How are Idahoans Handling COVID-19?


Police stand outside where the Central District Health meeting was taking place due to protesters. (photo credit: KBOI TV, CBS news)

Moesha Aplicano-Burnham, Managing Editor

Idaho’s COVID-19 cases have skyrocketed. With 125,452 total cases, including 1,433 new confirmed cases on November 16th, Idaho is not known for having low cases, in fact we’re on the higher side for the states. But why are Idaho’s cases so high? Because less people are social distancing and wearing masks. 

While a lot of people are following the safety guidelines, many are not. Since masks are such a politically controversial topic, although public health should not be controversial, there has been a ton of backlash to the mask mandate and city shutdowns. While Boise officials met to discuss potential new rules regarding social distancing and the pandemic in general, protesters showed up, even going as far as showing up to the houses of those involved in the meeting. People are upset about the restrictions to their everyday life. 

After taking a poll of Boise High School students and their thoughts on masks and how they felt about being required to wear them, it was clear that many people have very strong feelings towards this issue. One Boise High student who will remain anonymous commented “it’s stupid, (the masks) don’t work. If you breathe on a cold day you can still see your breath everywhere.” Another claiming, “I should have the freedom to decide whether I want to or not. There’s a 99% survival rate, I don’t want to lose my teenage years by living in fear.” Along with others simply saying that they shouldn’t be required to wear masks. Others expressed frustration and urgency in what they said. Those in support of masks had varying reasons as to why it’s important. One Boise high school student said, “It should be mandatory. There’s no excuse for putting someone’s life at risk.” Others even say that it should be required even after the pandemic, during the yearly flu season. Others admit that masks are uncomfortable. One Boise sophomore, Shiva Rajbhandari expands on this, “I hate masks, they make it so I can’t think at all, but I still wear them everywhere because I care about my neighbors and friends.” 

The pandemic can be a source of anxiety and stress for many, whether in support of masks or not. Some fearing being forced to change how they live their life, and others fearing a spike in cases and potentially losing a loved one. With such an intense divide between those wearing masks and those who don’t, it seems as though no progress has been made in regard to lowering cases. It is essential to come together and put public health as a priority. Most people are exhausted and frustrated having to live life in fear of the virus, not being able to socialize with family and friends, along with students being frustrated and stressed from doing school online. In order to progress and return to these things, it is essential to social distance and wear a mask.