Opinion: The privilege of being able to stay home during a global pandemic

Maren VanOsdol '22, Staff Writer

St. John Hospital encourages the community to stay home with yard signs. Photo by Maren VanOsdol ’22.

All of a sudden we find ourselves living in a world where, for about two months now, we have been housebound, unable to see our friends or family outside of family members in your house that you’re probably sick of. Normally mundane tasks like grocery shopping are now the most exciting part of your week. Yet, we are the lucky ones in this situation.
Staying home is a luxury. All around us there are people who risk their lives every day by simply going to work and working to save the lives of people with COVID-19. There is no working from home for them, only endless hours at a hospital on their feet wearing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) so they cannot eat or even use the bathroom until the end of their shift, possibly as long as 12 hours.
No doubt this is a national crisis that affects pretty much everyone and everything. It’s understandable to get frustrated because you’re stuck at home and you miss seeing your friends and teachers at school. Seniors are dealing with a senior year that will be unforgettable for all the wrong reasons: no prom, no graduation ceremony, none of the usual senior year-end traditions. But instead of venting frustration, think of all the people that are truly on the front lines of this pandemic fighting this disease and doing everything they can to save lives.
Social distancing is mandatory for these medical workers. Since they are so exposed while at work they have to completely isolate themselves outside of work. My family is friends with a doctor here in Grosse Pointe who is working long hours at the DMC. When he comes home he can’t interact with his family at all, he sleeps and eats in a separate room and his wife and children are unable to interact with him. It’s a sad reality that the people who protect us can’t be with the people they love.
You may have someone like this in your family, or no doubt you know someone that does. All over Grosse Pointe you see signs supporting healthcare workers which has been one of the bright spots in this pandemic. There have also been processions in front of hospitals to show appreciation for healthcare workers and first responders.
We are not being “forced” to stay inside, it is a benefit we should take advantage of to spend some quality time at home and appreciate loved ones, because some people are not able to.
In the past month alone, more than 9,000 US healthcare workers contracted coronavirus, according to an April report from the CDC (Center for Disease Control). This was completely out of their hands whether they got the virus or not because it’s part of their job. It goes with the territory, and they still went to work knowing that was a possibility.
People have been frustrated, and it’s understandable but to go so far as to protest like we’ve seen in Lansing recently really only makes it worse since doing so they put people at risk who don’t have the choice to stay home or protest.
This is a difficult time for all. No doubt you’re like me and many others and you’ve complained about not being able to get a haircut or go to your favorite restaurant. But next time you feel that way try and remember those among us who are running towards the problem every day and making sacrifices. All we have to do to support them is stay home and do our school work, and maybe watch a little Netflix or play on your Switch.