A Cultural Reset
by Aidan Garemani
Almost every day, more and more people across the world are being told to stay within their homes, prohibiting non-essential, public trips, with entire countries such as Italy and India on complete lockdown and many American states doing the same. Yes, the economy may be taking a major hit, and yes, we as a community are embracing a newly-found respect for grocery workers and garbage collectors among others, but neither of these occurrences are sure to create a lasting legacy in the story of American history. Coronavirus won't be remembered simply for its recession or its minor social changes; it will be remembered for a cultural, artistic reset.
With many citizens locked up inside their homes, left with little-to-nothing to do besides the occasional online-school assignment, creativity rises to take shape, and quite notably within the younger demographics.
Boredom fosters innovation. These younger generations are beginning to not only produce new works of art and music, but they’re also using advanced technology to rapidly share their ideas with the mass public, connected via the internet.
Between the two World Wars of the twentieth century, America and Europe experienced a historical age of anxiety, a time where no one was really sure how to feel, having just dealt with one of the most impactful global conflicts society has ever seen. As a result, people began expressing themselves, mainly through art. New intellectual movements emerged, including Dadaism, artwork that emphasized complete nonsense in an effort to critique conformity, and stream-of-consciousness, the literary technique wherein writers continue to write without stopping, jotting down every thought that pops into their minds. These seemingly simply, yet painstakingly complex, movements took the world of media and culture by storm, flooding logistical approaches to defining the general feelings of the public.
Now is no different. Taking a look at today’s music industry, at today’s artistic productions, even at today’s dance trends, it seems that no one can fully make sense of the world around us. We’re trying to break down a global pandemic, an event unbeknownst to younger generations, and our works reflect that. They portray confusion and pessimism, fleetingness and abstractism, yet also impulse and community, the same values embodied by the creators of the 1900s.
Combined with the vast availability of digital connection, ranging from Twitter to Instagram to TikTok, we’re easily sharing our passionate work to millions of other people who relate and begin to express themselves as well. The short term effects of COVID-19 may seem pressing at first but they aren’t the tell-tale features of the outbreak. This pandemic won’t be measured by the government’s response, it’ll be measured by how we, the people, respond, through a cultural reset of art.
Not all Superheroes Come From Krypton
by Anastasia Akapnitis
This COVID-19 crisis is definitely one for the history books; we are living in a war between a virus and humanity. This nonliving vessel of viral nucleic acid is smaller than a pinpoint and yet has the power to put a pause to the world and endanger humanity.
We are living through a crisis; businesses are closed, the country is in a recession, students are not in school, and most adults are home from work. Some citizens have lost their jobs and are scared of what their financial situation will come to. Others have small businesses to worry about and are losing thousands of dollars a month.
One might look at our current situation years from now and think that we were suffering greatly, but there are some positives that have come from this calamity, especially increased gratitude for the healthcare community that some people may have previously taken for granted.
As we face a global pandemic, we depend on help from the healthcare community and nurses, doctors, researchers, first responders, and others are finally getting the recognition and praise they have always deserved. As the nation is begging its citizens to stay home and social distance to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, healthcare workers are exposing themselves to help those affected.
They are risking their own health, as well as their family’s, and putting themselves on the frontline of the war. They are working long hours in an attempt to treat those in need, prevent more cases, and help humanity. Because of frequent exposure, hospital workers are at a greater risk of catching the virus. In addition, sources from the New York Governor’s office to the Washington Post report shortages of masks and protective gear.
Parents who work in hospitals are heartbroken that they can’t hug their children after working for so many hours. It is mentally devastating to not be able to give physical affection to your loved ones in fear of transmitting the virus that might wreak havoc on their immune system, put them in the hospital, and may unfortunately kill them.
Ultimately, we should constantly show appreciation for all of the healthcare professionals, as they are the superheroes whose actions are our best line of defense against our invisible enemy.
A Shift in My Consciousness
By Zaen Asghar
A few months ago, when life seemed normal, Americans flocked to their favorite restaurants to indulge in different cuisines, attended countless parties, sports games, and movies.
Then, the world was put on “pause” by the coronavirus virus’s pandemic explosion. Like many Americans, I had trouble getting used to this new reality For example, I'm quite a foodie; I enjoy spending my free time experiencing all types of delicious cuisine. And I certainly never paid much attention to how millions of people around the world endure hunger and starvation.
Recently, my free time has been spent reading statistics on global hunger. Specifically, The “Food and Agriculture Organization” of the United Nations which estimates that more than 820 million people do not have a sufficient amount of food to eat, which corresponds “to about one in every nine people in the world.
These drastic statistics prove the severity of global hunger which for tens of years has been a prominent issue to reduce by the United Nations.
Organizations like the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have focused exclusively on working to eliminate poverty, hunger, malnutrition, raise productivity and incomes, and improve the quality of the lives of poorer regions of the world. So far, “IFAD has supported about 483 million poor rural people over the past four decades.”
And yet, despite these efforts, more work and donations are needed to successfully combat global hunger. Around the globe, people are still hungry.
Overall, my shift in consciousness has been tremendous; I was recently appalled that my restaurant trips would be curtailed. Today I am thankful for having three meals on the table and a roof over my head. Ultimately, I hope that once the coronavirus crisis resolves, America as a whole can reflect upon this difficult experience and effectively cooperate with international governments to eliminate global hunger.
Trust in Science Could Have Saved Lives
by Tyler Grosso
If there is one positive that comes from the COVID-19 global disaster it will hopefully be an increased trust in science. Scientists knew that the virus would strike the United States and hit our country hard if drastic measures were not taken quickly. But, we did not listen.
We did not listen to the experts who knew what could come of this disease. We did not play it safe. We did not prepare. And now we are paying the price for that. Even as the United States was reporting as many confirmed positive cases as the entire world had, there was no national lockdown as our scientific experts urged.
Sadly, our nation’s leaders have failed the American people by not acting fast enough to stop the spread of this virus. We did not have nearly enough testing kits, ventilators, PPE supplies or emergency preparedness protocols in place in order to be ready for the outbreak of this disease.
Moreover, in the early stages of this pandemic, the United States could not offer adequate testing, which led to many people being unknowingly infected, and drastically hindering America’s ability to effectively combat the disease.
In contrast, South Korea focused on testing citizens in great numbers, and isolating positive patients immediately. Recent statistics demonstrate that the United States has about 25 times as many cases as South Korea, despite that the first case in the United States was only discovered one day after South Korea’s. It was a lack of foresight and failure to attend to the experts that made the United States fall way behind other countries in the fight against the novel coronavirus. Clearly, the United States did not act fast enough, and we should have been much more prepared.
We must take informed action to prevent further spread of COVID-19. American business mogul, investor and philanthropist Bill Gates has been very vocal about the United States’ response, or lack thereof, to COVID-19. Like many experts, Gates has been pressing for a 10-week, federal shutdown because there are still some states that have not taken the necessary measures and precautions to help fight this disease. States like New York are encouraging people to stay home and only leave their home if it is completely necessary, and have required nonessential workers to work from home. Meanwhile, there are states and counties that have yet to close their beaches, restaurants, and other public places. At this point they are creating a ticking time bomb; if scientifically-informed action is not taken immediately, places like these that are falling far behind the curve will likely be the next to see massive outbreaks.
Struggle for Seniors
By Sabrina McEvoy
Hypothetically, if you were to be stripped of an experience the majority of people reminisce about with old friends and their children, how would you cope? High school and college seniors across America will never get to relive the year that quarantine cut away. There is no going back.
Previously, in dark times such as post-9/11 Americans have come together for strength. And it is remarkable to see that so many of today’s young adults are trying to do the same.
Admirably, some seniors are uniting to build strength in this time of need. Instead of mourning the losses of sports seasons, final days of school and even exams they are using social media to share highlight media that celebrates what they did create together. They’re expressing strength, unity, and progression. Rather than expressing feelings of hurt and despair, they’re showing their gratefulness for the short amount of time they were granted.
Though they may not be able to participate in their lacrosse and softball seasons, they show gratitude for their ability to have experienced their last football and soccer games. Ultimately, COVID-19 reminds us all to choose to see the light beyond the dark in difficult circumstances.