|Making Sacrifices under COVID-19
by Jamala Rogers
I am starting to feel some kind of way about the reckless public behavior I’ve witnessed up to and during the holiday weekend. Before the mandated
stay-at-home order, I voluntarily made the decision to work from home. I’ve been religiously staying home, refraining from hugging, wearing my
mask, and maintaining social distancing when I absolutely must go out. I’m doing my part to stay safe and keep others safe. But those other selfish
I see the angry, defiant white folks who are carrying out trumpism and pushing their individualistic agenda on everyone else. They are tired of being
in the house. They want to go to the beach. They want to go back to work.
The front page of the New York Times reminded us about the sobering numbers of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. The incompetence of trump
slowed an effective response to the pandemic while the greed of his corporate buddies has forced a hasty re-opening of the economy. Profits over
people, dead people.
A report coming out of Columbia University delivered news that’s
hardly surprising to those of us who’ve watched how this virus
unfolded in the U.S. Researchers conclude that if this country had
enacted decisive, safety measures consistent with a pandemic in
early March, about 36,000 American lives could’ve been saved.
Had those measures been put in place even two weeks before
that, only half of the lives would’ve been lost. The point is that
minimal lives would’ve been lost had timely measures been
Take the approach of New Zealand. The prime minister — who
happens to be a woman —moved an aggressive plan to stop the
virus when it registered its first case in late March. Prime Minister
Jacinda Arden’s actions have received international attention as a
model and even praise from the World Health Organization.
Arden immediately shut down the country except for essential
services. While educating citizens about the virus and their role in
combatting it, testing and contact tracing were in full swing.
Workers received twelve weeks of relief payments while out of
work and other supports. New Zealanders generally respected
the stay-home orders. Right now, the country has successfully
reduced its new cases to just a few. I’m impressed.
There have many stories of courage and sacrifice in the face of
COVID-19. Our frontline workers, students, teachers, parents,
essential workers — all have inspired us with their sacrifices. Yet
a few noisy people appear to have dictated policies that will be
harmful for the whole nation. These are people who exercise their
white privileges, literally demanding they have the right to be
infected and infect others. We must be better than putting others
in peril for the sake of a sunbath or a buck.
Fair-minded societal transformers like you and me must start
now on a visioning a world after COVID-19. Racial disparities
have been illuminated. Class divisions have been exposed.
Hatred of the “other” is running rampant. Putting this pandemic in
our collective rear view mirror is going to be a protracted journey.
We can forge a new path going forward that is more inclusive and
humane. Our human sacrifices cannot be in vain.