Musa Faraha is an anthropology and geology and microbiology freshman and Mustang News columnist. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mustang News.
I don’t know about you, but my life during the coronavirus pandemic has consisted of lounging around in pajamas, waiting for Zoom calls and completing online assignments. With California’s stay at home order, I’ve been stuck inside using Snapchat to check in with friends.
California’s stay at home order calls for all residents to avoid unnecessary social interactions and gatherings in order to avoid the virus. Residents should only leave their homes for essential items such as food or medical care. Those who go outside are expected to keep a distance of six feet from one another, with some counties now requiring masks when going outside.
While most people are following these rules to a T, others are a different story.
The Snapchat stories of my peers display a disturbing trend. These stories are full of shared car rides, hiking excursions and friends reuniting with home visits under the guise of dropping essential items off; all without keeping the required six-feet distance or wearing masks.
These attitudes have spread into Cal Poly Facebook pages like Cal Poly Rideshare, where students in need of a ride are connected with students offering a ride in exchange for gas money and company. With the stay-at-home order, it would be fair to assume that people would stop offering rides in fear of catching and spreading Coronavirus – yet that isn’t happening. The Rideshare page is full of new, daily offers for rides to and from San Luis Obispo.
I understand the desire to get back to San Luis Obispo; so many of us left abruptly. Most of our belongings are still there. Many upperclassmen are still being held accountable for rent on apartments and houses they stopped inhabiting in March for the rest of the quarter.
However, I am still shocked by these acts of carelessness. I question why so many people would risk their lives and those of others for some company on a drive. Yet the answer may be simple.
Most of my peers believe that this disease only kills the elderly, with some even flippantly calling it the “Boomer Remover.” Even those who believe this disease has the potential to inflict death on the young also think that to die, one must have underlying health conditions.
Yet reports show otherwise. There are teenagers and adults who are seemingly healthy, with no prior health problems, dying from this disease — some even suffering from blood clots and strokes (connected to the disease) at a higher rate than the elderly.
In April, the BBC reported a 21-year old woman with no underlying health conditions died after contracting the virus.
The Washington Post has also reported the case of a man who had no history of chronic conditions, no medications, etc., but who suffered a stroke later connected to COVID-19.
“The man was among several recent stroke patients in their 30s to 40s who were all infected with the coronavirus,” national reporter Ariana Eunjung Cha wrote. “The median age for that type of severe stroke is 74.”
Even if this virus was solely targeting the older generations, the apathy is not warranted. What makes a younger life more important than an older life? What do the young have that makes them more worthy, more deserving to live than the old?
Just because you are older, does not necessarily mean you are closer to death or deserve to die.
It is as if people are choosing who is worthy of mourning based on something so trivial as age. This dehumanizes our elderly and erases the need for their wisdom. It also encourages younger generations to ignore precautionary measures to avoid catching or spreading COVID-19 — this is seen in our community with the continued use of Rideshare.
As people continue to break their quarantine and use Rideshare, they seem to be placing more importance on a couple of hours of companionship than on stopping the spread of this deadly virus.
Many of us miss the lives we led in San Luis Obispo and want things to get back to normal as quickly as possible. Yet so long as some of us continue to violate the stay at home order, we are prolonging the time we will be stuck in quarantine. This trend of ignoring important precautionary measures has the possibility of infecting more people.
If you want the world to go back to any semblance of normalcy, simply follow the rules of stay-at-home orders.