A little part of me is secretly jealous of those who attend parties and go out to clubs and large gatherings while COVID-19 still attacks our communities. It must be so mentally liberating to not care about members of society more vulnerable than yourself – to not be bothered about the cashier at Checkers that has to touch everything you picked off the shelves, who fears for the safety of her ageing parents that she cares for, the Uber driver who has pre-existing health complications yet drives you around risking his life because he needs the income to survive, or to have heard of infected nurses and doctors who have died or become severely ill trying to treat and comfort those who die alone in our crowded hospitals, and still NOT FEEL A THING.
It must be wonderful, not having to acknowledge that you are part of the reason that there are people whose bodies cannot fight off this virus who will DIE because a party was more important to you than somebody’s life. It must be an amazing feeling that it’s just other people that have had to bury their parents without getting to say goodbye or giving them a proper funeral, and not lucky you.
COVID-19 has really shown us the parts of society that have always been taught that their lives are more important than the lives of others, that there are people who live among us who would easily sacrifice their elderly family members to have a little bit of fun, that there is a culture of selfishness, greed and entitlement that runs through our society.
To argue that you don’t believe that the virus is serious enough to put your life on hold for is a lie you tell yourself so that you don’t have to accept any responsibility for what is going on. To quote a low death rate means that you refuse to acknowledge the thousands of people who have died from a largely preventable condition, including hospital workers who have had no choice but to put their lives at risk to try to save those that people like you have willingly infected with your reckless behaviour. It means that full hospitals and staff shortages in hospitals mean nothing to you, because you will most likely not be that person who dies waiting for treatment at an Eastern Cape government hospital because there isn’t a bed available for you.
Yes, it is a difficult time for everybody and we are all looking for some means to escape, but wearing a mask, social distancing and washing your hands regularly should not be incredibly difficult tasks for someone brought up with a decent level of discipline and consideration for others. There are people in this country who have not seen their own parents since the beginning of this year and won’t be spending Christmas with their families, only to keep them safe.
Not just COVID-19, but many of the problems with our society can be eradicated by individuals making an effort to care about others. People need to cultivate more kindness and selflessness and inspire these values in their children. Imagine if South African drivers were calmer and more considerate on the road rather than aggressive and indifferent to traffic laws? How many lives would be saved? Imagine if the corrupt politicians who squandered our COVID relief funds felt some sympathy towards those left jobless and starving through the pandemic? Millions of people could have been housed and fed. It is unfortunate that people like these look at kindness as weakness, and this alone, is a sickness that our society needs to rid itself of.
Being willing to sacrifice small comforts and privileges for the wellbeing of society is a sign of maturity, strength and courage. Moaning about having your rights taken away when being asked to wear a mask or stay at home indicates a spoilt child. None of these measures is 100 % effective, however they significantly reduce the spread of infection. Taking any precaution we can in order to protect those around us is the least we can do in our present situation, to show some humanity in a crisis that has taken lives and livelihoods away from many of our people.