The variety of Facebook groups we have access to is a gift and a curse. They are home to folks with zero expertise giving advice, and are littered with so many opinions that fact and fiction are blurred by the people who would rather be right than be factually correct. My town’s local Facebook group has become a breeding ground for COVID-19 conversation; some posts are useful, others are uplifting, and others are full of people shaming residents who are having happy hour with friends on porches. Those people hosting happy hour claim we are overreacting and insist on doing what they want, public health be damned.
For the record: I am on Team Shame. And the ones still socializing and living as if people aren’t dying are selfish assholes.
Social distancing is currently the most effective way to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, so that we can relieve our health care workers by not overwhelming hospitals and save lives. In an ideal world, we could look to our leaders during this time of crisis and see a path of responsibility being blazed by a person (or persons) making decisions that protect the people who follow. Good leadership unites a team, community, or country.
I wish I felt a sense of united solidarity with other Americans right now. National leadership has been self-serving, contradictory, and full of inaccurate information. Thankfully, some state and local leadership has diverted for the better, and some of us are doing our part to stay the fuck home. But too many folks don’t give a fuck and continue to do what they want, despite CDC guidelines and the plea of vulnerable, high-risk citizens.
I am so thankful for the front line workers who are working in hospitals and grocery stores and delivering our food and necessary staples. The folks with medical degrees are literally risking their lives to save others. So are the people cleaning hospital rooms, stocking shelves, running cash registers, and delivering food to those in need. Unless your job is essential to the lives of others, your duty is to be the best social distancer you can be. If you are not protecting someone’s safety, managing their health, providing them with food, or keeping their utilities up and running, you should not be venturing out into public spaces or socializing with another human you don’t live with.
The problem is that people think their wants are needs are more important than everyone else’s. And it’s exactly those people who cannot be convinced to do the right thing. It’s not that it takes a lot of courage to throw all caution to the wind; it takes privilege, ignorance, and ego. People don’t want to believe that someone else may be more important than they are right now. Sure, there is some stupidity involved, but what plagues people is a lack of emotional intelligence. When a person can’t take a backseat to someone else, when they can’t admit they were wrong, when they can’t sacrifice their time, freedoms, or luxuries, it shows high levels of insecurity that are poorly masked by bravado.
The most vulnerable should be our priority right now, not our complaints of cabin fever or other inconveniences (like missing a vacation).
I don’t care if you are a friend, family member, co-worker, or neighbor. If you are eye rolling your way through this while still viewing yourself as #1, you are terrible and your actions are dangerous. Your need to maintain your personal liberties could mean being an asymptomatic carrier of a virus that can — and will — kill others. Even if you don’t feel sick, it’s possible to have the virus and be contagious. It’s not enough to just stay home if you are experiencing symptoms. You need to stay home no matter what.
Not enough people are taking this pandemic—pandemic, people—seriously. What will it take for people to realize they are not above being told no? At what point will the people who flood the beach, run to the hardware store every day to finally finish the house improvement projects, or go to the market because they are out of their favorite wine realize they are acting like tantrum-throwing toddlers who are literally endangering the lives of others?
I don’t care that you are bored, sick of your kids, already paid for that vacation, or miss your friends. I am too, so did I, and I do too. We are all feeling the struggle of social distancing, but for us to move beyond our current state of discomfort, we need to aggressively and effectively stop the spread of the virus by staying home. We are all supposed to be in this together, yet the entitled assholes are making it worse. There’s no “I” in team, jerk.
Apparently travel restrictions, executive orders, nationwide school and business closures and thousands of deaths haven’t done the trick. Maybe the folks who have bonfires in their yard with the neighbors while their kids run amok at the playgrounds would change their ways if they lived next to the refrigerated trucks being used as temporary morgues?
So if you can’t follow orders, shame on you. I am not talking about the single parents who have no other choices. I am not talking about the folks who have to report to work. I am not talking about the people who are holding up the pillars of our society by providing services and goods we need. I am referring to the idiots who are still having dinner parties, going “mudding” with their buds, or packing hiking trails and boardwalks because they see themselves as exceptions to the rule.
Wake up and do better, because your “need” to keep getting out there is not worth the risk to other people’s lives.