As most of the country and the world is slowly returning to normal, I have noticed that there seems to be an even deeper divide in society between those who believe we most continue to stay safe and those who believe that the pandemic has been largely blown out of proportion or even made up.
For example, at my local grocery store all employees are required to wear masks. Protective shields have been put in place to protect the cashiers and directional arrows on the floor to increase social distancing.
For the most part, the customers are also wearing masks and following the directional arrows, but I’ve also noticed many shoppers who aren’t wearing masks and those shoppers tend to be the ones who also aren’t obeying the directional arrows.
The more I noticed this pattern, the more it intrigued me. I surmised that those individuals who weren’t wearing masks although it has been highly recommended by our local government, are individuals who believe that the pandemic has been exaggerated and that the measurements taken to reduce the spread are unnecessary. They believe themselves to be rebels and everyone else who are following the guidelines to be sheep who obey without question. This explains why these people also tend to be the ones not following the directional arrows as they probably believe it’s ridiculous.
These are likely the same people who are protesting for everything to open and to the end of our county wide curfew. One friend of mine who doesn’t wear a mask and is protesting for the reopening of everything is single with no loved ones to worry about. He lives alone and spends a lot of his time out in bars and restaurants. I’m sure at the height of this pandemic, the social distancing and quarantine must have felt like torture to him.
He doesn’t know anyone who has been affected by COVID-19 outside of it’s impact on employees and businesses. He, like many of the people protesting, not wearing masks, not obeying government and medical recommendations, is only worried about how this pandemic has affected him personally. He has a very myopic view, even if he hides it under the pretense of being worried about local businesses. At the end of the day he is more upset that this is making him temporarily change his lifestyle than he is about how this is impacting the health and safety of others.
Some people just aren’t very empathetic. It’s hard for them to sympathize with or even put themselves in the shoes of others if they are directly impacted.
I know people who have not only battled and survived the Coronavirus, but I also know people who have lost family members to the virus.
One of my coworkers who barely got sick when she contracted the virus ended up losing an uncle to it and her mother is still in intensive care several weeks after contracting the virus.
Another friend is currently planning the funeral for her grandmother who died from the Coronavirus. People are still getting infected and dying despite the good news that the spread is on the decline.
I have friends in healthcare who are treating patients with the virus, many who have died and these friends think that the people who are protesting for reopening and not wearing mask are ignorant and are risking others lives out of selfishness.
There are always going to be opposing views to any situation, but I can’t help but to think that if my friend and others who are protesting had friends or family who battled this virus, that if it hit home and wasn’t just something they heard about through the media, then maybe they would think differently. Maybe they would be more patient, cautious and less selfish.
I do think things need to slowly start going back to normal, but safely with social distancing and safe practices in place. We are all in this together and we have to come out of it together.