Catching Up with COVID-19

An overview on a deadly disease, its spread through the Brentwood community, and what we will remember.

Julia Spadaro

Brentwood is the hardest hit community in Suffolk County.

Coronavirus has drastically changed the lives of many and will continue to affect the way the world runs. The virus is suspected to have started in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, entering the United States in 2020, a year that held high expectations for many.

What We Know: 

 COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that has symptoms including fevers, coughing, and difficulty breathing, similar to that of influenza. Older adults and people with pre-existing conditions are at a higher risk of being infected and having a severe case. The incubation period, or the time between contraction and symptoms, is 14 days. Many people are being quarantined for 14 days after suspected exposure to the virus.  

By mid-March, all states in the United States had a least one case, causing many states to go into lock down, close businesses and schools, and place stay-home orders and guidelines on their residents. Brentwood had the highest number of cases in Suffolk Countyreaching 4,258 cases in late May, according to Newsday, and in the United States alone over 90 thousand people have died from COVID-19.  

School Closings 

Brentwood High School had what many wouldn’t have expected to be its last day of in-person schooling on March 12At first, this was expected to be a day for sanitizing the buildings, but school building closures were extended, two weeks at a time, until May 1, when Governor Cuomo announced that New York schools would not re-open for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. 

Fearful Reactions 

People began hoarding toilet paper in March, although it was extremely irrational. However, this made it difficult for many to find toilet paper on days that they conducted their shopping. Many elderly people feared going to the supermarket and going out in general, because they are the most at-risk population.  

Safety Guidelines 

Social distancing guidelines have been put in place in order to attempt to “flatten the curve,” a common phrase being used during this time to describe the act of reducing the rate of infection through caution and isolation. Some of these guidelines include being six feet apart from others, wearing masks and face covering in public, and not gathering in groups larger than ten.  

Businesses 

Restaurants are currently only allowed to offer take-out orders and businesses that are deemed unessential are being completely closed, including retail, movie theaters, and many other leisure activities. Hair and nail salons are also closed causing many people to either grow out their hair or try at home dying, cutting, and styling. With more businesses closed, the intent is that more people stay home.  

Creative Solutions 

Everyone is urging people to stay home in order to lower the limit of people coming in contact with the disease. However, those who feel the need to go out are coming up with creative ways to remain six feet apart. Many people are meeting in parking lots and parking with their trunks facing one another and sitting in the back of their cars in order to keep their distance. Although this has become a hard time for those with birthdays, many families have organized birthday car parades, in which family and friends drive by your house honking and with signs to wave hello and wish you a happy birthday. Other alternatives included Zoom calls and Face Time to celebrate birthdays, graduations, and other events.  

Employment Statuses 

Times like these are unprecedented and have become very difficult for those who have lost their job or have become ill. According to Forbes, the current unemployment rate for NY State is 4.5%, however this rate is at 14.7% for the entire United States, the worst since the Great Depression.  

Remote Working & Learning 

Additionally, many people are now adapting to working remotely from home, causing us to question whether this will become the new norm. The Coronavirus cancelled all major sporting events and all professional sports seasons in general. All major gatherings have been cancelled making this a hard time for students. With the stress of now having to adapt to online learning, many students have had to deal with the cancellation of prom, graduation, spring sport seasons, academic award nights, induction ceremonies, standardized tests such as the SAT, and other events that were very important to them and their futures.  

What We Will Remember 

When I asked peers about what they wanted to remember about this time in their life and many chose to look at some of the positives, such as how united many people became during this pandemic. People began donating to hospitals and fundraisers aimed at helping those who have been affected by the virus as well as supporting the front line doctors and nurses and first responders and essential workers. These make up an important group of people who gained respect and admiration for working during such difficult timesMany peers noted how much they value their family during times like these, and hope that others continue to realize the importance of the bond between relatives. Other ways people are making the best out of this is picking up new hobbies, working out, focusing on themselves, cleaning up, and much more.  

The Coronavirus outbreak will become an important part of history that we have lived through. The entire newspaper staff sends their regards to everyone during this pandemic.