Party or Pandemic?

By Audrey Ligier

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many people throughout the world to quarantine in their houses and isolate themselves from their friends, family, and the outside world. New Orleans has and will always be a social town with its culture, festivals, music, crawfish boils, and our beloved Mardi Gras. As the virus has taken the lives of so many, countless others haven’t taken the pandemic seriously, which has only made the issue worse. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a “social itch”, making us go against what is right in order to “scratch the itch”, or feel like we are having momentary escapism. However, some of these people don’t have the privilege to follow all of the CDC guidelines. Homeless people are just some of the many people who don’t have the means to follow all of the CDC guidelines. Stanford news says, “young people – aged between 18 to 31-years-old – had the lowest compliance rate at 52.4 percent, compared to other age groups”.

J.D. Ligier, an Offshore Medic and Medical Assistant at an outpatient clinic in Harahan, has been an essential worker before and during the pandemic. He talks about the dangers of the coronavirus on young people, saying, “Just like adults, children are susceptible to experience respiratory failure, micro clotting, shock, acute kidney failure, myocarditis as well as something detected in children called “Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C).” What we don’t know, but are currently being studied, are the long-term effects. We do know that SARS-CoV-2can cause small blood clots to form in the epithelial lining of the blood vessels, which could later cause strokes and pulmonary embolisms both of which can be fatal.” Though not everyone may experience these things, the virus is still new and information about the virus is still being studied and updated today. He also says, “partying is what the medical profession now calls ‘super spreader’ events. It exposes larger numbers of people, in close spaces, usually without masks. It is careless and reckless. You might not care if you are exposed to Covid, however what about those around you? Compromised people, elderly?” J.D has received both doses of the Moderna vaccine.

Whether it’s a full-on party or a small hang out, a social gathering– even with familiar people we trust– makes the virus spread faster. The faster the virus replicates, the more mutations occur, which makes the jobs of the people trying to end the pandemic even harder. A 17-year-old anonymous teen says “when I’m with my grandparents I wear a mask. Other than that if I’m being brutally honest no I don’t follow the CDC guidelines when I’m hanging out with people outside of my immediate family. . . . I choose to prioritize my life and my mental health.” They also say, “my mentality, which might be selfish, is that I’m not letting this virus take anymore from my life than it already has. People only ever look at cases, recoveries, and deaths. No one looks at the amount of crucial life moments that so many teens have missed out on because of covid”.  Since this interview, they have received the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. High school is the prime time for teens to explore not just themselves, but their independence. So many young people aren’t going to let a virus stop them from making lifelong memories.

An issue that so many people face is homelessness, which many people don’t have control over. During the pandemic, these people have to fight not only to stay afloat but to survive. Homeless shelters can be detrimental to a person’s well-being, and are oftentimes crowded, making it almost impossible to social distance from one another. A 19-year-old named Minerva says, “living in a homeless shelter makes it pretty difficult and almost impossible to social distance, As well as living in a tiny house with seven other people.” The coronavirus adds more stress to the issues that many homeless people face daily. Minerva also says, “It has been mentally hard on me.”

Whether people are going out and having fun with their friends and family or staying in to protect their loved ones, the pandemic has taken a huge part of our life. We all need to do our part in helping to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The sooner we do something to end the pandemic, the quicker we will be able to go back to semi-normalcy. Though we may not be afraid to get the virus, so many others depend on us to be able to keep them safe. There are times that we may slip up from time-to-time, but as long as we actively try to make a difference, then we may finally leave the COVID-19 virus in the past. Humans have always been a social species who yearn for interactions from others.

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