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The Privilege of Not Worrying About the Coronavirus

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I wish I didn’t have to worry about COVID-19. I wish I didn’t have to think twice about every interaction I have. I wish holidays and birthdays just went on without any care for the safety of others. I wish I didn’t have to wear a mask and stand six feet apart from everyone. But there are thousands with compromised immune systems and underlying conditions like me. If we caught COVID-19 it would be a dangerous situation.

Here is an open letter to those with health privilege during a worldwide pandemic:

The privilege of not worrying is killing thousands of individuals. The approximately 286,000 deaths in the United States speak for themselves. Many of those with compromised immune systems and underlying conditions. The lack of wearing a mask and caring for your fellow man is astounding. It is selfish to consider yourself only and not wear a mask and social distance. You are privileged you haven’t gotten COVID-19 and passed it onto a love one that eventually died.

Sacrificing the “weak” for the sake of normalcy shows just how privileged you who don’t wear a mask and are not taking this seriously really are. Do I come off angry? A little bitter? Maybe it is because I am, and I have a right to be. When I see blatant disregard for the lives of those who are vulnerable, I get angry, and the rest of the world should too.

Wearing a mask is inconvenient (and there are occasionally other complications). I get it. I don’t like it as much as the next person. But it helps save lives, and even if it doesn’t, even more reason to be concerned and to social distance and stay home. Let’s go there for a minute. In a world where masks don’t work, we all should be more concerned instead of less concerned. What I see though is a bunch of people who don’t want to wear a mask because it takes away their freedom. This isn’t about your freedom. The government isn’t trying to control you by asking you to wear a mask. Believe me if they wanted to control you, they would have a better plan than a mask.

No one is trying to take away your rights. It is for the health and safety of those who are vulnerable that you should be wearing a mask and social distancing. By not taking this seriously and wearing a mask and social distancing, you are saying to an entire group of people, “you don’t matter, I’ll do what I want.” Isn’t that sad. It is sad I even have to say it. It is sad that you will read this and still will not wear a mask or social distance.

Maybe you’re mad at me by now for calling you out. No one likes to be called selfish or self-centered. Imagine someone on their deathbed telling you this. It is hard to imagine because people dying of COVID-19 are dying alone because someone they came into contact with gave them the virus. Perhaps in a situation where masks and social distancing wasn’t involved.

Let’s talk about kindness for a moment. Kindness isn’t dependent on whether someone is kind to you. Kindness is a choice. When you choose to not wear a mask and not social distance, you are being unkind. You may not see it that way, but you are. Kindness is what binds humanity together. It is what says, “I see you and you have value because you exist, so I am going to treat you with kindness.” Especially if you are a person of faith who believes people deserve kindness, love and respect because they are created by a God who gives that freely out.

So, what do you have to say? I probably didn’t change your mind on wearing a mask or social distancing and staying home. What I hope I did was point out you are privileged. You don’t have to worry about being a vulnerable population. You don’t have to worry about catching COVID-19 and passing it on to a vulnerable person. You go about your days like there isn’t a pandemic and you stand on your soapbox for freedom. All while thousands of people die around you. If anything, at least acknowledge your privilege — otherwise you are only living in denial.

Getty image via Berezko

Originally published: December 9, 2020
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