No room for blame and shame

Published January 8, 2022, 12:05 AM

by Alex M. Eduque


A week into the new year, and just when we all thought we had the hang of things, omicron has seemingly taken us on a wave of surprise. Numbers are doubling (even tripling) overnight, and despite the fact that we have been living in a pandemic for two years, we still find ourselves in a frenzy and panic. With our low numbers over the holidays, we felt like we were in a good place perhaps, maybe even became complacent, neglecting the fact that cases were already surging across the globe. Maybe we should have expected the “unexpected” and should have been more proactive instead of reactive. 

The truth really is that despite how careful we are, sometimes, it can just get to us, and when we expect it the least at that. That is the unfortunate reality of the world we have been living in the past two years, and the price we pay for life to go on, and for some semblance of normalcy – at least the kind of normal we were accustomed to, and knew, pre-pandemic. I have talked a lot in this place about acceptance and adjusting, but I do not think I have addressed shaming and blaming as much. This past week, it seemed to be on a surge as well. And this, I feel, is what causes some people to be secretive about testing positive when really, we should espouse the opposite in order to protect more. 

First and foremost, like any other ailment, the earlier COVID-19 is addressed, the better. This should prompt an individual to be able to let those he/she were in contact with know the soonest, and the earlier the symptoms the virus brings about are treated, the better. Letting someone you have unknowingly exposed know that you have unfortunately tested positive, is, in my opinion, a moral obligation, and an opportunity given to that person to make an informed decision – the course of action then that person decides to take, and whether or not that person decides to test is no longer your business, however. Being on the other side of the situation, one must also need to be understanding. While it is natural for emotions to heighten and panic to ensue, do not let this get the better of you. Pointing fingers and negative emotions towards the source helps no one. At the end of the day, we are all adults. In this day and age, attending a social event, a gathering, taking a trip and travelling; going to the mall, to work, and even sending your kids to school could already pose a risk. Simply doing things that once seemed mundane and routine that involves you, or someone from your household leaving your home and having people around always has an underlying risk these days that we all subconsciously agree to, and live with. Everything is a choice, and we make informed and independent decisions. The blame game should end. Instead, we should thank those who may have exposed us for the honesty, and pick up from there. Remember, the concern is recovery and getting as little people as possible infected. Definitely, not gossip. 

In the same light, COVID-19 shaming should have no place in our communities. No one decides to get, or spread COVID-19 by choice. The more open we are to accepting that it is an inevitable part of our world, the more people will no longer be ashamed to inform others if/when one may test positive. The stigma must be eradicated, and this will only happen if the blaming component is put to an end as well. While none of us cam predict the future, it seems that COVID-19, just like the flu, is unfortunately, here to stay. With the vaccines came variants, and a big part of learning to live with it is not putting shame or blame on others. 

In a world that has been ridden with so much more uncertainty and anxiety these past two years than ever before (in my lifetime at least), no room is left for more negativity – especially the kind that we a humans are able to work on eradicating. And though this first month of the new year was off to a pretty tumultuous start, it definitely is not too late to change what, and where we can. Remember, the only negative we want is a COVID-19 test result. Let us all channel positivity otherwise.