Sympathizing with Super-Spreaders?

I’ve never thought to sympathize with those who have been super-spreaders of the coronavirus. However, The Public-Shaming Pandemic highlights the detrimental effects that passerby and social media users can create when they attack and target those who have been infected. I believe, like most bioethical issues, there is a fine balance to be struck. The coronavirus is a mystery. Many didn’t understand how contagious it was and how to contain themselves, especially as early as February. They didn’t want the virus, and most who were infected didn’t know that they had it. But there’s a fundamental societal problem if celebrities and wealthy people are spreading the virus because they can pay the costs and utilize their status and wealth to recover. This, in itself, is a perfect reflection of the capitalist system. It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that the 1% is exacerbating the virus for the 99%. Rather there lies a primary issue of privilege, and in many cases, ignorance. Most cannot afford to fly to a luxurious spot in Europe where they would get infected, and then stay in a deluxe hospital, and receive unlimited time off work to recover. Many people couldn’t even get tests, so why should Nga Nguyen have special priority? 

It isn’t her fault that she was born into a system that would continually favor her. It is the social and political system behind it. Privilege flows into every facet of their lives, while the opposite exists for the less privileged. I don’t blame those who have lost relatives, gotten laid off from work, and struggle to feed their families for using social media as an outlet to release their anger at the inequalities that are being brought to light. Social media has always been a frenzy. It was made so that there doesn’t need to be any identity behind offensive messages. 

I saw this “public-shaming” transpire just recently, when supermodel Kendall Jenner had a giant birthday party. She, of course, received backlash. I understand why, but I believe this anger should not be directed at her character, but rather her ability to ignore health precautions and put others at risk. This is obviously a problem. Therefore, as Max notes, “digital shaming can succeed when other forms of political action fail.” In this way, social media gives people a sense of accountability that can actually make legal change.

So, who is at fault? Is it Nga and Kendall or the global wealth gap and capitalist America?

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