COLUMN: Halloween partygoers exchanged their masks for clown costumes
Partying on Halloween shows a lack of respect for the safety and health of others, especially with Thanksgiving break approaching and people heading home.
Nov. 07, 2020
Cela Migan is a sophomore journalism major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about daily life for The Maneater.
In the age of COVID-19, Halloween is the one day a year when people can indulge their imaginations and dress up however they’d like. Everyone else can commend their costume creativity. That is, unless they went out and partied. If that’s the case, you can’t sit with me.
This year, the scariest thing about Halloween was the mass amounts of people who went out and partied despite America’s third COVID-19 wave.
Reported cases hit a record and national high on Nov. 1 with nearly 100,000 cases in one day nationwide. Although increased testing exposes more cases, statistics show hospitalizations and overall rate of positive tests increasing, which cannot be explained by increased testing alone. With the regular flu season approaching and people moving to gather indoors, it’s likely the number of cases will only continue to rise.
Experts point to college students as the biggest drivers of the most recent wave, given their propensity to spread COVID-19 in classrooms, dorms, restaurants, clubs and parties. According to a Vox article, younger people are less likely to suffer major complications from contracting COVID-19, but they can still get seriously ill and die from COVID-19. They may also infect at-risk individuals like parents, teachers and the immunocompromised they encounter.
Opting to party on Halloween in the midst of COVID-19 is incredibly selfish and dangerous. Doing so puts one in danger, as well as anyone else who may come into close contact with them.
Already having contracted COVID-19 does not grant a green light to party due to previous exposure and immunity. It’s possible to contract COVID-19 twice due to waning immunity, a weak immune system response and a mutation of the virus. Individuals may also be asymptomatic and unknowingly carry and spread the virus.
Most individuals don’t fully recover or die from COVID-19. Instead, they may experience unpredictable and disabling symptoms for months, according to TIME Magazine. Researchers and experts have no idea what the long-term effects of COVID-19 may yield. The promise of a vaccine and herd immunity will not save thousands of Americans from contracting COVID-19 in the coming months.
Many people showed their true colors on Halloween when they posted pictures of themselves and friends partying in large groups with little to no social distancing and masks. In forgoing their masks for Halloween makeup and costumes, they also removed their mask of performative activism.
It’s hypocritical to post about COVID-19 safety, voting, the Black Lives Matter movement and other social justice issues without taking into consideration the privilege associated with being able to party and feeling it’s “safe enough.”
COVID-19 disproportionately affects communities of color, as “African Americans get infected and die from COVID-19 at rates more than 1.5 times their share of the population,” according to NPR. Additionally, COVID-19 related deaths in Hispanic and Latino communities steadily rose since May. These statistics expose the systemic issues at play, and partying negates performative activism in its harmful and entitled nature.
Thanksgiving break is weeks away, and many people may bring the virus home with them even if they don’t know it. Be courteous and get tested before going home. To be extra cautious and safe, self-quarantine two weeks before break. As the holiday season approaches, give the gift of safety to peers by continuing to social distance, wear masks and abide by MU’s COVID-19 guidelines.
In pursuit of racial and social equity, The Maneater encourages its readers to donate to The Conscious Kid’s COVID-19 #RENTRELIEF fund for families. The Conscious Kid is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting families and communities, that sends funds raised to families for rent, food and monthly bills. Donate at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/RentReliefForFamilies
Edited by Sofi Zeman | firstname.lastname@example.org