Caitie Ihrig

Wear a mask. Stay home. Only go out when necessary. Social distance. Don’t gather with people who are outside of your bubble.

I was on Facebook last week when I saw that someone I knew passed away from the coronavirus. He was a year older than me.

We were only acquaintances during college, but he had a great impact on my time photographing all of the games for Ithaca College Athletics.

He was a producer for a few of the sport shows that Ithaca College Television (ICTV) produces throughout the academic year.

Over time, a lot of the on-air reporters and videographers began to realize that I knew all of the good spots to be in the gym, on the football field and so on.

I would get to the basketball games significantly earlier than need-be so that my photo spot wouldn’t be taken. Well… the videographers started to get there even earlier so that they could beat me to that spot.

During games throughout each athletic season, they would also make direct eye-contact with me and then stand right in front of me.

After a while he caught on and would tell the videographers and on-air reporters to not take my spot or stand in-front of me.

He always made sure that both I and the ICTV workers could get our jobs done and be successful at the same time.

The day of his passing, my Facebook feed was filled with people posting stories of him and talking about the impact he had at Ithaca College and for the athletic teams.

The Ithaca College community lost a great person that day.

People are losing family members and friends. Almost everyone knows someone who has passed away from this virus.

In America, someone dies from the virus every 40 seconds.

This is bigger than not being able to travel or to concerts. This is people’s lives at risk who have family and friends.

Yes, it stinks to not be able to travel and see friends and family and do everything that we’ve taken for granted over the years.

Nate and I were planning a trip to Disney World for September but put a deadly virus in front of taking a vacation. We were also supposed to go to California last March.

Those trips can be taken another time. If we were to get infected and then spread that to others who then passed away from the virus, those are people who can never come back because two people wanted to go on vacation.

Since the pandemic began, I have flown home twice. One to say bye to my grandma and the second time for her funeral.

Because of this pandemic, I had to say bye to my grandma through a window.

Traveling right now is petrifying. Don’t do it. I had to take multiple planes to get home and each one was crowded. I was terrified that I was going to get COVID-19 and spread it to my family.

No one in the airports cared about social distancing. The Chicago O’Hare airport was the most crowded I’ve ever seen.

There will be more concerts to attend when the pandemic is over.

There will be more professional sporting events when this is over.

All of the luxuries America has gotten used to will still be there.

When you go shopping, stay away from people. Walmart has one way signs on all of the aisles for a reason.

Follow the signs. Don’t go the wrong way down an aisle. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone grocery shopping at Walmart and people just go where they want and don’t pay attention to how close they get to you.

If there is someone in an aisle, go down a different one and then swing back around to that aisle. Are those few extra seconds that would take really that important to you? Taking a few extra seconds to be cautious could save a life.

Things will slowly return to normal when people start taking this seriously.

When it is your turn, get the vaccine. It is safe. Do your part to prevent the spread of this disease.

Stay home.