The Globe’s Point: The pandemic is not over for any of us

Pioneers, this semester is going to be a very interesting one. Over the summer, we were on the cusp of overcoming the coronavirus pandemic, and it seemed as though things were finally returning to normal, or at the very least something resembling normalcy.

It is an unfortunate reality that despite the entirety of our university being vaccinated, we still have to observe certain pandemic policies. It is even more unfortunate that a majority of the university population has done everything correctly, and we are being held back by the subset of the population that simply refuses to get vaccinated.

And at this point, you have a right to be frustrated. The people who complained for a year and a half that we need to “move on” were the same people who refused to follow simple mask mandates and elongated this pandemic. Many of them are now the same people who refuse to get vaccinated.

But at the same time, just because we are all vaccinated does not mean that the pandemic is over. And more importantly, just because most of the people suffering at this point are people of a political ideology that you disagree with does not mean that the pandemic is over.

One thing that has been appearing more and more frequently on social media is people mocking the deaths of people who were vocally anti-vaccine. Behind the dim-lit screens of social media, it can seem, to those who subscribe to an extremely dark sense of humor, a comedic juxtaposition. Some would even argue that it is a perfect example of schadenfreude in an era of unruly cynicism.

But at the end of the day, there’s really nothing comedic going on here. There’s nothing comedic about dying on a ventilator, leaving behind family and friends. There is no poetic justice in reaping what you sow when what you reap is a slow and painful death in a cold, dark ICU.

The issue lies only in part with the people that refuse to get vaccinated. The main issue lies with members of the media like Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson, who almost every night push anti-vaccine rhetoric and platform prominent anti-vaxxers. The issue lies with social media companies like Facebook who allow not only misinformation but blatant lies about vaccines to be spread on their platform. The issue lies with prominent Republican politicians like Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Jim Jordan who have discouraged mask mandates. The issue lies with former President Donald Trump, who suggested people should not get vaccinated and even misled them about his own vaccination status.

At the end of the day, unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about the continued anti-vaccine movement. But what we can do is continue to acknowledge that the pandemic is not over, and following simple instructions can continue saving lives. It’s not a stretch to suggest that the messaging from the government and media on this pandemic has been incredibly inconsistent and confusing, but what we can do is stay vigilant, encourage those unvaccinated to get vaccinated, and make the most out of this semester.