At this point, a year into the Covid-19 pandemic, we can say it has been both bad and good for the world and individuals. Truly, with a pause, you can easily see the negatives, but you will see the positives too.
Some people take the virus seriously, taking all of the necessary precautions for themselves and others. On the other hand, everyday and everywhere we find a surprising number of people, even within our own families, disregarding the pandemic’s seriousness. They take negligence in following preventive precautions: many of us don’t wear a mask, do not respect the safety distance, we even continue to shake hands and embrace.
There are even large gatherings of people, including weddings! Of course life goes on, but to be so heedless on such a beautiful day is shocking.
I can’t doubt that with all the government, influencer and grassroots efforts to educate people, most must understand the seriousness of the matter for themselves, their family, friends and all of the people around them. The question here is:
Why are young people careless about the situation?
This is not an easy issue to analyze, but let’s look at it from some general perspectives. Firstly, do young people have respect for the law? Well, many people, young and old, do not respect the stop sign on the road unless we see a traffic enforcer. Some laws are just seemingly inconvenient and so easy to break. But perhaps this is a different issue.
What you taught us
In our world, we young people have expressions that are often repeated to us, such as “Everyone is equal before the law” and “No one is above the law.” We know perfectly well that they are just empty slogans, far from the truth and reality.
In reality, what we see is that the laws are applied to the poor. The laws are frequently impotent when it comes to officials and the owners of money and power. A reality like this settles deeply in the minds and awareness of young people.
We develop a conviction that adhering to the laws and following the instructions of the state is like a kind of weakness and subservience. Escaping from the law is a kind of intelligence, and it may even be a small act of revenge. Therefore, we find many young people do not wear the mask and do not respect the safety distance.
Youth loyalty (or lack of) to the country seems like a plausibility. And their excuse is that the country obviously doesn’t care about them. It is not working hard enough to improve youths’ conditions and create job opportunities. On the contrary, you find widespread unemployment, drugs and other addictions, mental health problems and even increasing rates of suicide. There’s another possibility to why youth don’t care more about the pandemic.
It can be an ethical problem, resulting from poor parenting. Our parents either don’t have the time, resources or concern to inform and pester us about the seriousness of taking precaution. No time because they are so busy working? Lacking resources because their own education was so poor? No concern because they are already overwhelmed in their own problems they don’t see the government helping with? Intergenerational poverty and trauma are real and a pandemic in themselves.
Finally, with regard to the Corona virus specifically, a large group believes that it is just a lie. They believe that it isn’t as severe and dangerous as it is described, and that what is being promoted is exaggerated. They refuse to be suckered into further misinformation and propaganda.
As a young person myself, I can see that at first we took it seriously, panicking about the virus. We followed the reports of large numbers of patients dying every day and fearfully watched the number of deaths increasing. We lived under a comprehensive quarantine. No doubt everyone was afraid. And we took all precautions.
But after the quarantine was eased, and the enforcers left, the danger began to shrink in our minds. We began to be more daring, as is the nature and even a benefit of youth. I regularly put the mask on and then removed it after a short time, claiming that it suffocated me. Saying “I never got used to wearing it,” is another popular excuse for myself and others.
I resisted shaking hands at first, briefly being content with just giving the salam. But I missed it. My friends and loved ones are those who truy nurture and care about me. We started shaking hands and embracing again. Recently, we, young people, no longer care about the virus. Our lives feel close to normal, global pandemic or not.