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Stop acting like coronavirus deaths don’t matter

Thomas Maye

Opinions Editor

Someone I followed on Instagram wrote under his #europetravel post he was grateful for coronavirus because it meant he could take photos of the cherry blossoms in Budapest away from other tourists.

He was less interested in talking about the more than 15,000 people around the world who have died thus far from the illness.

“So what? More people have died from the flu and hunger,” he commented, with a half-hearted blurb about how staying home can help the environment – despite bragging about taking more than five flights in one month on his Instagram story less than half a year ago.

This particular example of insensitivity is a bit extreme – but closer to home, I’ve noticed the same attitude of selfish individuals valuing personal convenience over public health happen again and again.

Social distancing doesn’t matter to these people because they aren’t elderly or immunocompromised themselves.

Never mind the elderly or immunocompromised people who could very well face serious health complications or die from exposure to the virus.

When talking to them about it, critics always spout the vaguely conspiratorial suggestion that the media is blowing the issue out of proportion – and always with the same inaccurate, copy-and-pasted statement that far more people have died from seasonal Eu outbreaks.

The CDC and WHO have both stated that proportionately, novel coronavirus is more dangerous than the flu.

And so, it’s completely reckless to act as though the fact more people have died from the flu means that ignoring thousands of deaths, from a disease with no vaccine, is acceptable.

More people have died in the past from the flu than novel coronavirus – but as far as current research shows, novel coronavirus also didn’t exist less than one year ago.

But more importantly, consider the privilege and entitlement that goes into statements such as that coronavirus is just a case of media hysteria – more importantly, the insinuation that those thousands of coronavirus deaths aren’t important because these critics aren’t part of a population with heightened vulnerability to the virus.

Just because someone doesn’t personally have to think about being exposed to pathogens doesn’t mean it isn’t still important to take precautions to protect our communities.

And maybe it is inconvenient that many of these critics can’t go to the bar or out shopping just because they feel mildly sick.

But a family member needing to buy a suit for a funeral because of someone’s irresponsible actions sounds like much more of a hassle to me.

Stop acting like coronavirus deaths don’t matter.

This isn’t the time for selfish behavior.

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