July 10, 2020
Only the Strong?
- Why is there shame associated with the thought of becoming ill?
- Do some people really believe that only the old, immunocompromised, and perhaps strangers are at risk?
- We cannot count on youth for protection. We cannot count on fitness. We must instead count on science.
Last night, I ordered pizza. When the driver arrived, I realized that all my masks were in the dryer. Not wanting to make her wait while I fished one out, I wrapped a throw blanket around my head. I, of course, apologized for that bit of weirdness, but at least I was covered. She was very nice about it, but as she was turning to leave, she said, “Shame on me if I should be that susceptible.”
I thought, why is there shame associated with the thought of becoming ill? And, this came from a person who is working a job that takes them into contact with multiple strangers each shift. Anyone can fall prey to illness. Viruses are a part of nature, and at least as much a danger as the most apex predator. In fact, they are more of a danger. They are invisible to the naked eye, they can spread easily and quickly, and they can adapt (mutate) in order to continue their existence.
While almost any trip into the outside world makes it clear that there are people who are not at all concerned about contracting COVID-19, the question is, why aren’t they concerned? Do some people really believe that only the old, immunocompromised, and perhaps strangers are at risk?
Studies are being done examining potential connections between DNA and susceptibility to COVID-19. Much of the reason for these studies is that there are young previously healthy people who are not only contracting the virus, but are among those who have severe cases. No matter how tempting it is to believe that youth makes you invulnerable, young, otherwise healthy people are dying from coronavirus.
Laura Mae, a 27-year-old in Milwaukee, was surprised when she developed Covid-19…”It was a complete shock,” she said. “I didn’t realize that someone like me, a healthy 27-year-old who has no immune issues, could get so sick.” Luckily for Laura Mae, she recovered, and is using her experience to help educate others. However, we cannot all wait until we are personally impacted to take the threat of coronavirus seriously. That attitude is part of the reason we are having such trouble as a nation getting a handle on the spread of this virus.
We cannot count on youth for protection. We cannot count on fitness. We must instead count on science. That means heeding our experts. It means believing those who have spent their lives studying and doing battle with harmful microorganisms on behalf of all humanity. The only reason we have any power over nature is because we band together. Which is not always a good thing. But in cases such as this, it can be. If we actually do it. Our ability to survive comes from cooperation. Each of us is susceptible whether we believe it or not. All of our loved ones are at risk whether we want to accept it or not. So please, let us all band together to fight this virus. Let us shamelessly accept that we are all vulnerable, and act accordingly.