Everyone is coming out of this pandemic guilty

The pandemic isn’t over, and chances are it won’t be over for a while. People like anti-maskers and reopen America protesters have always slowed recovery from the pandemic, but even those who follow the rules and listen to the government are also guilty. 

At this point in the pandemic, there are few who have stayed completely isolated, having no fun at all. Maybe they didn’t go to any concerts or big events, they wore their mask everywhere and they stayed updated with the news, but they still did what the rules allowed them to do. I’ll admit that I hung out with some friends quite a few times over the summer, and I’m sure many who are reading this did the same. 

Of course, there’s technically nothing wrong with that. Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan allows for groups up to 50 people, so just a few people hanging out seems fine in comparison. But is being around just small groups really okay?  

Although the government permits small groups to be around each other, the virus will still be contracted by everyone in that group if even one person gets it. The only reason the government is allowing these groups and not locking us all up in our houses is because humans need interaction. However, that need for normalcy the public is craving is causing deaths. Although I, and every other person, would hate to still be living the way we were in April, there’s no arguing that it’s the morally right way to be living. 

I understand the need for social interaction. There are those who need to be around others for work-related reasons, and there are those who need to be around people, otherwise they’d just be terribly sad. However, the hard truth is some people are dying so they can live comfortably.  

It’s tough to confront, and it’s a hard truth for me to face sometimes. Whether or not we know there’s a chance we could catch it and spread it, many of us still do what we’re allowed to do. These scientists know that a full lockdown is just too much to deal with for many people. Countries like Japan have fought the virus almost entirely through masks, but America has shown to be too stubborn for that.

In five years or so, the pandemic will be a touchy subject to bring up. Contact tracing will be done, and everyone will know which specific friend they got the virus from, by extent killing their grandparents or any other immunocompromised people. It will be an acknowledged guilt that our generation will share by knowing they could have done better. 

Sure, the anti-maskers and the reopen America protesters are the reason it’s spreading, but what about every time a student steps out of their house/dorm and thinks to themself, “Nothing is wrong with going home this weekend. My roommates seem clean, and I only went out for fun once!”  

When everything is over, the world will look back at this time the same way they’d look back at a past relationship or job that went wrong. They’ll believe that if they could go back they would fight the pandemic the right way, even though at the end of the day, no one is able to live completely selflessly. Everyone needs to keep trying their best, but they also need to keep an important thing in mind: This pandemic sucks, and you won’t be able to keep everyone safe.

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