Social distancing is a privilege

In hospitals across the country, there are thousands of healthcare workers working day and night to take care of patients afflicted with COVID-19. Their tireless work is crucial to “flattening the curve,” and their treatment of patients ensures that more vulnerable populations are not vastly harmed by the coronavirus.

Healthcare workers are the foundation of society at this point in the pandemic, and protecting their ability to keep patients alive is essential if we want to minimize the deadly toll that the coronavirus could take on our world.

Social distancing is the foundation of this goal.

Social distancing is how we, as citizens who are not burdened with very dangerous work right now, do our part in slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Healthcare workers are in a position where they are putting their own lives at risk every day. We should be responsible citizens by respecting guidelines for social distancing rather than hanging out with friends.

Over the past few weeks, students have posted photos of them hanging out with friends and a few have even chosen to travel to international destinations. Taking advantage of cheap flights and choosing to go to your friend’s house is beyond selfish at this point, and we should all be taking this pandemic more seriously than we are right now.

Obviously, this situation is frustrating for everyone. It’s not enjoyable to spend over a month quarantined with just family and not being able to see friends every day, like we would normally. But this is not a normal time. 

Social distancing is a privilege precisely because most of us, as students, don’t have jobs that require us to interact with the broader population on a daily basis, much less jobs that require us to interact with people infected with the coronavirus.

Social distancing is a privilege because we have the luxury of keeping ourselves safe, the luxury of spending time at home. It’s strange not being able to go to school or go out to eat with friends, but healthcare workers do not have the privilege of being able to protect themselves. They are consistently putting themselves in harm’s way to protect us, and we should be a little less selfish for them.

 So, yes, it makes us all sad that we probably won’t have prom or a graduation ceremony or any more AcLabs sitting in the library with friends. It makes us all sad that every time we venture outside the home, we feel restricted in where we can go and who we can see. These are extreme circumstances, for sure.

But the sooner we all take this seriously and understand that social distancing is a luxury not afforded to everyone, the sooner we can return to the rhythms of our daily lives.