The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

California’s response to COVID-19 is extreme, but crucial to save lives

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

Responding quickly to the coronavirus pandemic has helped save numerous lives, and it’s important that we maintain precautions to continue to flatten the curve. 

Although I initially thought California’s response to the coronavirus was a bit extreme, I now see that it was the right choice for the state’s leadership to respond as quickly as possible. 

In the days when City College first moved to online instruction, many students, including myself, felt the pressure to decide where to shelter in place for the unforeseen months. 

I was living with six other guys at the time in a not altogether sanitary apartment, sharing bottles of alcohol and never taking the time to clean up our messes. Being able to maintain social distance wasn’t an option. 

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My entire living situation seemed like a recipe for disaster if COVID-19 came to town.

So like many students in my situation, I chose to go home to the Bay Area to shelter with my family, despite the area being a coronavirus hotspot at the time. 

On March 16 Marin county, where my family lives, became one of seven Bay Area counties to order a shelter in place. This was the first instance of a measure this extreme in the United States, and it was implemented just days before I was scheduled to arrive.

As it turns out, the order was not a reason to be afraid but a reason to be relieved.

From what I’ve observed in my limited time outside, people in the area of Marin where I live are taking the safety of themselves and others seriously. When I go to the store people wear masks and stay away from each other, and when I walk my dog the streets are empty and people on the trails keep their distance.

When I see videos of people I know on social media drinking on the beach in groups and having parties packed with people, I feel confident that I made the right choice to go home.

The order has been hard for a lot of people for a lot of reasons, from boredom to financial hardships and beyond, but we are seeing a real impact from the quick actions that leaders at the county and state level have taken.

By having the courage to take the risk of being the first to shut down, leaders in the Bay Area saved many lives. The trend they set, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom extending the measures to the rest of California, saved many more.

While there are signs of progress being made, especially in California, it is important that we don’t let up. 

If people continue to take precautions to keep themselves and others safe as the world is slowly reopened, less people’s lives will be put at risk.

In the words of Darrin Peppard, Superintendent of West Grand Schools in Colorado, “In the end, it will be impossible to know if we overreacted or did too much, but it will be quite apparent if we under reacted or did too little.”

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