Spot the asshole

Are you being irresponsible during this pandemic?

Pixabay | Photo courtesy
Filling your cart with toilet paper doesn’t protect you from the virus, it makes you part of it.

Every day social media feeds are filled with heartwarming moments: citizens singing in the streets of Italy, kind neighbors doing good deeds for others or grandparents meeting their grandchildren through a hospital window. All this seems to show the goodness of humanity and provides a well-needed lift. 

Why are these heartwarming stories so necessary? Because we are at the same time overwhelmed by instances of individuals being selfish, arrogant and cruel. 

It’s true, this pandemic has brought out the best in many people, but it has brought out the worst in still more. So, if you’re trying to figure out which category you fall into, see if you’ve participated in any of the following asshole-worthy behaviors:

Not social distancing

The CDC has issued warnings about the dangers of not social distancing, the university has issued warnings and your parents and friends have also probably issued warnings. Yet, there are still people who are choosing not to follow these simple guidelines. 

For those who still choose to remain ignorant of the situation, social distancing isn’t about never getting sick. Honestly, it’s really not. 

The idea is to flatten the curve or lower the number of people getting the sickness all at once. See, if you fail to social distance, and so does everyone else, then hospitals and health care workers will be overrun by thousands of individuals needing medical assistance all at once.

However, if people social distance, the spread of the virus is more manageable. Individuals tracking its spread can inform those limited people you’ve come into contact with, versus the 30 people you just went to a party with, who will go on to infect 30 others and so on.

Sure, ideally social distancing could completely stop the spread of the virus. If every person stayed only in contact with one or two other people who only stayed in contact with that one or two people, the virus would have nowhere to go. Those infected could seek medical treatment, get past the virus and in three weeks the world could be as it once was.

But people are selfish and willing to risk their lives and the lives of those around them for the sake of a good time. Yet, the selfishness of a few is not your reason to be selfish too, Brad. Instead, stay away from others, be the kind of person you won’t feel ashamed of in 20 years when you have to look back and realize you jeopardized the lives of so many others because you lacked any compassion, and quite frankly, any sense.

Having gone on spring break

I’ve heard the same sentiment from several people who made trips to Florida and Arizona for their spring break, “I had no idea the virus would get so bad when I left for my vacation.” I’m sorry, but I have to call bull. 

When students left for their spring break they knew that NDSU was delayed for on-campus teaching for at least two weeks. The reality of the situation was already in place, with many professors warning students that they might not return for the rest of the semester.

People knew how bad COVID-19 was, they knew it was deadly to several different groups of people. The truth is, their sun-soaked vacation was more important to them than the spread of the virus and it’s as simple as that. 

I understand for some people that spring break may be one of the few times you can afford to get away. Maybe you were going on the first vacation of your life, visiting a new place for the first time or meeting up with family. However, when there’s a worldwide pandemic, your vacation dreams don’t trump human life. Period. 

Much of the spread of the virus being seen today is a result of the actions of spring breakers two and three weeks ago as symptoms begin presenting themselves. According to CNN as of April 2, at least 4,700 Americans have died from COVID-19 and many more are likely to die in the near future due to the virus. 

You can tell yourself that your spring break had no role in this and that you likely didn’t hurt anyone, and if that really makes you feel better, I applaud your apathy. But the truth is that there are spring breakers whose actions will lead to a person’s death. It’s morose and awful, but it’s true.

Stockpiling necessities

Did you go out and buy up all the toilet paper from your local store? Did you get enough bread, eggs or milk to feed a small army? Did you go and buy gloves, masks or Clorox by the pallet?

If you performed in any way similar to these actions, sorry, you suck.

I’m not sure if any people took the time to consider this when they were buying up all the toilet paper in sight, but COVID-19 doesn’t concentrate itself in your intestines and cause constant and unending diarrhea. You would think with the urgency people bought toilet paper, they would have assumed this to be true.

If people had shopped as they normally would have, there would be enough of the necessities to go around. Many places are offering delivery and pick-up services. People who are less able to get ahold of supplies, such as the elderly, disabled and immunocompromised, could have been able to get access to these necessities as well.

Instead, Karen and her husband are holed up with thirty packages of toilet paper while healthcare workers and families are unable to get a hold of the products they desperately need. Nice.

Also, while it’s important to be prudent. Hoarding surgical gloves and masks makes it so individuals who are in grave danger from the illness can’t be treated properly and medical professionals can’t properly arm themselves. Sure, you’ll be safe from the two other people you’re living with, but doctors and nurses can’t be safe from the hundreds of patients they come into contact with who could actually put them in danger.

Pretending you’re invincible

Many college-aged students seem to think that because they’re young (and stupid) that they can’t get the virus. What’s more, they think that if they do get it, it won’t really affect them.

In the past weeks, we know that’s simply not true. When young and healthy doctors and nurses who are coming into contact with the virus and dying, we know that no one is really invincible. 

Additionally, young people’s indifference to whether or not they get the virus reveals how little they care for at-risk populations, such as pregnant women, the elderly, immunocompromised, babies and many more. Sure, a college-aged student may get COVID-19 and not end up in the hospital, but that doesn’t mean they won’t send their grandparents to the hospital, their friend or a complete stranger who is at-risk and diligently trying to protect themselves.

Social distancing, cleanliness, diligence and doing your part are not just things you should do to keep yourself safe, they are the things you should do to prove your humanity. Acting like all this chaos and grief is an excuse to party, slack off and have an extra long “vacation” is not a cool or admirable trait. These actions will paint you as a villain in history and as a villain in the lives of many as real people end up in the hospital due to your selfishness.

Even if no grave consequence comes from going out, partying with friends or ignoring the advice of the world’s top experts, you show others your true character, and believe me, it’s not pretty.

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