Pandemic shines light on... everything
Power of One
It seems like every 5 minutes there’s new news. So many crazy things are happening globally, and all because of a single unseen virus: COVID-19. But one thing has been made very clear by this pandemic, and it is that equity is a necessity when developing systems and societies. Here is a list that outlines the major issues that have been exacerbated by the coronavirus.
- Everyone knows homelessness is a major issue. What a lot of people fail to realize is that resources for the houseless are severely limited. It’s not as simple as going to the nearest shelter. The worst part about this? All across America we are seeing stories of people experiencing homelessness being sheltered in hotels to help create space and placements. Why couldn’t we shelter people all along?
But one thing has been
made very clear by this
pandemic, and that is
equity is a necessity
systems and societies.
- America has officially become the laughingstock of healthcare. Other countries began urging their citizens to return home, especially if they were in the U.S., in fear of our healthcare systems being underdeveloped in comparison. Thousands of Americans are going without testing or medical treatment due to lack of insurance or limited resources. And here’s the kicker: most essential employees on the frontlines are not offered health insurance. Many businesses hire multiple part-timers just to avoid providing insurance, meaning that most essential employees are the least protected from this virus.
- Ah, corporate America. What isn’t wrong with you? The pandemic didn’t really begin until the stock market crashed at a rate not seen since the Great Depression. If anything, we have been shown the true consequences of trickle-down economics. After losing $1.5 trillion within seconds of a bailout attempt, it seems some have come to the realization that giving money to the 1% does not, in fact, boost the economy. The aftermath of this disaster is still unfolding, and will inevitably create future barriers and struggles. However, I am hopeful that we will learn some hard lessons and make appropriate changes in the future. Maybe all of our essential workers can finally be respected and paid what they deserve.
- Mental health in America is a largescale issue, and this pandemic has caused huge ripples in an already existing public health crisis. Suicide in America has been an epidemic for quite some time. With all the stay at home and lockdown orders nationwide, the National Suicide Hotline is experiencing massive influxes. Maintaining mental health is already difficult in this society. Adding the stress of social distancing and the banning of non-essential activities creates a very unhealthy environment for a lot of Americans. If you experience a crisis, please call the National Suicide Hotline at (800)-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 to speak to someone. Please remember you are not alone, you are loved, and this is only temporary. It gets better.
- Most are experiencing the most lenient form of isolation and are miserable, yet we expect millions of prisoners in America to become rehabilitated by it. This pandemic is showing millions of Americans almost exactly what it’s like to be in prison, but at home, and they are not having it. Isolation is proven to be damaging. Not having access to essential items like toilet paper, soap, and even food creates insecurity, which can then feed criminal behaviors. Inability to go outside, go shopping, or see loved ones is driving people stir-crazy if not causing full-blown mental health crises. For all these reasons and more, imprisonment only creates criminals. We need to completely reevaluate and change our “rehabilitation” systems.
Now, not everything about this pandemic has been completely horrible. As we see mass amounts of depressing news, we’re also seeing a rise in sense of community. To continue this list, here are some of the benefits we have seen. Many things should definitely change in the future, and here’s how.
- Since the global pandemic and mass quarantines, we have seen a lot of businesses and communities step up to help. Amazing educators, administrators, and school districts have been on the frontlines to provide free meals to all school-age children. Some businesses have even stepped in to offer free lunches at their restaurants/stores. Unfortunately, this raises a few concerns for me. If we can provide free lunches and breakfast to all school-aged children during a pandemic, why does school lunch debt even exist, and why are children missing meals because of it? Why was it up to the individual communities and districts to make sure children weren’t going hungry during a time of crisis?
- Accessibility is something that is important when looking through an equity lens. With spikes in work being moved to the home, it begs the question; why were these not options before? How many Americans could have obtained or maintained a job because it was made accessible to them? 12.8% of Americans have a disability, whether it be severe or ‘invisible,’ it’s clear that the societal standard for working is not equitable for those who have a disability. Making a simple change like adding a call-in, email, or video conference options could completely change how accessible and doable the average job is.
- All over the internet we’re seeing pictures of nature and wildlife coming back in droves. Italy is seeing dolphins closer to shore as well as water clear enough to see fish in the canals. China is seeing the sky for the first time in who knows how long because the smog is clearing. Las Vegas is saving so much energy being shut down, you can actually see the color of the sky as the sun sets in the background. This shows exactly how damaging the, “I’m only one person” mentality really is to our environment. Our way of life would not be drastically changed if we were to implement more ethical and environmentally friendly practices.
Although this pandemic is nowhere near its conclusion, we will get through it. We may learn a few things to create a better future. If anything has been made clear from this, it’s that we have a lot of work to do moving forward.