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Almarez: Who's responsible?

Almarez: Who's responsible?

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The biggest problem with the Coronavirus is: there’s no responsibility involved.

Here’s a tale of two families:

Family #1 was traveling home from a holiday celebration, with four people in the car: driver, little sister, and grandparents. The driver drank too much at dinner, he lost control and hit an oncoming car head-on.

Result: Sister killed, 1 grandparent badly injured, the other died at the hospital. Two people in the other car also died, but the driver survived.

Family #2 went to an indoor holiday gathering at a relative’s house at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. No one wore a mask, and it was hugs all around. They sat down at the table to a merry meal, and enjoyed each other’s company for several hours. A cousin had flown in from a hot-spot coronavirus state, an aunt attended a friend’s funeral earlier that week, and a nephew and his wife had been unknowingly exposed to a teenager who later tested positive for COVID-19.

Result: Two weeks later, elderly grandparents who attended the gathering are in an ICU; both died from coronavirus. The aunt tested positive and is in quarantine; she worries about losing her income and/or her job. The nephew, who had been very healthy, got hit hard by the virus, and is fighting for his life on a ventilator. Contact tracing revealed that 12 other people were exposed to the virus (and who knows how many others those people exposed?)

Who’s responsible for the deaths and heartache in these stories? The driver in Family #1 awaits a court decision on a charge of manslaughter, and the people left alive hold him responsible.

What about Family #2? When they arrived, none of them had symptoms of COVID-19. Was it someone on the plane the cousin was on, was it the asymptomatic teenager, was it someone at the funeral the aunt attended?

One answer is: No one can be held responsible, No one has to personally answer for the spread of COVID-19.

But ask yourself, if you don’t wear masks or keep a safe distance from others, “Could I be the one who is harming my neighbors, my loved ones?”

If you accept this as a possibility, then the true answer is: Everyone is responsible for doing everything possible to stop the spread of this coronavirus. Your right to do as you please doesn’t override another’s right to live. Please take responsibility.

Almarez is a retired educator living in Clifton Forge.

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