Our view: As Wynne said: Time to get real

Herald pull quote, 3/25/2020

Two startling quotes from college students who chose to hit the beaches for spring break earlier this month:

“This virus ain’t that serious. There’s more serious things out there like hunger and poverty, and we need to address that.”

And: “If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying.”

Those comments were reported by CBS News, which highlighted the laissez-faire attitude among some young adults amid the growing coronavirus pandemic. It’s obvious they simply do not grasp the depth of the pandemic, nor do they understand what they could be doing to their families, friends and neighbors back home.

It’s not limited to the young. There are still people who shrug at the pandemic and assume it’s all some sort of overreaction.


Monday, 140 people died in the U.S. due to coronavirus complications, bringing the total to 590. All told, there have been 46,000 cases of coronavirus nationwide.

Eventually, some know-it-all will say 590 deaths aren’t that many, compared to other illnesses like influenza or cancer. The trouble with that argument is this: As the number of cases grows, it could overwhelm the ability of the nation’s health care industry to adequately react.

The bulk of coronavirus cases so far have been on the coasts. Spring-breakers from those places potentially bring the virus with them, spreading it to the students from the Midwest. They, in turn, bring it here. And the pandemic grows.

So, arrogant spring-breakers, it’s not just about “if I get corona, I get corona.” It’s about the attitude that a party is more important than a family member’s life. What are you thinking?

In the Midwest, there is still hope we can hold out against the pandemic’s rapid spread. North Dakota, for instance, has 33 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Monday afternoon, far fewer than the 20,000 in New York.

We have heard too many people complain that it’s all an overreaction. We have heard numerous complaints that the media is overplaying the virus.

For instance, the same day President Donald Trump declared a national emergency and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum made the same declaration for the state, a caller complained that the Herald failed to recognize National K-9 Day. She urged us to not play into the hype and overreaction of the pandemic, then hung up as we tried to explain the news value of these historic declarations.

Interim UND President Joshua Wynne, in an interview with the Herald last week, expressed frustration that people aren’t adequately reacting to the coronavirus pandemic.


Wynne is not just the interim president – he also heads the university’s medical school. And, he’s a physician. We very much value his medical opinion.

“The people that haven’t gotten real need to get real right now,” he told the Herald. “Not tomorrow, not in a week. Now.”

People of all ages, for God’s sake, we urge you to begin practicing social distancing. Take this seriously, so we can slow the pandemic and, someday, return to relative normalcy.

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