We all owe a debt of gratitude to Bodo’s on the Corner for keeping their mask recommendation in place despite literally every other business in Charlottesville removing theirs within the past few weeks. This should come as no surprise; last time I was in Bodo’s a few months ago my mask dropped below my nose and the cashier threatened to call the police (I have not been back since). In all seriousness, the student body should be thanking Bodo’s and so too should the UVA Health System for single-handedly keeping cases at bay.
The bagel joint is a hotspot for students on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning, and consequently a breeding ground for COVID-19 to fester. Students, who the previous night were unmasked at frat basements with 500 people or at packed wall to wall at Trinity on the Corner, need to be protected when they spend five to ten minutes in the bagel shop the morning after. Science does show that waiting in line is the most efficient way to spread COVID-19. So, a group of six consumers who live in the same house can walk to the store together and be just fine, but those five minutes they spend waiting for their order to be taken can very well spell the end of the University. Furthermore, evidence provided by UVA Dining and health experts everywhere show that COVID-19 does not spread while eating or drinking. So that same group of six must be masked while standing in line, but may then proceed to sit next to each other unmasked for the duration of their meal. The science here is foolproof and, reflecting on it, it is quite despicable that we don’t do this in every building for the rest of time.
I asked the general manager of Bodo’s why they decided to keep the recommendation when the University rolled theirs back. It was difficult to understand him behind his two masks and face shield, but it was something to the tune of, “these are uncertain times.” It appeared to me that he, along with his employees, live in constant fear of catching a common cold. I tried explaining that that is simply a part of life and that one cannot live in fear of COVID-19 forever. He did not seem to like that, so I offered a counter example. “Everyday when you walk to work, it is possible that you trip and fall on the cobblestone brick sidewalk. Why don’t you wear wrist guards, elbow pads, and a helmet?” To this question the manager removed his face shield and two masks and spat in my face, which I appreciated because it helped my natural immunity against the ever-changing COVID-19.
Since UVA lifted their mask mandate we have seen a drastic change in COVID-19 cases around the University. Three weeks ago UVA had five active cases; this past week, it had zero. Imagine what the cases would be like if Bodo’s removed their recommendation as well. While students have been going in and out of discussions with 20+ people, gyms with 100+ people, lecture halls with 200+ people, and dining halls with 300+ people (not to mention the frat parties, apartment pregames, and packed bars with hundreds of others), cases have actually decreased, leading rise to the suspicion that masks in fact, were never effective. But, we need not forget the inspiring words of the Bodo’s manager: these are uncertain times. The truth is that we will never know. It is entirely possible that the virus, that has been statistically proven to be less deadly than the flu amongst 18-22 year olds, transforms into a super-mutant and hospitalizes half the UVA student body— a student body that is entirely vaccinated, boosted, probably has natural immunity, and is in the physical prime of their lives. These are just such uncertain times.
So thank you, Bodo’s, for keeping us all safe. We owe you one.
The opinions expressed within this piece represent the views of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Jefferson Independent.