COVID-19 and civility

The world remains on edge as one of the largest pandemics (Covid-19) sweeps the continents.

Across the United States, at least five states to date have declared a state of emergency. According to CNN, over 300,000 students are out of school across the world, with American institutions like Ohio State, Princeton University, and the University of Southern California moving classes to online. Conferences and flights are canceled, with tensions rising about the pandemic.

This biomedical crisis certainly has people on edge. However, let me remind people that civility belongs even here, especially in working with service employees who are treating the illness or working in places that provide janitorial products to reduce the spread.

Earlier this week, my colleague and I were at a local drug store hunting for the last can of Lysol. The schools in our area are closing, and elders have been told to self-quarantine.  In our hunt, we realized the run on toilet paper, cleansers, and hand sanitizers left shelves bare. As we began our exit, we were shocked to find a man yelling at cursing at the attendant.

“ This is the ++++ plague! Why are you out of stock!”

The young lady behind the register had turned red-faced and her eyes widened.

The man continued his verbal abuse.

“I can’t believe this! Who is your manager!?”

The young attendance was still stunned with the customers in the whole store frozen in disbelief.

In the time of a global crisis, we should find it even more important to be civil to each other.

We all have concerns and fears, but such will not be abated in abusing each other over hand sanitizer and Lysol. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Remember the people working in these stores probably do not want extended exposure to the public in this crisis. Empathize with their experiences.
  2. ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ are still better than yelling and cursing, regardless of the pandemic.
  3. Look for other solutions to kill germs that you may already have at home (soap, bleach, ammonia) to help sanitize (our grandmothers didn’t have hand sanitizer).
  4. We all need to be a community when this pandemic is curtailed. Be kind to members of your community.

This pandemic should remind everyone just how interconnected we are. In 2020, a number of activities can be conducted online. Course meetings, online shopping, and face time can make self- quarantines more livable. As we all ban together to ward off Covid-19, a kind word is still an anecdote to incivility.

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