by Ashlin Hanley
What We Need is Unity,
But Selfishness is the Result
by Pamela Carey
There are many instances where a crisis has united Americans: September 11. Hurricane Sandy, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Boston Marathon Bombing. However, the coronavirus pandemic has produced so much hysteria, that many consumers only care about themselves.For example, after 9/11, donations, memorials and nationwide patriotism blanketed the country. After Hurricane Sandy, there was a surge of volunteers.
Americans stepped up to help and support one another. Maybe, when there is an issue that is tangible, such as defeating real physical people or rebuilding broken homes and buildings, that is when Americans come together the most. However, this COVID-19 virus is not something, or someone, we can capture or attack. And the result is that widespread panic has caused many Americans to strike an every-man-for-himself pose.
It’s the tragedy of the commons: when resources from a shared pool are exploited due to selfish interest. The mentality is, If I don’t take it, someone else will. Hysteria rooted in a crisis with an uncertain solution has caused American consumers to hoard and panic-buy, without any consideration of who may need it the most. No one needs to buy 8 packs of 6 toilet paper rolls in one shopping trip.
When the virus broke out, the unprecedented, irresponsible, self-centered consumers raced to buy toilet paper, soap, canned goods and face masks. It is the polar opposite of the unification we might hope for when faced with a national crisis. It is one thing to prepare, and it is another thing to hoard, to prevent others from acquiring the same utilities.
Because of this selfishness, people who cannot afford to leave their homes -- elderly who are afraid, and Americans who cannot afford higher demand prices -- are cheated out of necessities so that a healthy, single American can have 5 soaps for each sink in his house, enough toilet paper to last him 3 years, and cans of nonperishables to feed a whole neighborhood.
During times of chaos, our country needs unity, now more than ever. We must think of the suffering who cannot acquire the items necessary to survive. Instead of keeping an unnecessary amount of high demand items, we can offer help to an elderly neighbor, follow in the footsteps of businesses stopping production to make hand sanitizers for first responders, and donate to food pantries. Take this time of uncertainty to provide for those who need our help, instead of trying to be the last man standing.
The World Was Already Changing;
Corona Is Just One More Warning
by Rena Shapiro
Biologists have long predicted something called a “limiting factor” to arrive at the doorstep of the human race, particularly in the form of a virus. This factor is, empirically, a cap on population growth, and more personally, nature’s characteristic way of correcting herself when an imbalance occurs. It was also forewarned to be a virus originating in livestock that mutated to human infection, and would ideally be airborne, rendering it detrimental.
Jump to December of 2019 and enter SARS-CoV-2, a coronavirus that originated in rodents, related to other strains of that family known to cause severe acute respiratory syndrome. Three months later, the virus has spread from its birthplace in Wuhan, China to 174 other countries; only 18 UN members have not reported a case as of April 2, according to BBC World News.
I remember the Friday of the first week of March quite well. I spoke with my friends at theater rehearsal after school in the hallway, and we all agreed that it felt like everything had changed. It began when the SATs were cancelled for that weekend. Then, that day, our assistant principal pleaded on the announcements that no one roam the halls idly after school unless they had an extracurricular activity to attend.
It was eerie; no one was lounging on the ledges carved out by window panes, and we were the only group to be seen. All day, murmurs from teachers and friends hung in the air that other school districts were closing and it was only a matter of time. So, when we left the chorus room at 4 pm and I was getting into my friend's car to go home, I looked at her and said, “Hey... do you want to go to the beach?” She nodded resolutely, and off we went.
While we sat on my coat on top of the warm sand, we looked out to the water and our phones rang. School was cancelled for two weeks. That was the last time I hung out with a friend before moving back into my own house indefinitely.
The world has sustained shock from the sudden spiral of all of our systems into hushed waiting. But at the same time, it is forcing us each to take a step back and assess the crossroads we have come to before continuing. The rush of technological conquest has been slowed for a single defining moment, and it will soon be time for us all to make a choice. Whether we decide to collectively face environmental and political challenges or allow the globe to warm and for war to rage, the decision happens now, in 2020.
Coronavirus is not the disease but the symptom of a world approaching a population of 8 billion people. In the United States specifically, politicians have allowed 50 years of abuse to the environment under the lies of industries and lobbyists, withholding the truth about the effects of the Industrial Age and the man-made climate crisis. We also see the beloved consequences of the same at this very moment as delays in reform of our healthcare. Humans alter their environment rather than adapt to it; it's plain, however, that we won't be able to outcompete that which we came from, or nature herself. We are fighting the virus to the only extent we possibly can with our valued, well-developed technology, but nonetheless, it currently has a death toll of nearly 70,000 people.
Meanwhile, we’re each sequestering inside as circumstantial hermits while concurrently learning to appreciate the outdoors again. We have our work and our education on that familiar electronic savior in which we ironically find comfort as well as destruction. We have been reminded of the value of our real relationships in a time of inflating disconnect. When I go for walks now, it’s amusing to see everyone out on their porches and congregating on street corners with a deliberate distance between them, but still vying for the human connection we all need so fundamentally.
I find hope in the surprising new significance of the elbow tap. I imagine the birdseye view of it all, everyone just trying to get by, and it’s incredibly naturalistic. It’s the antithesis to the computers we venerate. We have been forced to observe. We are undergoing a global and essential hibernation. We have newfound, sincere enjoyment in the little things. It’s a reversion to appreciation for our environment and the assumption of awe at her power, her irrefutable power to bring us back to nonexistence if we dare continue our exploitation.
Like those who lived through 9/11, there will be a before and after for my generation. Baby Boomers’ post-9/11 panic is not unlike the sense of impending doom my peers and I experience as we fear the dangers of unchecked climate change each day. Depending on the ultimate impact of the virus’ spread on us all, we may witness a new world order where youths travel to reject socioeconomic boundaries and the institutions that previously trapped us. We will have seen substantial suffering within older generations. That would be the most extreme synthesis of before-and-after possible. It probably won't turn out exactly that way. But for certain, it will remain critical that people everywhere finally exercise solutions to the universal obstacles we face and ensure a better future for all humans alike.
Ultimately, the coronavirus has shaken each person today in an immediate way, and the world in every way. It is a fight we should have expected; it is both a consequence and our precursory relief. And it is now time to come together and to embrace each other and our origins as we look to the world ahead.
The Frontlines in Our Backyards
By Julianna Villella
On November 11th of every year, Americans honor military veterans for protecting our country from worldwide danger. As of 2019, there are a total of 18.2 million veterans who put their lives at risk for the better of the country.
During this COVID-19 pandemic, there are plenty of workers who do not have the title of “US Veteran”; nevertheless, they are doing everything they can to protect the country. These include, but are not limited to: doctors, nurses, store clerks, sanitation and town workers. These selfless individuals deserve to be recognized and honored for their work, because these men and women are defending our country against an invisible and unprecedented enemy.
Currently, there are approximately 24 million health-care providers, 5 million store clerks, and 4 million sanitation workers in the United States involved in controlling the Coronavirus outbreak. They stand out in the cold administering COVID-19 tests, they sit with laboring mothers whose significant others are prohibited from being with them, and they drive through the night or stock shelves at sunrise to deliver essential resources to our communities. After this time of uncertainty, fear and chaos, will these heroic figures be recognized for their service to their communities and country? Or will we return to the ease of taking them for granted?
After everything these dedicated individuals are sacrificing by going to work everyday and exposing themselves, I strongly believe they deserve to be commemorated in some type of way.
Without health care professionals, our population would be plummeting faster than it already is. Without sanitation workers disinfecting and carting away everything Americans touch, this outbreak would be far worse than it has already been. Without store clerks keeping us fed and healthy, and giving us access to prescriptions and baby formula, many Americans would be struggling to stay alive, whether they are infected with the virus or not. Additionally, there has been a recent decline in crime rates, thanks to the police, who also risk their lives to ensure that our country is taking precautionary measures to stay safe.
These workers are faced with new cases and problems everyday, which leads to increasing uncertainty of finishing their days uncontaminated by the virus. Despite their fears, they serve our country in order to keep people safe. I look forward to a post-Corona time when Americans can offer these individuals the respect they deserve, after being on the frontline of this war against COVID-19.
Can Faith Persevere Over the Coronavirus?
by Elisa Hustedt
For many Christians around the world, the coronavirus quarantined Palm Sunday and Easter celebrations. With churches closed to the public and holiday traditions altered by government-issued COVID-19 restrictions, such as social distancing, some religious peoples seem to be struggling to find ways to honor these holy days. People reliant on Sunday services to maintain their faith-driven connections with God or those who cherish embracing holy days with family are distraught with the newfangled thought of possibly having to skip or postpone this significant holiday. But could this experience somehow strengthen religious connections?
This horrifying epidemic may cause many followers of Christ to embrace their faith more fully after this pandemic is over. Before the coronavirus began interfering with religious practices, some Christians solely attended church services, sustaining their relationship with God by only celebrating holy days, such as Easter and Christmas. However, this pandemic may force many to put more individual effort into keeping themselves religiously active so they can still honor the resurrection of Christ amid such circumstances.
While some may dust off their Bibles, which haven’t been touched in years, to refresh themselves on God’s word, others might find joy in reading various online sermons, writing devotions or even begin praying at home. In any case, these newfound spiritual outlets could potentially allow some Christians to enrich their faith and build stronger religious connections than the ones they had prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
By Ellena Lunt
No one could truly predict how this global pandemic would gravely impact so many ordinary peoples’ lives. When the virus first showed its head, many Americans might have been ignorant enough to think it would not affect our lives, that it was something only Europe would have to deal with; but they were wrong. We have all had to adjust our lifestyles and daily routines, taking new precautions to avoid infection, but could these aggressive changes also ultimately improve the overall health of many Americans and the environment?
With the virus so rapidly spreading, nonessential businesses have shut down, leaving many people with little to do in an ironic abundance of free time. A lot of people have taken up exercise as a hobby. People have discovered that hikes through parks and jaunts in gardens can be the perfect way to combat being stuck at home all day, while still maintaining social distancing. Similarly, routine walks around the neighborhood or jogs through towns could all become mainstays that improve the health of the commonly-unhealthy American.
Additionally, we have also watched restaurants resort to strictly take-out services or even close completely, causing more people to rely on cooking at home. Although it is not always healthier than restaurants, typically cooking at home more routinely usually forces people to eat healthier and pay more notice to their daily intake.
Furthermore, with fewer people in typical public spaces, there are far fewer opportunities for people to litter and generate less pollution to the environment. With so many people staying inside, the environment is able to get a break from the usual constant damage from society which could even help slow global warming. Although these changes came about as a response to a very difficult situation, they are simultaneously opening the eyes of many to a new reality that may cause people to make these lifestyle changes permanent.