Written By: Dylan Parham
Are we still in a pandemic? When the global pandemic hit in March of 2020, many people started to freak out. Stores and restaurants originally began by limiting the amount of guests allowed. Then, a few days later, many restaurants began to close. The “great toilet paper shortage of 2020” was the headline news, and many were not entirely sure yet if they were required to wear masks. However, that was then, and this is now. Individuals know so much more about this virus and what has to be done to ensure survival.
The United States has been dealing with this since March. As stated earlier, it is now October; it has been eight months of this. Much like other Americans, I do not want to go back to the time in which I was worried about leaving my house and potentially getting myself and my family sick. Yet some people still seem to just be over with this pandemic. They are tired of wearing masks, social distancing and the state of the nation. The World Health Organization reported “an increase in ‘pandemic fatigue’ – people are feeling demotivated about following recommended behaviors to protect themselves and others from the virus” in an October Article. The New York Times also referred to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stating that the study “showed that depression rates spiked three times higher during the pandemic… 40 percent of American adults reported problems with anxiety, depression or substance abuse in late June.” This study is severely troubling because if more and more people are not following proper guidelines, which can be seen through the spike of the disease in many areas.
With all of this information being presented, many of the rising cases can be traced to the growing trend of Americans going on overseas vacations according to a CNN article “Find Out Which Countries are Welcoming US Tourists Back.” People have been having large weddings and parties with the caveat of “we are wearing masks.” However, if you look into these photos, you will see people not wearing masks or properly social distancing.
In addition, at many of these events, many people are taking off masks when taking photos, which is defeating the whole purpose of the masks. I will never understand the logic there. With eight months and counting in this pandemic, to quote the president at the Oct. 22 presidential debate, “[people are] learning to live with it” but also to quote former Vice President Biden, “[people are] learning to die with it.” This virus is severe, and we should still be taking it seriously. I, too, want this to be over, but not at the expense of others. The other day I went to the McDonalds in California, Maryland, to get some spicy nuggets, which are to die for, and saw a big group of cars and people in the parking lot next to it. Not one person was wearing a mask; if that happened on our campus, public safety would be called in seconds. I’m not alone with witnessing these events. In a Washington Post Article, Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force told reporters after participating in a round table with Republican Gov. Doug Burgum.
“Over the last 24 hours, as we were here and we were in your grocery stores and in your restaurants and frankly, even in your hotels, this is the least use of masks that we have seen in retail establishments of any place we have been,”. She was referring to her trip to North Dakota which has seen more coronavirus infections per capita than any other state and over the past month has experienced a stunning surge in hospitalizations and deaths.
As Americans, we think of the individual and not the collective and often do not consider others when decisions are being made. In 2021, individuals need to stop that and think about others because, as has been seen throughout this pandemic when we do not, it can cost lives. This country is still in a pandemic; act like it, and tell others to act like it. It will surely save lives.