at risk family

(Jade McIntyre / Daily Titan) 

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, it seems as if this year has taken a turn for the worst, and then another turn, and then another turn until we’ve completely gone back to square one. 2020 has been an unprecedented year starting with the tragic deaths of Kobe and Gianna Bryant in January, continuing with numerous movements, protests, elections and somehow ending with controversy over Harry Styles wearing a dress. 

Yet with all the commotion going on, the pandemic seems to have gotten buried in the chaos. 

People continue to complain about wearing masks and social distancing which is baffling because refusing to wear a mask is one of the contributing factors to why people continue to spread COVID-19 at such rapid rates. As of Dec. 15, there have been more than 73 million cases. That is 7.3% of a billion. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, the national ensemble forecast for newly reported COVID-19 deaths will likely increase over the next month with 9,500 to 19,500 deaths by the end of Dec. 26, 2020. This does not include the 1.6 million deaths already recorded. 

These alarming numbers have affected so many families but seem to have meant very little to others.  

As someone who lives with a high-risk family member, it’s terrifying to see how selfish many people are being amid the pandemic. It pains me to see protests going on against wearing masks because it feels like a huge middle finger to the country’s safety and health. 

My mom has been battling cancer since I was in high school, and even before the pandemic, our house was filled with fears and worries. Now, with the virus, my stress level has quadrupled. The month of March was easy because all of us were stuck at home. However once we were given the green light to go outside, it felt like I, along with many other people, forgot about the severity of the virus, especially forgetting the health and safety of at-risk family members like my mom. 

But now, after facing a few COVID-19 scares on top of hearing about friends’ family members suffering from the virus, my worry returned. 

Every single time I leave the house and come back, I feel a sense of guilt and fear for my family. Whenever I have to go out, I always notice someone whose mask displays a snide comment about having to wear masks or someone who isn’t wearing their mask properly. Worst of all, I always see that one person who refuses to wear a mask and looks surprised when asked to put one on.

By some means the virus became a political statement for some people to use to push their own agenda. But in reality, it fell short to the gravity of the consequences that gathering might leave. Rallies have broadcasted people not following COVID-19 safety guidelines across the board. At Trump rallies and at Black Lives Matter protests, groups were seen not socially distancing with some not even donning masks. 

Even with California’s most recent stay-at-home order issued on Dec. 3, it seems as if everyone and their mother has defied the rules and decided to ignore the order because social life is more important than life itself. 

I completely understand wanting to enjoy outdoor activities, dine outside and have some sense of normalcy, but complaining and just being plain ignorant of the seriousness of this pandemic is hard to wrap my head around. 

Many people seem more worried that the virus is deterring them from having a fun and entertaining life than about their own health and survival. Whether people believe it or not, lives are and will continue to be at stake until this virus is under control. The guidelines and protocols are not here to “ruin the mood” or put a damper on your day. They are implemented to save the lives of everyone, especially those whose health is more vulnerable. 

While I am urging the need for consideration and selflessness, I also need to emphasize that I am not perfect. I’m not here to get on a pedestal and say how amazing I have been during this quarantine. I, like many young adults, want so badly to go out and hang with friends, which I do in moderation. It’s important to understand when the line is drawn especially when it comes to those at risk, like my mother. 

All I’m asking is to be cautious, considerate and please, for the love of you, me and everyone else around you, please wear a mask.

Asst. Lifestyle Editor F20

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