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Wednesday Cannon Fodder: what we owe each other

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Covid-19 Vaccine Roll-Out In Sofia Photo by Hristo Rusev/Getty Images

***gets on soapbox***

A common thread running through our entire time struggling with COVID-19 that has gotten short shrift, I think, is the responsibilities we have towards each other, our community, and society. The extremely contagious nature of the disease has shone a spotlight on the tension between the individual and the collective, and I think in far too many cases, people are striking the wrong balance.

I alluded to it yesterday in my post about the Premier League continuing apace in the face of rising positive COVID-19 tests — the only way that we’re going to get through the rest of this pandemic while minimizing the deaths and people eventually suffering from the terrible long-term effects of this virus is by recognizing that we are in this together.

What I do, the choices I make — wearing a mask, going to gatherings, etc. — affects everybody, not just myself. I understand that as adult human beings, we are capable and entitled to accept whatever level of risk we deem appropriate. Unfortunately, people have forgotten, are ignoring, aren’t considering, or just don’t care that they are passing along those risks to other people. That’s what sticks in my craw.

And that’s where Arsenal come in. Gabriel Magalhaes had a birthday party and has subsequently tested positive. Katie McCabe and other members of the Arsenal women traveled to Dubai over the break for a vacation, and at least one of them tested positive. Let’s put aside for a second that they have professional obligations that rely on them being fit and healthy that their decisions jeopardized.

It’s selfish behavior that passes along the increased risk of contracting coronavirus to their teammates. Teammates like Jen Beattie [fixed an earlier mistake], who recently announced that she has breast cancer. Teammates who may have other, unknown underlying medical conditions that make COVID-19 particularly dangerous to them. Are they even thinking about that when they decide to do something they (hopefully) know and understand they shouldn’t be doing?

There is a part of me that really wants to be understanding. I’ve been living through COVID-times as well. I could really do with a party or a vacation. Younger me might have had a more difficult time following protocols. And I know that some people (read: not professional athletes blowing off steam) don’t have the luxury of being as safe as I have been or that the Arsenal players could have been.

But it’s really, really difficult to feel super sympathetic about people wanting to drink and party when I haven’t hugged my parents or my grandparents who live minutes away. When “another thousand-plus dead” has become the norm, and we’ve lost any sense of what that kind of death toll actually means.

I’m not really sure where I wanted to go with this or where I planned to end up. It all just sucks. It’s frustrating. It’s angering. It’s saddening. It’s the tragedy of the commons playing out in large-scale. Our leaders have let us down, and we’re continuing to let each other down. Maybe I just needed to vent a bit.

I’m worn out, and I’ve vented myself out of words.

***gets off soapbox***