By: Maggie Phillips & Jenna Thomas
While the Halloween season may have ended, the horrors of 2020 have not gone with it. Throughout the past few weeks, the United States has reported more positive COVID-19 cases than ever before, with a peak of over 85,000 new cases on Oct. 23.
On Oct. 29, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced 3,590 new positive cases in only a 24-hour window. Before mid-October, the state of Ohio had not even broken 2,000 new daily cases, let alone over 3,000 just a few weeks later.
Ohioans living in rural counties who were largely unaffected by coronavirus spread are now living in some of the highest exposure regions in the state. In a recent press conference, DeWine announced that 38 counties are at a level 3 public health emergency. With nearly 75% of Ohioans living in a “red” county, he made a plea to his constituents in an effort to get the public to take the virus more seriously.
He stated, “For my fellow Ohioans who felt that, until now, this virus really didn’t impact their life, did not impact their family…the message to them today is: it is now serious and it is time for all of us to come together.”
While positive cases have skyrocketed in rural counties, a high risk of exposure still remains in the more populated counties. Despite precautions, Cuyahoga county is quickly approaching a level 4 public emergency, with Franklin and Hamilton counties close behind.
The city of Cleveland encouraged residents to not participate in trick-or-treating this year as a result of the pandemic. However, many still took part in larger gatherings to celebrate the holiday, which could cause further disease spread. As the temperature drops, gathering outside is becoming more difficult. The start of college football has also ushered in a wave of indoor gatherings, another indicator that positive cases could continue to rise in the coming weeks.
The New York Times created a tool to view how college campuses are faring through the new spike in cases. Ohio schools currently rank third in the nation for COVID-19 cases, with 10,855 cases across 56 schools. So far, Cleveland State University has avoided major outbreaks and has seen case numbers significantly lower than other schools of comparable sizes. CSU currently only has six COVID-positive students or employees, all of which are isolating off-campus. Bowling Green State University has 20 active cases and Miami University has 102. This can likely be attributed to higher numbers of off-campus and commuter students.
Although Cleveland State students have been doing well to curb the spread of the pandemic on campus, the community around us is not un-impacted. As the holiday and flu seasons approach, students need to be cautious. It might be tempting to attend local football watch parties and large family gatherings after months of good habits and social distancing, but now more than ever, everyone must do their part to stop the public health crisis.