Covid 19 is not over, yet people are returning to their version of normalcy from before the pandemic. They are commuting to work full-time instead of working from home, taking public transportation, and attending parties. They have tossed out the idea of social distancing and less people wear masks now than ever.
This is the reason why Covid 19 cases are skyrocketing.
The news is referring to this as the “third wave”, but the reality of the statistics tell us that this is still part of the first wave. Our numbers were never low enough to have exited the first wave. It’s useless now to think of where we would be now if people had just followed the advice of the scientists and doctors for the first few weeks of quarantine to wear masks and stay inside. But, that did not happen, and now people are so tired of quarantine that they are throwing caution to the winds and returning to the lives that they used to lead.
Of course, there are still the anti-maskers who believe that wearing masks is an infringement on their freedoms. But now protesting is coming from people who used to promote the wearing of masks and condemn those who didn’t. They go for jogs and bike rides without masks, as if the slipstream suddenly doesn’t exist anymore. (For those of you who don’t know, the “slipstream” refers to the fact that when you exercise without a mask on, you leave a trail with a circumference of around 30 feet behind you of the virus and anything else you expel through heavy breathing and sweat, infecting the people around and behind you who pass through it. Yes, you can spread the virus even if you don’t think or know you have it.)
How does empathy play into this?
We live in an age where empathy is regarded as the supreme form of being. People who are empathetic are praised because they possess the sensibilities to be able to put themselves in other people’s shoes. Empathy is being looked at as a cure for every civil injustice that our country faces.
Why, then, do people insist on contributing to the spread of the virus?
People are likening Covid 19 to diseases like the flu and chickenpox. However, anyone who does their research understands that Covid 19 is monumentally more dangerous than either of those, and many other, diseases. Let’s take chickenpox, for example. Before the chickenpox vaccine, mortality rate was approximately 1 per 100,000 children (0.001%), 2.7 per 100,000 teens (0.0027%,) and 25.2 per 100,000 adults (0.0252%). From the years 1990-1996, 103 people died from the chickenpox.
In the eight months that we’ve been dealing with Covid 19, there has been a 2.6% mortality rate in the U.S., and it’s been higher in other countries. In the eight months that we’ve been dealing with it, almost 18,000 people have died.
From sheer numbers, it proves that Covid 19 is monumentally more dangerous than the chickenpox. In short, the chickenpox had an average of less than .02% mortality, while covid has about 3% worldwide. 103 people died from chickenpox over the course of four years, while 18,000 people have died from Covid 19 in eight months.
Additionally, it’s not just mortality rates we need to look at; it’s hospitalizations. With the chickenpox pre-vaccine, hospitalization rates were approximately 0.25%. With Covid 19, hospitalizations are approximately 21%.
Looking at this in relation to empathy
In a society that prides empathy so emphatically, why are people disregarding the health and safety of others to give into selfish whims? We all know by now that wearing masks is to protect others from you. Why are so many people making the conscious choice to disregard the safety of others and go for a run or walk into a store without a mask on?
For instance, if you decide to be irresponsible and go to a party where you could potentially (and, in all honesty, most likely) catch Covid 19, that is your choice. But, if you then decide to go for a walk without a mask on, you could be spreading Covid 19 to everybody you pass. This includes people who are being responsible and wearing masks, are high-risk, or live with someone who is high risk. Why aren’t people using their empathy they claim to value so highly when making decisions that affect those around them? Don’t make the choice for others on whether or not they catch Covid – especially those who are taking the necessary precautions.
So, I have to ask where the empathy is.
Where is your empathy for your friends?
Do you not care whether or not they get sick? If they are willing to put themselves at risk, that’s their choice. But you do not have to participate in it. If they really are your friends, they will understand you wanting to stay safe. Right now, saying “no”, is showing that you care.
Where is your empathy for the frontline workers?
The attitude of “if I catch it, I catch it”, is doing serious harm to the well-being of the hard-working nurses and doctors. So many of these healthcare professionals are suffering from PTSD and other mental health disorders because of the patients they have to witness dying day after day. If you consider yourself to be an empathetic person, why aren’t you doing what you can to protect the well-being of the medical professionals?
Where is your empathy for the patients who are dying all alone in hospitals every, single day?
Covid patients are not allowed to have visitors. There are so many heartbreaking stories of loved ones standing at windows, separated by a thick pane of glass, unable to hug their dying family members or friends while the life seeps out in their laboured gulps of air. Where is your empathy towards them?
For those of you who still believe that Covid 19 is a hoax, where’s your empathy towards the people who do believe in it?
People stubbornly refusing to follow CDC guidelines because they insist that Covid 19 isn’t a threat is dividing our society. Even if you don’t believe it, show empathy towards the people who do. It is nothing but a minor inconvenience for you.
Many people like to brag about how empathetic they are. Yet, these are the very people who are irresponsibly, consistently, stubbornly putting themselves and others at risk. There’s irony in the bragging and self-righteousness of the people who consider themselves to be so empathetic. An attitude like that signifies self-centeredness, not empathy. Real empathy comes from concern towards others because of elevated feelings and emotions. These people with higher levels of empathy are the ones staying at home as much as possible and wearing masks when they must venture out. They do this because they understand that this is the way to heal the ill society that is adding so much pain into their lives.
People who preach about empathy are correct — it can be the biggest healer. But, saying that you are empathetic is not enough; you must actively engage in it. It is hypocrisy to talk about it or to think that feeling emotions is qualifies you as having high levels of empathy. Help stop the spread of Covid 19 through caring for those around you.
My name is Andrea and I live in Los Angeles, California. By day, I am in actor and by night I am working towards a degree in nutritional science.