To party or to self-quarantine?
Last year, it was the super party law, Ordinance 19-05, that ruined St. Patrick’s Day for the university, shutting down backyard dages and nighttime frat basement parties. Many who were 21-or-over were then still able to enjoy a weekend out at the bars, but this year, coronavirus ruined the fun for most. Others however, despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and recommendations from the university to stay home, went out fearless.
Is fearless the word to use though? Spring breakers all over the country are ignoring the national emergency to get drunk.
Dine-in services at all Delaware bars and restaurants were ordered to a halt on Monday. Additionally, self-quarantine was recommended to college students throughout the country over the weekend.
“All members of the UD community are asked to practice good personal hygiene, maintain a healthy social distance from others and seek medical care if they feel ill,” University President Dennis Assanis wrote in an email to students on March 12.
Students aged 20 to 29, the age range of most of the campus population, are less likely to contract the virus as opposed to those who are immunocompromised like older adults (65+) and people with asthma. But even if no symptoms appear, those who appear healthy may be carriers of the virus and can pass it along to someone else.
Kylie Thomas, a junior health behavior science major, chose not to hit the bars this weekend, but did spend time with friends at a few house parties.
“My friends had two small parties,” Thomas says. “One was just one of my coworkers, her roommates and like probably 20 other people there, and then my friends had a party and it was just like all of our friends that we normally hang out with so it was maybe another 20 people.”
Thomas and her friends didn’t go out to any parties because “no one was having anything,” but said she wouldn’t have gone regardless.
“I’ve been getting a little bit antsy over everything,” Thomas said. “I would go for probably a little bit but I wouldn’t want to stay there for a very long time.”
The recommendations laid out by the CDC in regards to mass gatherings have only gotten stricter over the last week. As of Monday, events with 10 or more people should be canceled or held virtually in order to ‘flatten the curve.’
Even I couldn’t take all the warnings seriously at first. A friend of mine came to visit from Washington D.C. and all I was thinking about was going out and having fun with him and all of our friends. It certainly wasn’t as packed as usual, but as the hours ticked by, more and more drunk girls with cheap, green dollar store beads and boys with Eagles jerseys trickled into Arena’s and other bars on Main Street.
Elliot Mauro, a junior communication major, also went out over the weekend with some friends to the movies.
“Another friend was texting me updates from the government briefing that was going on,” Mauro says. “The projected numbers for the pandemic astounded me, and I actually chose to leave the movie early because I realized that definitely wasn’t a good place to be.”
When Mauro returned home, he did some more research. After reading the news and the guidelines from the CDC, he decided to begin self-quarantine that night.
“Most college-age kids aren’t really threatened by coronavirus because our demographic largely has strong immune systems, but it’s not about us,” Mauro says. “It’s about the immunocompromised, the elderly, people who are severely at risk.”