By Sofia Netto || Copy Editor
Approximately one year ago, the COVID-19 virus was all over the news. No one knew exactly what it was, how it spread, and the damage it could cause. One year later, we do still have questions, but we now have many more answers. What many thought was ‘just the flu’ turned out to be one of the worst pandemics in human history: according to the World Health Organization, there have been more than 125 million cases and almost 3 million deaths around the world. In the United States, more than 540 thousand people have died. When I look back to how everything happened, I can only ask: Couldn’t we have dealt with the situation in a better way? Could we have avoided all of those deaths? What is the lesson to be learned from the pandemic?
Many countries took a long time to finally acknowledge the danger of COVID-19, which was, perhaps, one their biggest mistakes. Even the World Health Organization’s recommendations to countries on basic precautions, such as mask wearing and social distancing, many world leaders chose to ignore. Today, the lack of social distancing, wearing masks, and using hand sanitizers is dangerous.
I used to think elders were what was holding us back because some refused to follow WHO guidelines and instead chose to believe political leaders with no background in the health field. But now, I see that teenagers and young adults are the biggest problem. Even with more and more people dying every day, some young people just don’t seem to realize how their behavior can contribute to our generation being a failure when handling the pandemic.
For example, many don’t believe the disease will affect them, and because of that, they ignore basic health recommendations. In Miami, for example, there were huge crowds during Spring Break, a time students had a choice of contributing or not to the number of deaths in the United States. While For some of us, that choice seemed pretty obvious, the pictures of Miami show us that many might not have thought the same.
One year after COVID first started showing how deadly it could be, we continue to make stupid choices that could harm more than just ourselves. And that is not a problem that exists only in the United States: In Brazil, where I am from, beaches are crowded and parties continue on even with more than 300 thousand deaths due to COVID-19, according to WHO. The lesson we need to learn is that we can’t trust people to follow basic procedures, even in a world health crisis. I can’t stop thinking that in future history classes, students will think how stupid we were because of the way we handled this situation…
But not everything is bad. We saw humanity rush against time to create solutions to live amidst the virus, develop vaccines, and try to discover more and more information about the virus. We not only saw one vaccine being developed, but many. We saw our family members get the shots and feel safer. We learned how science needs to be trusted from the beginning and what a good government plan could do to an entire population from watching both bad and good consequences. We saw how dangerous some speeches could potentially be. Some might have lost faith in humanity in the process, but I feel the opposite. I trust our future selves to tell the story of this horrible period to make future generations learn: learn from our stupid mistakes and be better than us.
First-year Sofia Netto is a copy editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.