Americans Entitlement Is Causing the Pandemic to Last Longer

Quetzalcoatl Dalupan, Staff Writer

The COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging the world and leaders are trying to slow the spread as much as possible. Despite this, American entitlement prevents any proper measures from taking place.

As of the date of publishing the COVID-19 pandemic has hit a decline after hitting a record breaking peak according to NYtimes. First starting in January of 2020 and being expected to last a month at most, to lasting over a dozen times longer. There is one main cause to this extension of “quarantine,” and that is American entitlement. Entitlement is the feeling you are owed something or have the right to do something even if you are not in the right to claim that privilege or object.

There are endless examples of people’s feelings being considered over other’s lives, the most infamous being the “anti-mask” crowd who have been so verbal about their distaste for safety equipment over the last few years. People who are against masks or mask mandates are often those who lack empathy. There are two main arguments that people tend to use when arguing against masks. First, they are against the freedom of the people, and second, they are unconstitutional.

When observing websites like Vox wherein an interviewer talks to many people who identify as ‘anti-mask’ there is a theme amongst the answers of those who oppose basic safety measures, which is a lack of caring for people who are affected that are not directly related to the interviewed. Early in the article, the topic of empathy comes up in reference to those who have directly lost someone to COVID-19: “Death is happening in these wards where even family members can’t visit their loved ones when they’re sick with COVID-19, so the death and the severity of this disease are really invisible to the public,” said Kumi Smith, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota who studies infectious diseases.” Even while the U.S. has over 900,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic according to NYtimes, people are still unable to comprehend how serious the pandemic is. The U.S is the leading country in COVID-19 cases, more than the second and third most combined according to NYtimes which shows that India and Brazil have a combined 71.7 million total cases as of the date of publishing while the U.S. has over 79 million cases alone. India alone has over 1.3 billion people according to WorldBank in comparison to the U.S’ 329 million but only over half our current COVID-19 cases. Despite this, Americans have let their own entitlement lead to the extension of the pandemic.

An anti-maskers favorite phrase to use is, “It’s against my freedom!” according to Vox where an interviewed woman who was asked what her point about being anti-mask was states: “My point is freedom. You do not tell us what to do with our faces,” Bagheri replied. Anti-mask sentiment likely has influenced the decisions of the CDC, who are considering reducing safety measures as COVID-19 cases are on the downfall rather than rising for once. According to Businessinsider: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering changes to its mask policy as the pandemic in the US improves,” said Director Rochelle Walensky. “We want to give people a break from things like mask-wearing when these metrics are better.” While yes, masks are something you may be forced to wear, so are clothes, and seatbelts. Many safety procedures are government mandated, so what makes masks so different?

Finally, American entitlement is causing the pandemic to last longer as there is the argument that masks are downright unconstitutional. As to why she believes she is exempt from the rules, one woman on Vox, Jacqueline cited the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: “No states are allowed to make laws that take our freedoms and liberties away,” she said.” Whilst the constitution does state that “no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” According to lawcornell, mask mandates are not a new thing. During the 1918 spanish flu pandemic, according to NYtimes; “By the fall of 1918, seven cities — San Francisco, Seattle, Oakland, Sacramento, Denver, Indianapolis and Pasadena, Calif. — had put in effect mandatory face mask laws” said Dr. Howard Markel, a historian of epidemics and the author of “Quarantine!” In other words, mask mandates are not unconstitutional, have happened before, and are completely and entirely legal to make happen again.