We are living through what will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable years of human history. 2020 has quickly proven that its legacy will live on far past our lives, and circulate through history books in future secondary education systems.
This year will be cemented into our minds for all the wrong reasons, acting as a constant traumatic reminder of how dire existing on Earth can become.
When I first heard of the coronavirus back in December, I shrugged it off as something plaguing people I would never know. At the time, no known cases existed in the U.S. and it seemed the virus would eventually disappear as quickly as it came to be.
Hindsight offers the pleasure of knowing, and we now know just how ignorant our Eurocentric values are.
On March 11, The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 situation a pandemic, indicating the emerging virus was making efficient progress in its mission to conquer the globe. Human beings with families, careers and established homes are being reduced to situation reports, viewed as yet another undesirable afflicted body in need of a bed.
As of Wednesday at noon, according to Center for Disease Control (CDC), the novel coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. had grown to over 7,000 cases in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands, with 97 reported deaths. The coronavirus has no known treatment or vaccine, leaving the disease free to roam as it pleases.
Let us not romanticize the situation this world is currently in. Rather than sharing moments of ethereal joy, such as the Summer Olympics, we are unionizing over our shared grieving, commiserating because so many details that make life worth living are now absent.
Seniors in college may never walk at graduation alongside those they spent four years struggling and growing with. Children may be spending sleepless nights cycling through scenarios in which their elderly parents suffer and die. Low-income families are struggling to find childcare and meals for their children as schools close.
These are morbid times. For the most part, there are no definite answers available, which only makes the situation that much more terrifying. Anticipation over what is to come is often more painful than the event itself. Social distancing and quarantine have become the new version of daily life.
Despite GU classes formally being moved online for the remainder of the semester, I still opted to stay in my home in the Logan Neighborhood, rather than live with my parents in San Diego. With everything around me feeling uncertain and unfamiliar, living with my housemates seems like the only portion of normal I have left. There are innumerable circumstances beyond our control. However, there are also a multitude of actions we can take as a community to help alleviate some of the pressure.
I’ve found these small efforts are being ignored in favor of maintaining one’s preferred state of living. Young adults and low-risk individuals across the nation are consciously choosing to continue their own lives, despite knowing that failing to socially distance can lead to lack of life for others.
I am a cancer survivor, and while I’ve been in remission for over 15 years, I have no desire to test if 14 months of chemotherapy has compromised my immune system. I fall into the age group deemed low risk, yet this magic number provides no guarantee as to whether the coronavirus will be fatal. Your night out with friends could potentially cause someone’s last night on Earth. I beg you to ask yourself if it's worth it.
Let’s focus on what we can control based on the advice from medical professionals who have studied these areas for decades. Advice concerning basic hygiene, such as washing one’s hands and cleaning common spaces, or buying only the necessary amount of toilet paper should be followed.
Those buying out grocery stores and stockpiling canned goods may be hoarding resources from those who need them most. Socially distancing can help slow the curve of the impending tragedy we are all about to witness, and ensure there are enough ventilators and beds for those in need of care.
The worst is yet to come, this much is known. The world is a stage for which we all received a free ticket to the performance. However, the degree to which we all suffer depends on the choices of those healthy enough to make it to the final curtain.