Since the arrival of COVID-19 in the United States, all of our lives have changed in ways we never thought. From our academic setting being altered to a change in job location, in one way or another, life looks pretty different compared to February of this year. With this drastic life event happening in real-time, the world has had a front-row seat to all that this novel virus has created. Speaking personally, I’ve seen my own day to day life adapt to what we call the “new normal,” which has been hard. Not only has my life changed but the social climate and how people react to the smallest of things has also been amplified. Here are the negatives and positives that have come with the world we are living in today.
Sadly, like many current events, the coronavirus pandemic has been politicized, only adding more stress and negligence to the current political climate. For one, the arrival of the virus and where it originated from has been thrown into a pool of misconceptions where many have derived from hateful and racist prejudices. When the president of the United States says that no one should worry about the virus, that the country will open back up in time for Easter Sunday, and calls Coronavirus the “Chinese Virus” or the “Kung Flu”, some citizens believe his statements and adopt them into their beliefs and vocabulary, only creating more divisiveness and hate.
Racism and hatred have intensified during this pandemic, especially xenophobic behavior towards Asians. Due to misinformation, many of the uneducated in this country have targeted others simply based on their race and looks, and at times this behavior has resulted in horrible hate crimes that could have been prevented. In order to change this anti-Asian sentiment due to current events, we must have leaders in place who also believe in equality and denounces hate speech. But right now, all we can do is be there for those that are being hurt by these crimes. Life is already hard at the moment, don’t make it harder for people that are simply trying to survive.
Another misfortune that has come with Covid-19 has been the increase in virus and mask deniers. As mandated by many states and counties at the moment, wearing a mask is both beneficial to you and those around you. At many stores and restaurants, one can’t even enter without wearing their masks. The death toll has reached 190,000 in the U.S and with people continuing to not wear masks, this pandemic and death toll will only be extended. Mask wearers may be a minority, but their actions are having a negative toll on our communities.
Not only are mask deniers hurting this country but COVID-19 has been shown to disproportionately kill minorities most prominently, Blacks and Hispanics. For many, this pandemic has allowed them to “take a break” from life and to learn new hobbies and work on themselves but the reality many minorities are facing is the fatal and unfair impact this virus has had on their lives. It’s time we all act more selfless and think about others even if it means wearing a face mask all day when you are out surrounded by others. Please do your part and mask up!
Although we have a lot of work to do as a country when it comes to who and how the virus has affected our neighborhoods and communities, acts of kindness have risen these past few months. From a simple act of helping someone who is immunocompromised shop for basic necessities like groceries to groups raising funds for those affected by the pandemic, people have been helping one another in every way possible.
Essential workers have also shown how strong we are as a country as well in these tough times. From nurses to grocery store clerks to construction workers, their job has not moved remote and instead, they have been going to work every day since the pandemic started. They deserve all the praise and recognition. It’s a difficult task to do, and they do it daily.
One of the biggest positives to come out of this pandemic is the deserved recognition, acknowledgment, and praise of the Black Lives Matter movement. With its formation in 2013, this movement has received strong support for those wanting equality for all and the fair treatment of Black people while there have been some to criticize it due to their own biases as well as misinformed thoughts.
With the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many other Black lives lost due to police brutality and racially motivated violence, this movement’s message has only intensified and has received more traction since the pandemic began. Covid-19 shutdowns have allowed Americans to protest for the fair treatment of Black lives, while still adhering to CDC guidelines. These protests haven’t stopped either, systemic racism, unfair systems, and weak leadership have all contributed to the explosion of these continuing protests. Black Lives Matter today, tomorrow, and forever.
2020 has been a year full of unexpected surprises. If I was told a year ago that my school year would be going remote, masks would be mandated, and social distancing was a thing, I wouldn’t believe it. The world has all gone through it in one way or another and with the negatives, it can be easy to give up. The pandemic has deeply affected a large percentage of people’s mental health so please treat people with kindness! It’s all we can do right now. Keep protesting, volunteering, donating, and checking up on people. The more we can do to help, the less hate we’ll see. Stay healthy and safe! BLM! And don’t forget to register to VOTE!