Why do we perpetuate and normalize some things that we know are detrimental to our health and are directly linked to death, yet we race to fight COVID?
As we live and breathe in the days of COVID-19, a few things have become apparent: that COVID kills, that people are concerned and cautious, and finally, that some will shame and alienate an individual if they don’t agree or comply to the same degree in regards to the first two points.
The perplexing bit about all of this, from an outside perspective, would be how we’ve arrived at what seems like a rather backward point in time. The number one killers in the United States are cancer and heart disease, as stated by the CDC, yet we practically endorse most causes of them, unlike our effort to fight COVID, and those who aren’t precautious enough.
Let this sink in, how many times have you said, or heard someone say, “Man I need a drink and cigarette after today,” or some variety of that and not batted an eye? Furthermore, if we were to apply this to overindulging on food, almost everyone would be guilty. The irony of this is mind-blowing.
We normalize or happily accept our friends and peers smoking cigarettes or vaping as a bad habit and we expose ourselves to secondhand smoke as if it’s only a bad smell. We encourage and relish at the thought of having a few drinks to take the edge off, or going to a party to have a few too many. This also doesn’t account for the danger one puts themselves in by being impaired. Lastly, many of us eat with no discretion to our health. We don’t give any thought to the calories or actual ingredients, or lack thereof, in what we put into these miraculous machines we call our bodies.
CSUSB, its students, and faculty have cracked down on trying to keep everyone safe from COVID by closing the campus, transitioning to online classes, and providing helpful information during these times. However, to jump back to the previous points, let’s take a moment to think about CSUSB when it was up and running; the irony seems to creep back in again. The same campus that has closed for our safety serves out processed, calorie, and fat dense meals with Pizza Hut, Stir Fresh, and Taco Bell – just to name a few – and even serves alcohol at the Blue Coyote Pub, despite knowing that CSUSB is a commuter school.
Finally, one might ask what the point of this is. It is that nearly 8 million people die each year from smoking, nearly 10 million die from cancer, and nearly 18 million from heart disease, in comparison to COVID which has just reached over 1 million worldwide.
In no way is this meant to bash or dissuade being precautious or responsible about COVID, but it is merely meant to give CSUSB and its community a nudge to reflect and check themselves next time before they bash or chastise someone for not taking COVID as seriously as they do, or when we turn a blind eye to other problems.
We perpetuate and have created a careless society about health, and have been long before COVID arrived. Therefore, if we truly “care” as much as we seem to about deaths and the health of others, let us apply that to all issues alike and not decide to simply change on a new issue because of peer pressure or mass media making us feel guilty or pressured into tearing down one another for not doing what we think they should.