Northwest Missourian Opinion

The U.S. was woefully unprepared for the coronavirus and so were its citizens. Prior to the middle of March, jokes, memes and comparisons between COVID-19 to the flu were all over the internet. Now that it has become apparent that COVID-19 is not a punchline but a pandemic, it’s time to delete those posts.

Future and current employers and organizations look at social media to gauge their employees’ or members’ character. That’s why every year thousands of college students must purge their social media of their drunken tweets and Instagram posts before entering the workforce.

The purging of social media should not only apply to illicit activity but also to takes and opinions that have been proven wrong. This does not mean political opinions are wrong, but tweets and posts about COVID-19 being a joke and just another flu are clearly wrong. 

The death toll in the U.S. as of April 9 neared 15,000 and most experts predict that the peak of the virus is still a month away, but there is much uncertainty about how long or deadly this virus will be.

The oft-repeated moniker of those who believe we are taking COVID-19 too seriously is that most people will not die or even develop serious complications after contracting the virus. While this may be true, although there have been some puzzling cases like 30-year-old Ben Luderer who had no preexisting conditions but still rapidly succumbed to the virus, sharing this ideology showcases a lack of a basic character trait. Empathy.

The now infamous spring breaker Brady Sluder is possibly the most famous example of a lack of empathy about the virus. Sluder was thrust into a spotlight he very much did not want after making statements on a video which were played on every major media outlet saying things like “If I get corona. I get corona,” and “It’s not gonna stop me from partying.” 

Sluder later issued an apology via Instagram. “I deeply apologize from the bottom of my heart for my insensitivity and unawareness of my actions,” Sluder said. While it is good that Sluder saw, or perhaps was told, the error of his ways, he can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. The visualization of him choosing to party over the safety of others during a deadly disease outbreak will be seared into the brains of everyone that meets him before he even gets a chance to speak. 

While not as dramatic or memorable, the same thing will apply to those who have their social media accounts combed through and are found to be making or have made insensitive posts about COVID-19.

President Donald Trump has been and continues to be a victim of foot-in-mouth syndrome when it comes to the virus. Trump wanted to open the country up fully by Easter despite numerous medical professionals disagreeing with him and telling him that will only make the pandemic worse. Trump has also continued to call the virus the “Chinese Virus” even though it has been told to him numerous times this is insensitive and inaccurate. 

Luckily for most of us, we don’t have hundreds of millions of people remembering every mistake or insensitive remark we make. The lack of empathy Trump is displaying may come back to haunt him during the election, or it may not. One thing is certain: people will remember how he responded to the virus long after his presidency is over.

Normal everyday Americans have the opportunity to delete or change insensitive remarks made on social media. These posts could end up costing people a job or membership in an organization. Don’t let those statements define you; delete insensitive remarks before they can haunt you.

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