Pandemic Life of a Soon to Be College Graduate

by Callum Lee

4/21/21

            One of the worst things about the pandemic is that I’ve got too much time to think, about my career, my life, my relationships. All the after-college crap that I’ve got to deal with that’s just looming on the horizon, super pressing and urgent since I’m about to graduate in a couple months. I’ve never really known what I wanted to do with my life, mostly because in high school, everything just seemed so clear cut. If you were good at science, you decided on doctor. If you were good at sports, kinesiology. Anything else, like history, art, English, you had to be a teacher. Because what else could you do with those social science and arts degrees? Even now, staring down the end of my education, I can’t say the path is any clearer to me, but I guess I’ve narrowed things down.

            I know I’m interested in publishing books, working with writers, making books and that sort of stuff. I like being close to that creative vein, close to the words and inspiration from being around like-minded individuals. And my uncle also mentioned copywriting for companies, how it’s a solid job. It sounds like a lot of desk work, but whatever makes money, right? Whatever helps me move out of the house? I applied for the internship at the company he works at, so hopefully that’ll pan out.

4/25/21

            So, it didn’t work out. I got an email from the internship, letting me know that I didn’t get it. I know I should be used to it: I’m 21 years old and I’ve only had 2 jobs in my life and neither lasted long (due to the company closing or COVID-19). At least they sent a consolation email, to let me know that it’s not them, it’s me, but good luck on your future endeavors anyway. I think it stings a little more because compared to my engineering friends and business friends who already have jobs lined up after grad, I’m lagging behind. And there’s nobody to blame but myself, for not applying to internships earlier or not having enough experience because I’ve only had two jobs in my life. I know I’ve been privileged, lucky enough to take it easy during college and not have to work in order to attend.

            In theory, my life shouldn’t be hard. I breezed through high school, through college with decent grades. My parents paid for my college tuition and my rent and my groceries up until third year, when I got a real job. I know I can move back home after graduation, so there’s no life-or-death urgency to getting a job. But I also know I’m always hard on myself. What’s going on externally shows nothing about what’s happening internally, which is where all my hard work and conflicts and struggles have been. Mentally, I’ve always been strong, determined, willful. But now, I want to be ambitious. I want to apply that drive towards my future. I can still change.

It’s not too late.

www.linkedin.com/in/callum-lee1/

Do we have enough for everyone?

Should the United States pay for the world’s Covid vaccine.

Quintus Horatius Flaccus The Philosopher Horace:

 “Nam tua res agitur, paries cum proximus ardet.” It is your concern when your neighbor’s wall is on fire.

Talking with friends and family in different countries, I was surprised to hear how many have not yet received a COVID vaccine, yet we are still facing a global pandemic. As Americans, we tend to think of things as if on a unilateral, English-speaking globe… but that is not the world. It is made up of millions, no sorry, billions of people in different countries and continents who have different languages, cultures, and governments.

There will be an argument over licensing and distributing the vaccine to other countries. Viewing the stock prices of J&J, Moderna, and Pfizer, they are all doing well, and there is the prevailing economic issue of who paid for the vaccine to be researched, tested, and produced?  In the December 20th issue of Forbes appeared an article, “The People’s Vaccine—Moderna’s Coronavirus Vaccine Was Largely Funded By Taxpayer Dollars.”  So Americans paid for it…but, again, this problem is larger than just one country.

In 2019, international travelers spent $155 billion as reported by ustravel.org. That means billions of dollars flowing into the United States and thousands of jobs created. We also have states that rely heavily on foreign investment with California, Florida and New York at the top of the list. What will happen if these visitors stop coming to the United States or stop traveling all together? When they do travel here, will they bring other variants of the virus?

According to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, “Based on our most recent estimates from CDC surveillance, the B.1.1.7 variant is now the most common lineage circulating in the United States.” What if that impacts our herd immunity? Regrettably, there could be other variants generating in other parts of the world that could be even more threating, and we need to think about stopping that now.

People are people no matter where they go from Lexington, Kentucky to Abuja, Nigeria to Ahvaz, Iran. It is amazingly simple to say that people matter – because they do. It should not matter how the vaccinations were produced or who paid for them. We could all be affected by the inaction to non-action of people during the pandemic.

To circle back to the statement by Horacio, as citizens of the globe, we have to think of other countries as our neighbors and do our best to bring this global pandemic to an end.  If our neighbor’s house burns, it should be everyone’s concern.

By Dane Flanigan

How We Handle Panic in this Pandemic

Cartoon by marshall ramsey

New Zealand Vs. the UK: How these Countries Measure up During COVID-19

It’s been almost a year since COVID-19 appeared and sent the world into mass chaos, but now that vaccines are rolling out, it almost seems like we’re out of the woods. In retrospect, it’s easy to critique how worldwide governments have handled the coronavirus from the beginning until now. It’s common knowledge that the United States was one of the worst countries to deal with the coronavirus, clocking in at around 31.4 million cases and about 563,000 deaths. But what might not be so common is the fact that countries like Taiwan, New Zealand, Iceland, and Singapore were some of the best countries to combat COVID-19, while the US, the UK, Brazil, and Mexico were the worst.

            Right now, life in New Zealand is mask-free and as normal as it can get with the coronavirus still running amok through the rest of the world. New Zealand sits at a total of 2,201 cases and a whopping 26 deaths from COVID-19. These numbers may be due to its smaller population size, but despite their numbers, we can still admire how New Zealand locked down hard after COVID cases started appearing in the country. Instead of just “flattening the curve,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern administered a “disease elimination” approach to the coronavirus by announcing a full national lockdown on March 26, 2020 after 102 cases were reported. By swiftly reporting COVID cases, imposing flight restrictions and locking down the country in the beginning of 2020, New Zealand managed to almost eliminate the curve and efficiently succeeded in bringing their country back from the brink of COVID chaos.

            On the other hand, the United Kingdom’s response to the coronavirus was less than stellar, with 4.36 million cases and around 126,955 deaths. COVID guidelines from the government were ambiguous at best, with the Prime Minister Boris Johnson encouraging citizens to go about their business as COVID cases in the UK were confirmed. Like New Zealand, the UK entered nation-wide lockdown around the same time on March 23, 2020, but unlike New Zealand, the UK had over 6,500 cases and 330 deaths at this time. Similar to the US in the early days of COVID-19, the UK struggled with overcapacity in hospitals, failed to lockdown in time to curb COVID, and didn’t establish an efficient COVID testing system early on.

            From a surface level, there’s not much different between the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Both European countries have universal health care and similarly structured governments. We can’t place the blame definitively on one thing or another, but we do know that the reaction of our world leaders and how our communities support each other directly influence how we handle panic in this pandemic.

By Callum Lee

Bad Politics or Good Health

The Recall of Governor Newsom

In 2002 Governor Grey Davis, was recalled because of rolling power blackouts and his issues on gun control. The replacement was an economic disaster as he was supplanted by a Hollywood Rockstar who was a first and only time politician. Is the recall case against Governor Newsome just bad optics; after all, his measures to curb COVID-19 in California seemed to work?

There have been 59,985 deaths in the state of California. Statista.com outlines these deaths per capita based on 100,000. As listed, New Jersey leads the way with New York a close second and Massachusetts coming in a tight third. The lockdown measures in California were stern and swift; overnight the state became the no-fun zone as COVID-19 surged. One could argue because of the swift action of the Governor’s Office, many deaths and the spread of the coronavirus were prevented, and the rebound that the state is now experiencing is directly related.

Governor Newsom said his actions moving forward would be dictated by the data. One of the key issues we faced globally, and especially in California, is that the intensive care and emergency rooms were being overwhelmed with COVID patients. It makes sense to want to limit the spread of the virus. But American pushed back. In states like Michigan, their Supreme Court acted to limit Governor Whitmer’s emergency orders on October 2, 2020.

“The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer concerning her many emergency orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.” WWJ Radio

This week in late April, Michigan is having their highest COVID cases since April of 2020, and their hospitals beds are filled with patients. Meanwhile in California, people are still wearing masks, and the spread of the disease is on the decline.

Maybe this is just bad optics, but Governor Newsome was seen dining at The French Laundry, an upscale eatery in Northern California. In mid-December, he issued the closure of all restaurant dining restaurants after many had spent money to ramp up for the holiday season and prepare their eateries for outdoor activities.

The optics were terrible. Some businesses were forced to close for good, people were out of jobs, and many were left without an escape to home life. In addition, some of the smaller cities in California did not see the high numbers as their associated county, and data was suggesting that outdoor dining did not spread the disease. This became the battle of restaurant v. county as many restaurateurs balked at the data used to close.

There is no doubt Governor Newsom has done and will continue to do some great things for the state of California. Did he do a good job handling the pandemic? Yes and no. Raise your hand if you are perfect at your job (that is a rhetorical question). He made some mistakes. He is in the public eye so the pictures of him at a fancy restaurant while business owners are forced to close, and people are being laid off is hard to swallow.

There is a valid argument that we were forced closed too much and for too long without looking at all the data, but time will tell, and it is already beginning to show as we look at Michigan that maybe this was good health but bad politics.

By Dane Flanigan