Dr. Martin Luther King Jr once said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death.” We have vaccine mandates, human defiance by not following rules, mass protests globally, and rise in violence, so now where do we go from here? There are ongoing debates concerning the right to choose versus the urgency to address a world health emergency and end a pandemic. Where do we go from here? According to Dr. King’s quote, one can argue that we are the very perpetrators of our own demise or at least actively contributing to it now by not following medical guidance when it comes to this pandemic particularly in communities of color.
This post is not for me to preach. My stance has not changed. I am not resentful or bitter against people who decide not to get vaccinated. I am somewhat indifferent or perhaps a better word is disappointed. My disappointment stems from the lack of unity among humanity and the ability to come together in light of this horrific pandemic. It is not my place to influence anyone one way or the other, however, I feel it is my duty to encourage people to educate themselves so that they can make a well informed decision that is best for them and their community as a whole. I truly believe if everyone across the globe looked through the lens of this pandemic strictly as humans who all bleed the same we would be in a different place. A lens that shows us as all equal, all caring about each other's wellness and safety. A lens through which all individual biases are set aside and all humanity would unite together for one common threat of the unrelenting and devastating COVID-19 virus.
COVID-19 doesn't care about race, religion, sexual preference, politics or economics. It is a vicious disease that attacks at will and without discrimination. Yes studies show those most vulnerable and at risk are our world's elderly, immunocompromised, and those with underlying health conditions. However, perfectly healthy people have continued to suffer staggering long term effects from COVID-19 and have died. People of color have been disproportionately impacted as studies show the profound impact COVID-19 has had on Black, Latino, and the Native American communities. The reasons given are pre-existing health conditions which I am so tired of hearing since we did not create those conditions. The very same pre-existing health conditions help to shed light on the disparities and barriers in achieving healthy outcomes for minorities. Make no mistake, this is a pandemic that impacts us all.
Ignoring or denying this virus will not make it go away. Naively believing things can go back exactly to normal is also misleading. One of Marvel comics’ most formidable villains ,Thanos said it best in the film Endgame, “As long as there are those that remember what was, there will always be those that are unable to accept what can be. They will resist.” Thus meaning, there are some in society that are hell bent on believing that things will go back to normal. This is not the case. This novel virus has forever changed how we move forward as humanity, like it or not. Failure to realize this, embrace it and come to terms with it is far more dangerous than the next time this occurs. Accepting the new reality and arming ourselves with as much knowledge and preparedness as we can will allow us to be ready for the next pandemic or worldwide catastrophe. Not coming to terms with the reality that we can continue to live and thrive just with extra safety precautions such as masking up or taking a vaccine represent those that long for days past that we cannot go back to. Yes we all remember what it was like to be in huge crowds or riding a crowded subway. Those activities can come back but not without additional safety measures.
It is time for us all to dig deep and figure out how we will navigate the new world post pandemic or living with a disease that will become endemic and accepting that we all had the ability to prevent it by just agreeing to take care of each other. Will your place in world history be as a unifier or divider? Making a selfish decision now to ignore science and facts and not take this virus seriously can have repercussions for all humanity.