Look, I get it. I was slow to come around as well.
Less than a month ago, I dismissed any suggestion that we would need to shutter our society and curb our economy for any period of time to battle COVID-19. “China and Italy are way over there – leave my Buffalo Wild Wings open,” I said. Just a week and a half ago, I was hoping against hope that my gym wouldn’t close over this. Basically, I have Facebook posts that aren’t even a month old that have already aged as well as a Café Du Monde beignet.
One thing that’s painfully obvious for any of us with working eyes and an internet connection: COVID-19 is here in the United States, knocking shit over in its wake like Godzilla. Worst part is things haven’t even gotten as bad as they’re supposed to get. By March 19, the first day of spring, much of the country was either on a voluntary or involuntary shutdown while shelter-in-place orders roll out daily as state and local governments finally get the hint.
In our collective sadness, frustration, anger and confusion, most of us have been able to get on one accord about one thing: there are too many people who aren’t getting the message that there’s a direct correlation between our behavior and how long this whole thing is going to last.
At this point, we’ve all seen the Gen-Zers on Spring Break in Florida creating a human cootie soupdespite knowing that there’s a good goddamn reason that they’re not going back to class when they get back home.
It’s particularly infuriating to hear these assholes talk about how they won’t let the ‘Rona get in the way of the vacation they’d been planning for so long. I understand that the youth have historically felt more invincible than their grown-up counterparts, but this ain’t the time. Sure enough, their young, virile asses brought the virus back home and are risking killing off grandpa because they couldn’t postpone downing Jagerbombs to shitty Katy Perry records.
I’m sure many of you look at the sea of melanin deficiency on the Florida beach and lay the full blame at the feet of careless white folks exercising generations of privilege. But we’re guilty of the f---ery as well: see the young Black lady in the video above talk about turning up. Or this story about cops breaking up a party last week in Austin,arguably the blackest neighborhood in Chicago.
For a while, many Black folks propagated the woefully misguided idea that we are impervious to COVID-19, which was put to bed for a lot of people by the sobering one-two punch of the NBA and NCAA suspending their seasons and Idris Elba announcing that he too had contracted it. Sistas around the world were prepared to catch a COVID for the cause of caring for bae in case his wife didn’t step up. (By the way, she did and in doing so also contracted it.)
You know how we do—we all have that cousin or friend of a friend who thinks the whole thing is either overblown, a flat-out hoax, or a joint conspiracy between the healthcare industry and the makers of Purell to make a sizable profit off the deaths and misery of billions of people worldwide.
Meanwhile, New York hospitals are running out of supplies. Younger people are contracting the virus and dying from it. Newborns have caught it.Confirmed cases and deaths in Africa have put to bed any suggestion that “we” can’t get it. At this point, you’re probably no more than two degrees removed from someone who has it. And, in water-is-wet news, Black folks are going to suffer a greater economic impact from this than our paler brethren.
If you truly want to know what you should be doing to protect yourself and your loved ones from the virus, there are several respectable resources amid the chaff of misinformation. Listen to Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the country’s leading immunologists, whom your President has essentially silenced because his message is more sobering than the Candy Land rhetoric coming from the Oval Office. Listen to former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb, who’s telling us that a month to a six-week shutdown is what we really need to get through this.
Do NOT listen to your cousin who, armed with the boundless wisdom obtained from his Associate’s degree, will convince you that boiling ginger and yams in vodka and inhaling the fumes will make you immune to the virus. Don’t pay attention to any tweets or posts that would suggest you don’t distance yourself socially from other people. Above all else, don’t listen to the shit that Donald Trump is spewing.
Just do what you can to stay sane in these uncertain times – there is so much at your disposal if you have an internet connection – as long as it involves staying away from people. It’s very simple stuff, and it could make the difference between us getting some semblance of a Hot Girl Spring or being stuck indoors for a Syndrome Summer.
It’s entirely up to y’all.
Dustin J. Seibert is a native Detroiter living in Chicago. Miraculously, people have paid him to be aggressively light-skinned via a computer keyboard for nearly two decades. He loves his own mama slightly more than he loves music and exercises every day only so his French fry intake doesn’t catch up to him. Find him at wafflecolored.com.
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