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Kansans need to continue to stay home

Coronavirus (COVID-19) was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11. Following the declaration, countries around the world began creating their own laws and orders regarding the virus. The list of U.S. states issuing “stay at home orders” is continuing to grow and more than 30 states have implemented such measures affecting millions of Americans. 

 In Kansas, a State of Disaster Emergency was declared on March 12, and the next day President Trump declared COVID-19 a pandemic of “sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant an emergency declaration for all states, tribes, territories and the District of Columbia” pursuant to Section 50 1 (b) of the Robert T. Safford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. 

On March 28, Kansas Governor Laura Kelley issued an executive state-wide stay at home order, effective until April 19. In order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the “stay home” order directs citizens to remain in their homes except to conduct essential activities. Included in these activities are going to get food, household necessities, medical care, or engaging in outdoor activity. While outside the house, citizens should continue to abide by the 10-person limitation on gatherings and maintain a distance of six feet from one another.  

In some countries such as Belgium, if someone goes out for a non-essential activity, they can be fined. This is not the case in the U.S. or for the stay at home order in Kansas. 

“You can leave your house,” Governor Kelly said in a statement regarding the order. “You can still go outside. You are not under house arrest.” 

However, just because we are still allowed to go out does not mean we should go out just as often. 

The Human mobility company Unicast uses anonymous data from cellphones to determine the average distance people are traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the average distance they traveled prior to the outbreak.  

According to this data, Kansas earned a D ranking. The United States as a whole garnered a C ranking. 

Americans, and especially Kansans must be better at adjusting their lives to help flatten the curve.  

Many may be annoyed by the order putting a hold on their work as well as social life.  

There have been “corona who?” posts that circulate showing individuals not abiding by social distancing advisements or the stay at home order.  

People who continue to socialize and live their life as normal with a disregard for stay at home orders and social distancing practices are not only selfish but potentially dangerous. 

 Last week, the CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield estimated that 25% of people with the coronavirus may be asymptomatic, meaning even though they are infected they show no symptoms of the virus. Most recently, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci estimated that 25% to 50% of cases may be asymptomatic. 

 If individuals ignore protocol about how to act during the pandemic, they could be inadvertently contaminating others. 

Yes, staying at home can be boring, but measures put out by local and federal governments are in the best interest of everyone.  

Although Kansas has not done well mobility wise compared to other states, there has been improvement. 

Google’s community mobility report with the use of anonymized mobile phone data tracks how visits and the length of stay at different places have changed since the widespread introduction of physical distancing guidelines and lockdowns, compared to each country’s average during a five-week period in January and February. 

According to the community report for Kansas, in most areas, mobility trends have gone down. Parks and recreation are down 36%, grocery and pharmacy visits are down 14%, workplaces are down 30% and transit stations are down 20%. However, there has been a large 72% percent increase in parks and a lower 9% increase in residential areas. 

This is likely attributed to those who are going to parks or walking in their neighborhoods for exercise. 

Kansas is doing better, and we must continue to limit our outings to only essential trips. The more people abide by the order and other rules for behavior, the more will be done to flatten the curve. Hopefully, this will aid in things going back to normal, so we can all return to business as usual. Stay home now so we can all go out later. 

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