Pandemic remains an issue post-election

Despite Biden’s vitory, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a pressing issue in America

Alexandra Karlinchak, Assistant Opinion Editor

With the victory of President-Elect Joe Biden this past Saturday afternoon, cities around the country let out an audible sigh of relief. In New York City, streets were transformed into the stage for a three-week premature, makeshift Macy’s Day parade, complete with dancing, singing, pot-banging and the honking of car horns. People’s elation was palpable. 

But underneath all of this joy, I hold a deep-seated sense of weariness. This emotion is not so much about politics, nor the presidential election, but about the continued handling of COVID-19.

With over 238,000 deaths related to the novel coronavirus, the end is still nowhere in sight. Though pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced in a press release on Nov. 9 that the vaccine they produced is more than 90% effective in preventing COVID infections among trial volunteers, this is hardly a solution that is set in stone. Afterall, this statistic was released directly from Pfizer, not a completely objective third party. There is still a long way to go before the vaccine is approved, mass produced and distributed.

All of this is happening as a massive spike in coronavirus cases spreads across the U.S. You heard me correctly. COVID spike. Again. It is not surprising that news stations have been tripping over themselves to report on the 2020 Presidential election. 

It has been a historic time and headlines continue to break as Dan Purdy Twitter drama covers the web and virtual reality furries pick up their virtual reality hammers and construct an online replica of Four Seasons Landscaping. Yes, you might have to read that again and no, I cannot explain it either. The point is, a lot has been going on. 

And I, for one, have never consumed so much media in my life.

The problem is, not all media is created equal. News outlets need to make money and covering the Trump campaign’s baseless court cases certainly catches people’s attention and draws in consumers. But as a nation, I feel that we have become desensitized to coronavirus news. It has been nine months since social distancing suggestions were put in place and individuals bought masks in bulk. 

Over 10.3 million Americans have contracted COVID-19 and we have lost over 240,000 lives. These numbers grow daily.”

While cases and death counts have continued to grow, coverage on the topic has begun to lessen.

Over 10.3 million Americans have contracted COVID-19 and we have lost over 240,000 lives. These numbers grow daily. Yet I worry that these numbers have stopped representing actual human lives. More specifically, I worry that Biden’s likelihood of taking over the role of president in January has allowed people to get lax with the protective measures they are taking.

I am not referring to Wake’s campus specifically. I am not even referring to Gen Z or Millennials. But, it frustrates me to no end to see Instagram activists post pastel graphics that read “Wear your damn mask” at 10 a.m. and then maskless photos from outside an over-crowded bar at 10 p.m. Or the eye-numbing graphics that boast of Biden’s “belief in science.”

I’m not saying we need Bill Nye in office (though I am not denying that I dream of that sometimes), but it is not radical to want a president in office who actively believes in the power and truth of science. In fact, I see it as a bare minimum requirement.

Having Biden on the path to take office does not eradicate the country’s need to continue to take the threat of coronavirus seriously.

We do not have the option to just “get tired” of taking precautionary measures. Additionally, it is so dangerous and hypocritical to vent about the need to socially distance while attending large gatherings in secret.

People with preexisting conditions did not magically heal the moment that Fox News called the election in Biden’s favor. There was no Lazarus moment for the hundreds of thousands of families who lost loved ones.

When President Donald Trump leaves office and Biden takes his place, the country still needs to be aware that social distancing measures will continue. Coronavirus will still exist as a threat for months into Biden’s presidency and the sooner people actively realize this, the better.