Traveling During Coronavirus: It’s Not About You

I’m a healthy 31-year-old with a great immune system, but I’m canceling my scheduled trip to Chicago next week. Here’s why.

Like many other millennials, as soon as I saw that flights were dirt cheap, I started hunting for the best deals out there. I booked my roundtrip flight from Austin to Chicago for $67 and four nights at a hostel in a prime part of downtown Chicago for $20 a night. I was pumped. I’ve never been to Chicago, so I was excited to see all the touristy spots, find some hidden local ones, eat ALL the good food, and share my experience with my friends and family on social media. I continued to ignore what most scientists and experts were saying about “social distancing” and “staying home” because I thought, “People are overreacting. It’s just like the flu. I’m healthy. I’m young. Worst-case scenario, I get coronavirus and have to be quarantined for two weeks. I’ll survive it because I’m young and healthy.”

But it’s not about me.

Given the limited amount of testing we have in our country, many more people can be carrying the virus than what has been reported. We don’t really know how many people are carrying the virus. People can go days without exhibiting any symptoms. And while they’re not exhibiting symptoms, they can still be passing it around. Truthfully, I’m still not concerned about contracting it myself because, as I said earlier, I’m young and healthy. But again, it’s not about me. I can get it from someone not showing any symptoms and could then carry it to someone before I show symptoms. People with compromised immune systems are dying because they’re catching it from people who weren’t worried about it. I cannot, with a clear conscience, subject myself to exposure unnecessarily and potentially infect an immune-compromised person, which could then lead to their death. I have friends with compromised immune systems. I have family with compromised immune systems. This is not the time to be selfish. This is not the time to be unnecessarily risky.

It’s better to overreact in times like this than to underreact. The consequences of the latter can potentially kill thousands, if not millions. Think of others. Don’t be selfish. Act as if you have it. Do your part to help stop the spread.

So yeah, I could have gone on my trip. And I probably would have been fine. And yeah, I’m a little bummed. But it’s not about me.

Why I’m Proud to be a Snowflake

I think we’ve all heard the term “snowflake” by now. Most of the time, it’s meant as an insult, and people typically take offense to it. People who are deemed “snowflakes” are said to think they’re special. They’re said to take offense too easily and are too delicate, like a literal snowflake. Here’s the thing. Are we really offended too easily, or are we just bold enough to speak out on what’s been offensive for so long? Speaking out in solidarity with those who have been hurting silently for generations.
“Back in my day, we used to be able to dress up as ‘Indians’ for Halloween, and nobody was offended then!” Think again. There are videos of Native Americans speaking out about how offensive it is that a stereotype of their culture was and is a costume to you.

“Why can’t I use the word ‘retarded’? It’s just an expression.” Wrong. Mental retardation is an actual diagnosis. Well, it used to be anyway. Now it’s Intellectual Disability, but for years “Mental Retardation” was the actual diagnosis for someone with an IQ below 70 and deficits in two or more adaptive behaviors that affect their daily life, and many parents still use it. So to equate an unfortunate situation, or a dumb thing that someone did, with the word “retarded” is to equate someone’s child with that unfortunate event or with something dumb. It hurts. It has always hurt. People are just now speaking out about it.

Here’s a gem. “We’re too politically correct these days!” Want to know what the actual definition is of political correctness is? “The avoidance…of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.” So to say that you’re against “Political Correctness” is to say that you’re ok with forms of expression that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against. You’re ok with it.

These are just a few examples, but there are hundreds more that we’re “too offended” by. So, maybe us “snowflakes” are too easily offended. Or maybe we’re just more perceptive of what hurts others. Maybe we’re perceptive of what’s culturally insensitive and are actively choosing to not purposely hurt people. Why would we want to do that? Why would anybody? Regardless, snowflakes are here to stay. And one snowflake may not be powerful. But get enough of them together and you get a blizzard. Sometimes, with enough snowflakes, you get an avalanche. An avalanche that completely changes the landscape. Keep on keepin’ on, snowflakes. Let’s change some things.