The Real Issue With Going Out During a Pandemic


Tatiana Joseph-Saunders, Culture Editor

One thing that has baffled me as a 21+ college student these past couple of months, is how clueless some of my peers are about the consequences of not caring. As I look at Georgia’s hospitals fill up, with the ICU’s being at 93% capacity, the state is still categorized as one having  ‘Severe Outbreak’ (COVID ActNow)- it’s stunning to me how many students simply do not care.

No, the biggest worry on your mind if you are a healthy, young student should not be that you may get COVID-19 and die (even though this HAS happened and is NOT rare anymore), the thing on your mind is that a simple night out to you could mean the loss of life for someone you interact with on your way to classes, or in the grocery store. The thing on your mind should be that if you were to get into a car accident and have a severe, time-sensitive injury, the nearest hospital could not have any more beds. The thing on your mind should be why does something have to directly, negatively, or traumatically affect you before you start to care?

I like to think that maybe it is the American tendency in everyone, how the familial and neighborly values we see in other countries but not in our own, would hopefully trigger some form of empathy or consideration for others. Or, maybe that’s just an easy excuse. Maybe I am just looking for a reason why people suck, my peers and friends included.

I would start with sharing national, even global statistics, one detailing how there have been 396,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19, but I honestly think those depressing numbers may not be effective in convincing you not to go to Blue Room in the middle of a pandemic, especially with no inefficient vaccine rollout currently in place in the US. 

In Georgia, there have been almost 12,000 (The New York Times) COVID deaths, with Fulton County being the area with the most at 867. 

One aspect of the pandemic that took me a while to fully understand was how the pandemic is overwhelming hospitals. A look at some of the headlines within the past week would give a quick look at what hospitals are facing right now. “With Georgia’s ICU beds full, rural hospitals say they have nowhere to transfer their critical patients” from FOX 5 Atlanta, “Georgia hospitals feel the strain of COVID surge, expect it to continue” from Now Habersham, “Georgia climbs to 4th nationally in COVID-19 hospitalizations, White House says” from the Altanta Journal Constitution, and more.

It’s easy to forget that hospitals and other emergency caretakers are not only dealing with patients that have COVID. These hospitals that are getting more and more fill have to treat, operate and care for tons of people even if they weren’t fighting through a pandemic. One look at social media, and you can see real life stories from people who have lost loved ones because they were turned away from a hospital only to die from something a surgery could have stopped. 

I could go on and on about why I think you should do this and shouldn’t do that, why I think you should stay here and not go there, but it all comes down to you. What needs to happen for people to start changing the behavior for the greater good?