American entitlement and the coronavirus


Media by Billy Kraft

Sadie Springer, Staff Reporter

Since the beginning of the pandemic, a large sector of Americans have been reluctant to abide by safety protocols. It seems pretty straightforward: Stay home in order to avoid spreading the virus, and when it is necessary to go out, wear a mask in public and keep your distance.

But many Americans apparently didn’t get the message.

Essential workers are willing to risk their lives, and the lives of the people around them, in order help the American people through this crisis. Healthcare officials are on the front lines, going to work everyday to take care of the infected. Educators, law enforcement, manufacturers, and many others are making huge sacrifices. And the American people cannot stay home? Or wear a mask in public? 

It is extremely frustrating for myself, let alone essential workers to see such reckless behavior. It is disappointing that people are unable to see beyond themselves, and their situation. 

But their ignorance is causing more than just frustration, it is causing death. The COVID-19 cases throughout Illinois and the entire nation are skyrocketing. People are losing family members, jobs, and their houses. This is such a real and present issue, and to say it doesn’t matter, or not having the decency to wear a mask is simply insensitive. 

This is not to undermine those who have been being safe, and taking the pandemic seriously from the beginning. But the actions of those likewise is tarnishing all the progress anyone had made of containing the virus. 

In Asia, countries like Japan, China, and Taiwan, citizens have been regularly wearing face masks since the 1950’s, even when there isn’t an ongoing pandemic. If they do not feel great, they put on a mask out of courtesy so they don’t get others sick. According to VOA News, Taiwan citizens say they feel more protected from pollution and airborne germs when wearing a mask. 

Why can’t the same logic easily be adopted here in America?

President Donald Trump is partially to blame for people’s incompetence. 

“We are rounding the turn. People are pandemic-ed out,” Trump said in a rally during his presidential campaign. 

We have been “rounding the turn” for months. Misleading information like this just encourages carelessness. He is a large figure in America, and his followers look up to him. If he says that COVID-19 is withering away, people are not going to be as careful as they would be if he told them the truth. 

“You get it [COVID-19], you know, like I say, here I am,” Trump said. 

Even after getting infected himself, he still downplays the virus and its severity. Fortunately for him, he was a survivor, but over 250,000 U.S. citizens didn’t make it.

There have been many instances of Americans violating guidelines set in place by health officials. Celebrities, famous social media influencers, and famous athletes are no exception. 

On October 28th, Justin Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, attended a post-game party to celebrate the World Series win, all while knowing he was infected with coronavirus. Actions like these baffle me. He is willing to risk the health of his fellow teammates, just so he could participate in the gathering. 

In the early days of the pandemic, social media influencers were mainly doing their part in responsibly “influencing” the public. For the most part, they promoted mask-wearing, social distancing, and staying home. But as the months have gone by, they seem to have gotten lazy. When scrolling on my phone, I constantly see people that I used to look up to, throwing huge parties, not social distancing, and not a mask in sight. It is so upsetting. The pandemic isn’t over. 

These “influencers” are supposed to be role models. They may have a substantial following on TikTok or Instagram, but that doesn’t mean the rules don’t apply to them. Their irresponsible actions make their audience believe that it is okay to attend parties, and not follow safety guidelines themselves.

Ignoring the pandemic is not going to solve any of the problems. By pretending it does not exist, they are postponing the return to normal life. They are causing more death, and hardships for their fellow American families. 

But it has become abundantly clear that some Americans do not care about their peers. They are willing to put the health of others in jeopardy for their own benefit. They may have not witnessed the virus first hand, but that doesn’t mean isn’t real. More likely than not, being careless is going to make them more at risk for being exposed, and then contracting the virus. 

My hopes for the next few weeks to come is that people realize the damage that they are doing. The virus’s reign has lasted nearly nine months, and is on track to last even longer if we don’t act responsibly.