America’s hubris in the face of COVID-19

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COVID-19 has changed the way we live our lives for at least the foreseeable future. What hasn’t changed in America is the complacency of our people. Living in our self proclaimed “greatest country in the world” comes with many benefits, one of which is feeling fairly removed from the daily strife of life, especially if you’re in the middle class or higher socioeconomic status.

This comfort of day to day life has made us unadaptable to much-needed disruptions of life when necessary. Our “don’t tell me what to do” and “I’m an American citizen, the government will take care of me” attitude has stunted our personal responsibility to take the COVID pandemic seriously and contain it as much as possible.

As a physician, I had attempted to alert and have my family prepare weeks ago to which the response was an apathetic “it’s going to be fine.” Our country’s people are no different; if we as a people do not take it seriously, then this is bound to get out of hand. Education is key in enlightening the public of the impending crisis that awaits if drastic measures are not taken, and yet this same attempt at education is met with resistance and ignorance.

If we as Americans do not learn from our mistakes, we are bound to repeat them. Many comparisons have been made to the Spanish flu, and despite the lessons history has laid out for us, many are reluctant to accept them. Social distancing is a key factor in mitigating the spread, and yet our fellow citizens are still in denial.

Like most other problems in the world that we choose to ignore if they do not affect us directly, let me tell you this is not the same thing. You cannot just ignore this and assume everything is going to be fine. This requires action from every single person. Any single person can be the reason to set off a tipping point costing lives whether it’s because you chose to go to the gym when you’re sick or fly on an airplane when you’re an asymptomatic carrier. It is your responsibility to protect not just yourself but those around you. Don’t be selfish. Don’t be foolish. This will affect every single person in some way or somehow.

As health care workers, we are putting our lives, and our families’ lives at risk every single day. This will only get worse as patients get sicker, health care workers get sick, and soon our resources reach capacity. Be proactive and perform your duty to yourself and fellow humans by maintaining social distance.

Be the one that makes the difference.

The author is an anonymous physician.

Image credit: Shutterstock.com

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