For the first time since November, active COVID-19 cases in Tompkins County have fallen below 100. Though it is not quite time to celebrate, it is a feat to acknowledge.
However, now is not the time to get comfortable. Just over the past week, there has been an increase of cases. On March 3, there were 81 active cases, and on March 10, there were 98 cases. While the community has had success in keeping those numbers low, there is still work to be done.
As a campus community, we must take more action to stop the spread of the virus. Large gatherings and house parties are a threat to our campus safety. The onus falls on us to take accountability and stop hosting superspreader functions, especially as the weather improves. Just because it is nice outside does not mean we can let our guard down.
It has been a year since we were sent home last March. What was supposed to be an extended spring break resulted in the college shifting entirely online. Although the college is currently at low risk, we must remain extra cautious in order to avoid a similar fate.
Hosting large gatherings or traveling out of Tompkins County is irresponsible. We must continue to take preventative measures, including mask wearing and social distancing — especially while on campus — to keep the number of cases low. It is not fair to the broader Ithaca community for college students to take risks that will be passed to community members.
Even as vaccines are distributed and more members of the campus community become eligible, we must stay cautious to prevent the rise of cases again. It is critical to remember that you are still susceptible to catching the virus after your dose of the vaccine.
Completely ignoring safety measures and restrictions to carry on with a pre-pandemic mindset is ignorant at best and immoral at worst. It is not worth risking your life or anyone else’s. We are suffering through a pandemic together. It is important we make it out together, too.