Under the Button is part of a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

OP-ED: Stop Acting Like the Pandemic Is Over and Start Acting Like It Never Happened


Photo by Max Mester / The Daily Pennsylvanian

While walking down Locust the other day, I noticed people were picnicking, playing Spikeball, coffee-chatting — all without masks. Granted, they were in pods of three or four, but it still felt strange. The warm weather unleashed something within Penn students, and perhaps when the clouds parted, we saw the end of the pandemic on the horizon. Across Philadelphia, COVID-19 cases have slowed. Thousands of vaccines are being administered every day. It’s clear people want to act as if the pandemic is over. But we can’t. We cannot just act as if the pandemic is over — we need to take it one step further. We need to start acting like it never happened in the first place. 

The pandemic sucks. This past year has traumatized all of us in a gruesome way. What is next for America? What lies ahead? How are we as a nation going to move forward from here? Considering the magnitude and severity of the emotional wound, the only way I see forward is to erase COVID-19 from our collective memory, completely and thoroughly.

We may never recall all we found to be normal prior to the beginning of the pandemic, but we should not get caught up in the importance of trying to regain that sense of normalcy; we need to do more. The following is a list of activity I propose we do to effectively eradicate any remnant of COVID-19’s impact on our lives:

  1. Erase Our Digital Footprints: We have all acknowledged the pandemic in one way or another through social media — whether it’s posting pictures with masks or liking Fauci’s Facebook posts. However, the existence of the posts means that we can never erase the impacts of the pandemic from our collective consciousness. First, we must delete these photos, and prohibit posts that indicate the existence of a mass global pandemic. That much is clear. But it’s not enough. In order to completely erase our digital footprint from the era of COVID, we must all delete our social media accounts entirely. But still — it’s not enough. We must bring our laptops and phones to the nearest electronic recycling and dispose of them forever. It’s no huge loss — planned obsolescence meant your Mac only had about 2 or 3 years left anyway. Only in this post-COVID world can we resume posting our selfies. 
  2. Trial and Execution of Zoom: Zoom must be tried for its crimes against humanity. The video conferencing platform has not only ensured the ubiquity of labor in every possible site of our lives but also estranged us from any semblance of the private, the intimate, or the personal. Naturally, Zoom software must be deleted from any device in a mass hack orchestrated by the United States government. The CEO of Zoom, Eric Yuan, along with his co-conspirators must be brought to justice in front of the International Court of Justice in the United Nations.
  3. Mass Administration of Lobotomy: the superficial procedure delineated above for wiping out COVID-19’s visible trace in our lives is not enough. We must ensure that not even memories of this past year’s ordeal be passed down to posterity. It is absolutely imperative that the entire population receives the surgical procedure of the lobotomy so that the collective consciousness will be forever free of COVID-19. This procedure could be provided at your next annual check-up — free of charge! 

If we as a nation — nay, a global community — take these steps, COVID will surely be erased from our collective consciousness. Granted, with it might go dearly held memories of Zoom acapella shows and TikTok dances (that you never quite mastered, did you), but that is a price we must be willing to pay. We may never eliminate the reality of COVID-19, but we can always eliminate its memory.

MEGAN STRIFF-CAVE and LIWA SUN are two smoke shows with amazing tits.