Photo: Getty Images

Nathan Kim

Since the beginning of the pandemic, gatherings have halted the progress on COVID-19 throughout the world, as people gather in high amounts with little to no safety. One problem that many people disregard in these tough times is the amount of people meeting up and threatening the safety of everyone around them. From full blown parties to backyard meet-ups, why and how do gatherings affect the COVID-19 virus?

But before we get into gatherings, what is COVID-19 and how does it spread? COVID-19, or more commonly known as the Coronavirus, is a type of coronavirus that attacks the respiratory system and can spread like wildfire. Originating in Wuhan, China, this Coronavirus has reached all over the world and has shut down many countries. But how do you know if someone even has the virus? Well, a few common symptoms are:

Shortness of breath
Sore throat
And many more

Everyone experiences different symptoms which is why you must always be careful.
The virus spreads through contact, mainly from respiratory actions like coughing, talking, and sneezing. Wearing a mask or face covering is one of the main defenses against the spread. CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield recently stated that, “We have clear scientific evidence they work, and they are our best defense,” he also states that,“I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.”

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield speaks at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on a “Review of Coronavirus Response Efforts” on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020, in Washington( Photo: Andrew Harnik) (AP)

But even with all these warnings and precautions emplaced, the Coronavirus still finds a way to spread. One of the main reasons being that people refuse to wear masks, and another being that people keep gathering up. With the United States having the most cases and most deaths, we cannot be partaking in such reckless endeavors. While many people limit themselves to just small meetings with friends, many college students, and influencers tend to get involved in big parties. The mindset for many young adults is also very straightforward; Brady Sluder, a college student from a viral video produced by CBS, said, “If I get corona, I get corona.” Not only is this statement not addressing the full story, but the level of nonchalance is also very surprising. In fact, if you get the Coronavirus and don’t know you have it, you could spread it with every person you come into contact with. With roughly only 67 percent of the people in the United States wearing masks, and with more than thirty plus people attending a party, the number of people contracting COVID-19 will only go up.

College student Bradey Sluder talks about partying while in the COVID-19 pandemic(Photo: Reuters)

Does this mean you can’t meet up with your friends? No, it just means that you have to always wear a mask and take the right precautions before you meet, such as staying at least six feet apart when you can. Don’t meet up with more than ten people at once and follow the rules that your state provides. The main reason that many people contract the disease is solely on the fact that they don’t wear masks and don’t take other precautions. Masks help against the spread because of how they keep anyone’s respiratory droplets from leaving the mask. Differentiating from popular belief, the protests did little to increase COVID cases as they were outside and many protesters wore masks. Those are both very good precautions to take when meeting others. In summary, always stay safe and be cautious, not only for you, but for everyone around you.