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U of M GWSS 3203W - The Constructs That Carried COVID

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John DavidGWSS 3203Analytical Research Paper 103-05-21The Constructs That Carried COVIDMask’s, lockdowns, losing loved ones. Those are three terms that, unfortunately, have become pretty common in the past year or so. Nobody saw this pandemic coming, how could we? Being such a technological advanced world, I would be willing to bet many people didn’t think a virus like this could take over the world like it has, including me. But that is simplify not the case. Together as a human race we have had to make some sacrifices. Some, very easy to abide by (for some) sacrifices include wearing a mask to protect the people around you, and some which are harder would include not being able to see your loved ones for an extended period of time. I personally am still going through this as I haven’t been able to see either sets of grandparents for over a year now. Although I know it is for their safety, it still saddens me and my family as we know that their time is winding down. These are just two examples of ways our lives have changed, and In week 2 of this course, we took a deeper dive into social and medical life in a pandemic. From this week’s reading and discussion, we learned how the impact of COVID-19 was made worse by the culture of sociological constructs as well as political constructs.The year 2020 brought us many new things, and a vast majority of them were not good. This year also included a major variable that greatly divided a lot of the country, and that was a presidential election. As our country was gearing up to select a new leader, the hot topic of debate was obviously COVID-19, and what new plan was going to help curb the illness. This lead to COVID-19 being heavily politicized, which in turn made the negative impact a lot greater. The reading “The Social Construction of Illness” stated that, “medical knowledge about illness and disease is not necessarily given be nature but is constructed and developed by claims-John DavidGWSS 3203Analytical Research Paper 103-05-21makers and interested parties.”1 This quote tells us that the medical knowledge that we are being fed is manipulated and described in a way that favors big players, such as big pharmaceutical companies and leading politics. I don’t think I should have to say how horribly wrong that is, butin today’s day and age with politicians’ holding so much power, I see how it was made into a political battle, when it never should have been. The only objective that should have been brought forward was the objective that would have saved as many lives as possible, but because it was an election year and the importance that this country puts on politics, the politicians wanted to cater to their party, which lead to a greater negative impact of COVID-19.Some examples of negative impacts that politics had on this pandemic would be mask mandates. That was one piece of evidence that was found to help stop the spread of COVID, however because one side of the political spectrum supported masks, and the other side wanted to be more free, there was this huge debate and fight about wearing them in public when in all reality it is so easy to do. Personally I don’t even notice that I am wearing one most of the time. Another hot topic of debate was the option of “opening” cities back up. Again, one side was in favor of doing that, and the other side was against it. Now I know that this topic goes deeper thanthat, but it really shows how politicizes COVID is, and because certain states and people did opposite things, COVID was allowed to have a greater and probably longer impact on our lives.The other aspect, that is intertwined with politics, was the social constructs that allowed this illness to ravage the US. Social constructs about this virus, like the idea that “it is only as bad as the flu” help drive it through our country. In the second reading of week 2, Contagious, there is a quote that reads, “A myth is an explanatory story that is not specifically authored, but 1 Conrad, P., & Barker, K. (2010). The Social Construction of Illness: Key Insights and Policy Implications. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 51, S67-S79. Retrieved March 4, 2021, from DavidGWSS 3203Analytical Research Paper 103-05-21emerges from a group as an expression of the origins and terms of its collective identity.”2 This quote fits well this this week’s topics on COVID because there were many socially constructed myths, such as the one I stated before. Others include that you could only die if you were young, old, or had a underlying condition. This was sadly proven not to be true by healthy middle aged people passing away. However that social construct and the one about the flu gave people false confidence to go out in public in large crowds, not wear masks, and do other things that helped spread the virus and killed an untold amount of people.As a nation, I hope we look back and learn from this horrible experience. I hope that the next time an illness like this comes around, we can come together instead of being pushed apart by social and political constructs. We can take the facts and apply them to our everyday lives in order to be smarter and safer. If we are able to do that, then hopefully we can save more lives, and get through the next pandemic quicker.2 Wald, P. (2008). Contagious: Cultures, Carries and the Outbreak Narrative. Durham: Duke University

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