By Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Well, so it happened. Got COVID, probably omicron. As of today I am thankfully recovered and wrapping up quarantine, but COVID was no joke. For a while I’ve noted the term “mild” is misleading when the bar is hospitalization and death. Even “mild” cases can result in long COVID, which includes a range of conditions like cognitive impairment, POTS, & chronic fatigue. This isn’t to be a downer or induce fear, just a reminder that we need to be careful (N95s in crowded indoor spaces like stores) and if you do get it, it’s key to care for yourself and REST. The idea of forcing people to work just 5 days after symptoms start is sociopathic and 100% informed by a culture that accepts sacrificing human lives for profit margins as a fair trade. The good news is that we have an antidote: community.
If you’ve noticed, much of the emphasis of media conversations on COVID are individualistic: wear a mask, get vaccinated to protect yourself, go back to work even w/ symptoms bc you’re “fine” (even if you’re not). And while some of these recommendations are good- like getting a vaccine + wearing masks where appropriate, the motivations for them shouldn’t just be selfish. It should also be bc we actually give a damn about other people – our disabled neighbors, our coworkers who haven’t said (and shouldn’t feel obligated to say) they’re immunocompromised, etc.
It’s truly bizarre to me that giving a shit about other people is a polarizing political stance, but my dad used to say that life makes you repeat lessons until you learn them. And if there’s one lesson I think we as a country are repeating until we learn, it’s that community and collective good is our best shot through our greatest challenges – way more than discorded acts of “rugged individualism” and the bootstrap propaganda we’ve been spoon-fed since birth.
Individualism is inadequate for planetary forces like climate change or global pandemics, no less societal ones like healthcare, economic inequity and racism. But WE, as a collective, can confront them. In a world of MEs, let’s build team WE. 💙
Anyways that’s enough for today, stay healthy and blessed and let’s keep building.
Love & solidarity, aoc