Harper Voices: Listen up Social Distancing Rebels: You’re causing more harm than you believe to your many vulnerable neighbors, and here’s why.


Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

The question that you must ask yourself continues to be: is your need to meet with your buds for a few beers, have a group bonfire in the backyard, or far worse: as reported by TMZ, “throw a house party on the West Side of Chicago with over 1,000 guests”, more important than potentially flattening the infection rate and saving countless lives? 


These are some concrete examples of how the social distancing regulations that have been set in the majority of the 50 states have been broken in the name of fun and pleasure. While some of these instances are more careless and mainstream than others, any of the aforementioned activities can have a fatal effect on the lives of hundreds of vulnerable people.  


With the temperatures in much of the United States rising as the approach of the Summer Solstice nears, the anticipation to leave the home and be social beings is beginning to filter down to the minds of the past dedicated social distancers, despite their tremendous efforts in the past three months to help the cause. 


Now, not only you: the devout Social Distancing Rebels, but also your tentative  followers who are growing restless, are beginning to follow suit which could funnel into a dangerous situation for the more vulnerable populations such as those affected by autoimmune, cardiovascular, respiratory and other pre existing health conditions. 


One specific population that will continue to be affected severely by the antsiness of a few Social Distancing Rebels is the population of Diabetics in America. According to the CDC, “Over 100 million Americans are now living with Diabetes or pre-diabetes” making up “9.4 percent” of the entire population of the United States. 


Why is this well known statistic important? Unfortunately, the Diabetic and pre-diabetic population has been decimated by the Covid-19 outbreak both at home and abroad. According to Sarah Soto, NP, CDC for The Alpine Center for Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism, “damage to the circulatory system” which is experienced by Diabetic patients when battling the Coronavirus, significantly “slows the healing process of the body and can make fighting off infection more difficult due to lack of blood flow” to needed areas for healing. The CDC also added that both “Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetics in China, saw much more serious complications due to the virus than their non diabetic counterparts”. 


With the population of Diabetics in America being so high, it is vital that social distancing be followed to the greatest extent to not only decrease the chances of the spread of Covid-19 in the vulnerable populations but also American citizens in general. 


Now we come to the commonly debated issue that has arisen in the midst of the tragic Coronavirus pandemic outbreak: If I am young and don’t have pre-existing health conditions, why can’t I meet with other young and healthy people? This question is valid in regards to the thought process of logical minded citizens. If I am low risk and others are low risk, surely meeting together will cause no harm. 


This belief however, is a dangerous one, and is a cause for concern because what these Social Distancing Rebels don’t realize is that while their personal risk is low, their chances of spreading the strain to vulnerable populations such as the elderly after touching items in the grocery store, or even touching a door handle at an essential business, are still extremely high with the contagion if you are not wearing a mask. 


In addition, despite the common belief that young and healthy people cannot get Covid-19, this assumption is false and also is extremely dangerous. This is supported in the CDC’s recording of the first 508 Americans hospitalized for Covid-19 in America, “38%, nearly half of the hospitalizations were those of ages 20 to 54” despite the preconceived notion that only the elderly and those struggling with other health battles were at risk.


Statistics to tell you that this virus doesn’t discriminate against simply the elderly as well as populations with pre-existing health conditions shouldn’t be what keeps people off of the streets, however. Common decency and pride as Americans, to get back to the social environment that we all love, the right way, while saving the most lives as humanly possible, should be the greatest motivator.


Ignorance towards the guidelines that have been set in place is not an excuse either. It is not acceptable to say: “I didn’t know” or  “I wasn’t given the proper information” or “My friends and I didn’t think we would hurt anybody” any longer. After enduring the economic, academic, and fiscal impact that the Coronavirus pandemic has brought to all people across the globe, it is no longer justifiable to be in the dark about how a self-centered act such such as a large gathering at a birthday party for teenage friends can have a catastrophic ripple effect, in terms of contagiousness, to many of your vulnerable neighbors and loved ones. 


It is the time for you: the Social Distancing Rebels, to take the epidemiological proof to heart. By doing your part, and starting to be selfless, you can save lives and help the return to the social world that everyone is desiring will be back more quickly than we realize. 


The next time you are feeling isolated, lonely, or suffering from cabin fever, remember that this time will pass and that by holding up in the fight against this virus, the world that we open up to will be a much happier place than if the fight is given up on too soon. Please, Social Distancing Rebels. Do the right thing and save someone you care about. There are more people who this virus has complete power over than you know.


Sincerely, A life that can be saved.