Opinion

Okay, Now It’s the End of the World

Zack Miller | The PhoenixDoomsday preppers are clearing out grocery stores in response to the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S..

My last year at Loyola and The Phoenix has come full circle. In August I wrote “It’s Not the End of the World — Yet,” a commentary on growing concerns over global warming and tensions between the U.S. and Russia. Looking back on it, I wonder if our past selves could even believe that later that academic year we would find ourselves in a situation where life as we know it would come to near stop. 

It’s the end of the world. 

Almost every major gathering around the globe has been canceled or postponed. March Madness, Coachella and E3 are some of the events TIME lists on their comprehensive guide to all the events canceled by the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Stocks are plummeting as the federal government injects money into the economy to lessen the disruptions in the market during this coronavirus meltdown.

President Donald Trump declared the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. a national emergency in a live broadcast last week. That last sentence is one I never thought I’d write five years ago. Things are not the same and may never be the same as we hope to shift into a post-coronavirus world. 

When a capitalist country’s government asks people to stay home, then you know shit has hit the fan. If people are home then it means they aren’t buying as many things and the economy isn’t being stimulated enough. This means people are losing money and that’s usually not the “American way.” 

This virus is forcing us to really examine how we live day to day and question whether things can be better. Questions about healthcare are normal during a health crisis when people may be concerned about insurance or the availability of healthcare.

We are still just beginning to feel the effects of this pandemic and many of us are prepared for the situation to worsen in the next couple weeks. This happens to be going on during an election year, so it’s no surprise the topic of “Medicare for all” came up during the Democratic debate on Sunday between candidates former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT). 

The virus isn’t just infecting people — it has infected our news consumption, politics, social media and conversations. This weekend, Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered all bars and restaurants in Illinois to close and gatherings of 50 people or more to be canceled in compliance with the CDC guidelines posted on Sunday. Monday, Trump advised against gatherings of more than 10 people.

Changing our routines and general way of life this drastically is something many of us have never experienced in our lifetimes and we should be ready for life to continue after this pandemic. 

When we emerge from quarantine and our social distancing practices, the world is going to be messy. People will have died, some businesses will have closed and communities will rebuild. It seems like a time where we need to make changes.

It’s a good chance to examine how schools, corporations and government bodies handle the emergency and whether it’s handled ethically or not. 

For high school students planning on applying to universities, take this time to find out how universities responded to the outbreak. Through the actions it takes, we can tell whether a university genuinely cares about its students or whether it’s okay with throwing the rest of the semester online and kicking dorm life students out onto the streets. 

Hopefully people will also take the time to differentiate credible news sources from non-credible sources, especially on social media. I’m already a part of a couple Facebook groups which sort through coronavirus news stories and weed out false facts.

COVID-19 101 is a good example of a Facebook group of about 130 members from northwest Chicago suburbs. These groups help people stay informed and collaborate with other members to find relevant, factual information about staying healthy during this pandemic. 

The coronavirus is going to remain a large part of our lives for a while. The virus that ended the world as we know it will continue to haunt us long after the emergency has passed. As a result, we’ll have to change the approach we take to healthcare and emergency preparedness in the future.

Remember to stay healthy and wash your hands to survive the apocalypse. 

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