As we approach the one-year anniversary of the Coronavirus in the US, there is some hope that things are finally getting better as the number of people vaccinated surpasses the number of people who were infected. The vaccine rollout has been slow and differs from state to state and there is still a large segment of the population who vows to not get the vaccine, but we have come a long way since March of 2020. Even though we have come far in the last 11 months, it is hard to forget the 485,000 people and counting who lost their lives to this virus, but for some it seems pretty easy not to think about them. To see everyone go from being locked in their houses, watching Tiger King, and buying all the toilet paper to eating at restaurants and traveling to Mexico and having New Year’s and Superbowl parties in a matter of 11 months when the cases have done nothing but rise is honestly amazing. People decided to start “living their lives again.”
It’s not surprising to see the citizens of a nation built on “freedom” acting selfish and refusing to make a sacrifice for the greater good––especially the citizens who idolized a president who refused to acknowledge the threat of Coronavirus and politicized wearing masks––but it is surprising when it’s the people you’re closest to.
The loose lockdown has shown the ugly side of friends and family and it’s hard to look at them the same. People walk around assuming they are safe as long as they are not sick. They don’t even get tested, as if there is not a large number of people who present asymptomatic. And people think once they get a negative test they are good, not realizing that that only means you didn’t have it the moment you were tested––you could still have gotten it from the 10 people you saw after the test.
Social media has made it even easier to judge because even though you might not have known, people care so little that they are bold enough to post it. On Friday night I watch everyone’s Snapchat stories, it flips from my friends at the University of Florida in a packed bar with not a mask in sight, to my brother showing his tiny apartment filled with 40 people all drinking and sharing cups and weed, to my friend from high school in Mexico, to my friends a mile away at a secret party on frat row. All while I sit at home still wiping my groceries down with Bleach wipes.
In Florida it’s one thing, Governor De Santis doesn’t require people to wear masks and everything is open––they even arrested a woman who was trying to expose the real numbers of COVID cases in Florida. In Florida, it’s like the Coronavius isn’t even happening––everyone saw the video of drunk Tom Brady partying in Tampa. But to see people in LA, where hospitals are at zero capacity and someone dies every 6 minutes of COVID, it’s hard not to judge your friends who think their fun is more important than people’s lives.
And it’s not just friends. My aunts and uncles––all over 60––went to a New Year’s Eve party at my uncle’s house who had just gotten over COVID the week before. My mom yelled at her siblings telling them it wasn’t smart and that he had probably passed it to some of his family members (who refuse to get tested because they don’t want their name on a “government list”) but they went anyway all because they knew my cousin was going to get proposed to. They posted the videos and everything.
It’s hard not to judge and it’s even harder to confront them. It’s come to the point where the people who are back to normal outnumber the people still taking it seriously. People around you make you feel crazy for still doing your part. You’re suddenly being ridiculous for not wanting to go eat at restaurants now that dining has reopened because you feel bad for the workers. They wear their masks when they go shopping and to restaurants and uber from party to party so what are they doing wrong? It doesn’t help that states have decided regular life with masks is perfectly safe. Airlines have even stopped blocking the middle row on flights, it’s just people trapped shoulder to shoulder in a confined space with the same air recirculating. They are even looking to reopen schools or I should say reopen the rest of schools as some have been open for months––and without vaccinating the teachers of course.
People are over COVID so they have given up. The reasonable ones will wear their masks, but that’s it. They’ve given up, they want their lives back they won’t “live in fear.” And until you force them to, they will never do their part because throughout history Americans have shown they only care about themselves.