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Quarantine isn't a joke, and people need to take it seriously if the number of deaths is to be minimized. 

Many might remember that right before the outbreak surged, hundreds of tourists partied on the beaches during spring break, not taking social distancing advice from professionals. Yet today, with nearly one million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. according to the CDC, it should especially seem like common sense to take appropriate precautions to stay safe.

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted in early April, 92% of American respondents claimed to be taking appropriate social distancing measures. This percentage assumes that 8% of Americans, over 26 million Americans, aren’t taking necessary precautions to combat the virus. With the U.S. having surpassed every other country with the number of cases, according to the CDC, it seems unbelievable that this many people are still reluctant to take appropriate measures.

Perhaps there’s an umbrella term for the reason that so many are looking past the dangers of coronavirus — denial.

Whether it be out of fear or anger, many Americans are finding various ways to deny the severity of the situation. For example, according to Vanity Fair, some are questioning the data of the CDC by claiming cases and deaths are being purposefully over- reported, like on Tucker Carlson’s talk-show. In fact, the CDC has said that numbers are much more likely to be under-reported, implying that some are likely dying without knowing their positive status. 

Another myth is that the virus gives a pass to younger and healthier people. As with most infectious diseases, younger and healthier people are less likely to become sick, but they certainly aren’t immune. According to the Washington Post, hundreds of young and healthy Americans have died from the virus, and perhaps one reason these numbers are higher than expected is that some people in this demographic believe the myth of invincibility. Some health professionals have taken to apps like TikTok to cope with the reality of the situation. One nurse posted a video with the caption, “When you hear there are anti-lockdown protests taking place…but you put an otherwise healthy 40yo in a body bag last week.”

Perhaps most infuriating of all is the protestors who’ve marched against social distancing. According to Vox, in mid-April across multiple states, protestors stormed the streets armed with weapons to protest safety orders enacted due to coronavirus. Some sported signs that read “Live free or die” and “Give me liberty, or give me death.” 

To quote the Pussycat Dolls, “Be careful what you wish for, or you just might get it,” because blatantly said, not complying with social distancing orders will lead to increased death rates. These protestors have missed the point — disobeying safety orders will only make more people sick and will only make the lockdown last longer, which is clearly not what they want.

To many, it might seem obvious to say that the coronavirus is serious. Yet surprisingly, a subset of the population simply doesn’t see it that way. Articles from Huffpost and Business Insider explain how to confront someone who doesn’t see coronavirus’s dangers. More Americans need to understand that the only way this ends sooner is if we take it seriously now.

Josie Haneklau is a sophomore political science and psychology major. Contact Josie at hanekljr@dukes.jmu.edu.