“The Need for Individual Responsibility”


Alan Mathew, News Editor

 Social distancing guidelines are being eased in Broward County, and that offers many residents a choice. It’s not always as simple as just staying in or going out, and it’s a monumental choice regardless. 

  There’s no room for belittling or talking down: you know exactly why this virus is so dangerous. The last few months of your life have changed dramatically because of it. Worldwide, over 300,000 lives have permanently and irrevocably been lost because of this virus. It would be condescending to simply lecture on safety, or repeat the same points that everyone already knows.

  Control was never the point. The restriction of general movement and the implementation of social distancing was designed, from the beginning, to help ensure the safety of the public at large. That’s slowly starting to change now, and the shift in the air, as welcome as it is, is also frightening.

  The urge to relax—to release the breath you’ve been holding and allow yourself to feel completely normal again—is sorely tempting. Don’t deny it, but don’t let it cloud the situation for you in any way.

  Doctors, nurses, first responders, and so many others besides are still feeling the effects of COVID-19. Besides the largely systemic changes workers on the frontlines require, the larger thing everyone needs is for individuals to do their part. As often as the word “frontline” gets tossed out, this isn’t a war. The majority of those working aren’t soldiers, and the enemy isn’t even something we can see. But this is a crisis, and people are being called into action. 

  While this means ER department personnel, respiratory therapists, clinical crews and manufacturers are being overworked, our system still demands more. For everyone from Publix employees to restaurant staff, businesses need business to keep things stable, but above all, people need to be safe—for their families, each other, and themselves. 

  The economy can’t readjust and realign again unless everyone is comfortable enough to do so. For that to even begin to happen, we have to be able to trust each other. Social distancing will always be limited in its effectiveness by the least responsible of us. That means, for the rest of us, we have to be even more careful. 

  Not one person wants to be inside—to live through a pandemic—for longer than necessary. For that to really not be a worry anymore, every one of us has to be smart. Motivate those closest to you to follow what we all know is the safest and most effective course of action. Motivate yourself. Right now, this is our reality for the long haul. 

  Think about what you really want, and figure out what’s really the best way to make that happen. Needless to say, America and the world will survive. That doesn’t change the fact that every single life lost will be one too many, and every life changed as a result of that loss shouldn’t have had to change in the first place. 

  Please, make the smartest decisions you can for the sake of the days and months to come. I’ll be doing my best right alongside you.