community, COVID-19, love, pandemic

Real Love

Lily Chang © 2020

Maybe my concern and passion for the topic is fueled by the fact that my parents are immigrants, making me newer to habits of the country by comparison. They come from a community-oriented and group-minded culture. A person isn’t merely an individual who makes decisions that do not impact others.

Growing up, choices they made didn’t seem so different from friends, whose family had been around for more generations than mine. Parents worked hard to provide a future for their families. Some clocked in so much time and effort, they rarely saw their children. That was true of so many families.

Everyone also vaccinated their kids: for measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, to name some. This was to protect the individual as well as the group. Protecting others, the herd mentality, was and is just as important as protecting the self. There are people who cannot be vaccinated for any number of reasons: they’re too young, their immune systems are too compromised, etc. We succeeded in eradicating certain diseases, such as measles, by making sure just about everyone got vaccinated. However, due to large pockets of people electing not to vaccinate their children, measles has reentered our population in different cities across the country.

Here we are, in the midst of a serious pandemic: COVID-19. Most of us don’t  know what we’re doing. We haven’t really experienced anything this bad and far-reaching. The SARS outbreak of 2003 resulted in 774 SARS-related deaths. And I don’t know anyone who had experienced or lived through the 1912 Flu, which resulted in 50 million deaths worldwide.

To date, we have some 9,950,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 498,500 COVID-19 related deaths. We’re just at the beginning of the second wave. The Spanish Flu had gone through three to four waves and lasted more than a year and a half. We seem super eager to reopen everything, especially here in the United States.

We’re not interested in doing the social distancing or wearing masks, because we’re not comfortable with it and doing so inconveniences the lives we’re accustomed to. I realize that that sort of description is oversimplifying matters. We’ve dealt with staggering job losses and huge hits to the economy. Those concerns are real and they’re significant. I don’t want downplay that at all.

As a country, we were late in dealing with and trying to control the spread of COVID-19, but we are still quick and eager to open everything back up and stop wearing masks. Those are huge mistakes. States that have opened prematurely early, such as Texas, Florida, and Arizona, have seen huge spikes in new COVID-19 cases.

I think this is the time we should pull together as a community, not just within the country but around the world. We should wear masks and do the social distancing, not because it makes us feel better. I actually hate wearing a mask. It’s uncomfortable and inconvenient. My point still stands. Wearing masks and maintaining some distance protects others from our germs. And we’re keeping safe those who are older, those who are at greater risk, and the population at large. We’re only starting the second wave of this pandemic, and it is anything but over. I believe the only way to overcome this pandemic and get rid of it is by pulling together and making choices as a community, such as continuing to wear masks and maintaining some level of social distancing, until this is under control or over.

Taiwan is one example that has done that as a nation. The country has a population of 23.78 million. And so far, it has seen only 447 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 7 deaths related to COVID-19. We could stand to learn from each other’s successes (as well as failures).

Let us show real love for one another, which always involves some sacrifice, through this pandemic by wearing masks, maintaining some level of social distance, bringing food and supplies to those who are at risk, and helping in other ways. We can combat and put COVID-19 behind us, by working together.

Real love, whether during a pandemic or at any other time, inevitably involves putting another’s interests above one’s own.

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