Editorial: Pandemic reveals selfish underbelly of society

By the Viewpoints Editorial Board

“If I get corona, I get corona,” entitled spring-breaker Brady Sluder told CBS News in Miami. “At the end of the day, I’m not gonna let it stop me from partying.”

Meanwhile, COVID-19 is killing hundreds of people every day in Italy. Known Riverside County infections went from around 10 to around 50 in a matter of one week. And the virus continues to spread worldwide.

The responses from governments across the globe have been questionable, ill-advised and slow. Medical systems have been overwhelmed, economies are falling and people are in panic mode, stockpiling essential supplies without regard for the needs of their fellow human beings. 

At this point, our only real hope for slowing the spread of the coronavirus is to be socially responsible and ethical. Health professionals on the front lines have asked us to substantially limit our contact with others and grocery stores have regulated our shopping to ensure that our parents and grandparents can get in and get what they need.

Seeing thousands of young people swarming the beaches of Miami and tossing all precautions out the window for the sake of partying while the world suffers its worst viral outbreak in a century is simply pathetic. It is pathetic that one selfish child would be willing to risk infection for a one week ecstasy binge on the beaches of Florida. What is even worse is the reality that that child may infect dozens of others who may actually end up dying from the virus, while he goes on unscathed.

The idiocy and entitlement of these Spring-breakers is an insult to those of us who are at home, abiding by our civic duty to do what we can to keep others from contracting the virus and dying. It is a slap in the face to our elderly and immunocompromised loved ones, who are most vulnerable to the suffocating effects of the novel Coronavirus.

Scurrying about a grocery store and clearing the shelves while an elderly woman slowly makes her way through the aisle, struggling to find essential supplies, is nothing short of sociopathy. Society is proving itself to be a panicky, unreasonable mob. But it does not have to be this way.

It is understandable that one would like to enjoy a vacation after intensive studies and work. It is also understandable that people would want to do what is necessary to ensure their families do not go without.

But we are living through a type of crisis that no living person has seen before. We must all make sacrifices and show some decency by allowing our neighbors equal opportunity in the supermarket. We must all understand that irresponsible behavior at this moment could result in dire consequences for the people we love.

We are all dealing with fear and mental health issues in isolation right now. But we must do this rationally by practicing social distancing and discipline. The ridiculous behavior of selfish mobs, whether on the beaches of Florida or in the aisles of your local supermarket, will only ensure that this crisis continues.