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PSA: Don’t Think You’re Invincible and Wear Your Mask

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COVID-19, a pandemic that knows no bounds, has no cure and continues to disproportionately impact communities of color and low socioeconomic status, has yet to slow its spread. With the American unemployment rate at 13.3%, it is imperative that businesses reopen to stimulate both the national and global economy.[1] However, State’s reopening plans have come at a cost and it is up to you to decide whether it has been worth the risk. Even now, States such as Texas, Florida, and Arizona have seen spikes in the number of cases just this week.[2] [3]

Traditionally affecting the elderly at higher rates, COVID-19 was initially thought to be a virus that youths were unlikely to contract unless they had a pre-existing medical condition, especially ones related to the respiratory system. Now, that has changed. With recent “stay at home order protests”, like those seen in Austin, Texas[4] where protestors refused to abide by recommended COVID-19 guidelines and a refusal by many Americans to wear their masks[5], COVID-19 has continued to spread and has found a new target: citizens ages 20-30. The Millennials, Generations Y and Z, have culturally been positively labeled as the generation that is not afraid to “go against the grain”, set new standards, and be entrepreneurs, while also balancing negative labels such as “fame-hungry”, impatient, and entitled.

But overall, I think we see ourselves as citizens who are social-impact minded, conscious-forward, and not afraid to speak up for what is right and just. We are the face of the new generation, yet we are plagued by so many poor decisions of our forefathers: institutions that thrive off of systemic racism and the hyper-criminalization of communities of color[6], lack of environmental justice and sustainability[7], and an education system that was built to empower private parties and teach century-old fallacies of what “Makes America great”.[8]

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But despite our self-proclaimed yearn to be the trailblazers of the generation, Generation Y and Z’s invincibility complex is undermined as we now, at increasing rates are more exposed to and susceptible to contracting COVID-19.[9]  With the recent spikes in cases, States have begun to slow their re-opening plans. Interestingly enough, states such as Texas (TX), despite various citizens both young and old protesting against stay at home orders in May are scaling back their re-opening efforts. TX Governor Greg Abbot has given a public statement indicating that TX will temporarily “pause” future reopening of its economy as TX is now facing a “massive outbreak” of COVID-19.[10] Texas is not the only state that is rethinking its re-opening plans as North Carolina, Louisiana, and Oregon has also paused their reopening.[11]

As members of the entertainment community, it is imperative that we stay abreast of the news and data surrounding COVID-19. We need to understand the latest trends and protocols on how to mitigate the spread of infection, especially if production companies have resumed filming and would like to continue to do so. But our duty goes beyond protecting those that we work with. It is imperative that we, as American citizens, protect not just ourselves but those around us by abiding COVID-19 protocol. Please, wash your hands, wear a mask, and quarantine yourself if necessary. Stop the spread now, so we do not have to mitigate the risk later.

[1] U.S. Department of Labor, The Employment Situation – May 2020 (Jun. 5, 2020), https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf.

[2] Stephanie Adeline, Tracking The Pandemic: Are Coronavirus Cases Rising or Falling In Your State?, National Public Radio (Jun. 25, 2020),  https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/03/16/816707182/map-tracking-the-spread-of-the-coronavirus-in-the-u-s#map.

[3] Idhttps://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/03/16/816707182/map-tracking-the-spread-of-the-coronavirus-in-the-u-s#map.

[4] Julie Boseman, Why These Protestors Aren’t Staying Home for Coronavirus Orders, The New York Times (April 23, 2020),  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/23/us/coronavirus-protesters.html.

[5] Julia Marcus, The Dudes Who Won’t Wear Masks, The Atlantic (Jun. 23, 2020), https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/06/dudes-who-wont-wear-masks/613375/.

[6] Rod K. Brunson, Protests focus on over-policing. But under-policing is also deadly, The Washington Post (Jun, 12, 2020), https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/underpolicing-cities-violent-crime/2020/06/12/b5d1fd26-ac0c-11ea-9063-e69bd6520940_story.html.

[7] OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Consequences of Inaction – Key Facts and Figures, OECD.org, https://www.oecd.org/env/indicators-modelling-outlooks/oecdenvironmentaloutlookto2050theconsequencesofinaction-keyfactsandfigures.htm (last visited Jun. 25, 2020).

[8] Diane Ravitch, The Education Reform Movement Has Failed America. We Need Common Sense Solutions That Work, TIME (Feb. 1, 2020), https://time.com/5775795/education-reform-failed-america/.

[9] Provisional Death Counts for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Jun. 24, 2020), https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm#StateCountyData.

[10] Laurel Wamsley, Texas Governor Hits ‘Pause’ On Further Reopening Amid COVID-19 Surge, National Public Radio (Jun. 25, 2020), https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/06/25/883311877/texas-governor-hits-pause-on-further-reopening-amid-covid-19-surge.

[11] Rachel Treisman, With COVID-19 Cases Rising, States Slow Their Reopening, National Public Radio (Jun. 24, 2020), https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/06/24/883146846/with-covid-19-cases-rising-some-states-slow-their-reopening-plans.

 

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Eryn L. Pollard, is a second-year law student at Notre Dame Law School and is the secretary of the Black Law Students Association.