that can be seen until the symptoms start showing up and take this as a reason to take precautions, even outside. Some people could also be asymptomatic and end up spreading it to other people unknowingly, so it is important to take the necessary precautions to keep people safe and to attempt to decrease the spread of the virus. 

It is understandable that people forget that COVID-19 exists, especially outside, since it is much less likely to spread than in an unenclosed space and cases have decreased significantly due to the precautions being taken, the vaccine, and citizen cooperation, but it is important to keep in mind that COVID-19 is still a very large issue in the world and requires that everyone uses care and caution when around other people.