It has always been considered unfeminine to be loud, disagree, and argue. As a little girl, I was taught to be sweet and agreeable. In fact, most women I know were taught to be quiet and not cause conflict. We aren’t supposed to rock the boat and make waves. If I do disagree, there’s the age-old adage where I can “agree to disagree.” From pandemics to human rights, we can’t do this anymore.
I can no longer agree to disagree.
With 3.3 million cases and 135,000 dead in the United States alone, COVID-19 is a seriously deadly pandemic. I’ve deleted entire threads and posts due to others arguing that it’s nothing but a fancier version of the flu. They tout their rights, go on about liberty, and use a gif of “Don’t tread on me.”
Coronavirus is not political. It’s a virus that would just as soon take the life of a conservative than that of a liberal. We need science, not political ads.
So what does science say? Is COVID-19 the same as the flu?
Symptoms are similar, such as fever, body aches, fatigue, vomiting, etc. They’re both respiratory illnesses. Each can be mild and each can be fatal. However, they’re two different viruses.
More importantly, there’s a vaccine for the flu. Upwards of 39,000,000-56,000,000 individuals could contract it and 24,000-62,000 are estimated to die per year in the United States from the flu. 410,000-740,000 are estimated to be hospitalized. That’s a mortality rate of 0.11% or less.
COVID-19, a.k.a. the novel coronavirus, gives us far different numbers. 4.5% to be exact. That’s the percentage of people dying from COVID-19. Nearly 5% of people who contract it could die. That’s over 40 times greater mortality rate than the flu’s. These are real time numbers.
Statistically, my own state of South Carolina has the third worst outbreak numbers in the world. How ridiculous is this? You’d never guess a pandemic was in our midst if you visited our state based on how people are acting.
While a small few socially distance and wear masks, the vast majority flout the rules in favor of their liberty. They confuse inconvenience with oppression, a feat only those with privilege can accomplish.
We are also in the middle of a new Black Lives Matter movement. The same individuals who won’t wear a mask argue that the protests are unpatriotic and blame upticks in cases on the protests, which isn’t the case. The horrific truth is that African-Americans are more likely to pass away from COVID-19. In fact, they are four times more likely to pass away from coronavirus or coronavirus complications. Why?
The locations hit hardest have a higher percentage of black communities. Additionally, they are less likely to have access to adequate healthcare. Black individuals are more likely to have high blood pressure, lung issues, and diabetes. From slavery to Jim Crow laws to desegregation to civil rights protests of the 1960s, the whole of the black community has been under stress from institutional racism. Fighting for your rights and your lives is stressful, to say the very least. This stress is systemic.
As thousands of black men and women die at the hands of police brutality, the Black Lives Matter movement was born. The rebuttal of the privileged is “All Lives Matter” as they discuss every life. Yes, all lives matter, but that includes black lives.
In an argument with my mother, I yelled at her that black lives matter. Her response? “What about the little children dying in the world?” to which I said, “Oh Mom… There are plenty of people who care about the children. But this movement exists because no one has cared about black lives.” I can’t change her mind and I told her I cannot agree to disagree over human rights. The protests are inherently American as we have always marched against injustice. It’s how our country was formed and it’s our First Amendment right.
So, I will no longer be quiet. I can’t agree to disagree. As a wise person once told me, “You cannot have opinions on facts.” Facts are irrefutable. Facts are solid, based in reality.
COVID-19 is a deadly pandemic. Black Lives Matter.
And we can’t politely disagree our way out of our circumstances.