The lack of empathy plays a role in the behavior of both scientists and people in the United States regarding the Coronavirus outbreak. Unfortunately, many Americans are confused and have a lack of trust in healthcare professionals because of the mixed opinions regarding masks and ways to prevent the virus.
Americans have seen the numbers increase and blame scientists for not having the answers to a cure or ways to prevent the spread of the virus. Americans are seeing the issues of the virus from only their perspective and form opinions based on the failures of the scientists and not the work scientists are putting in.
Since Covid-19 first emerged at the end of 2019, many medical professors and scientists have done research to provide answers and a cure. One medical professor, John Ioannidis, wrote a proactive article and “argued in mid-March that scientists didn’t have enough information on the prevalence of Covid-19 and the consequences of the infection on a population basis to justify the most extreme lockdown measure” (Flier and Prasad). Ioannidis received personal attacks and disparaging comments on his article.
Ioannidis had put in the work but needed more information and time to give an accurate report on what is best for the entire population. Scientists and other medical professors like John Ioannidis are working under stressful conditions and the pressure from the media and news to provide the best possible safety guidelines. If Americans considered this perspective of the scientists and realized the amount of time, research, and trials that need to be done to report safety procedures for the country, they would be more empathetic.
Empathy is something that has been lost since the outbreak of the Coronavirus. In an interview with Alan Alda, he said that “this pandemic is a real test to our empathy” (Garcia-Navarro). The new struggles and challenges that emerged from the Coronavirus are causing people to lose empathy for one another during these stressful times. Alan Alda describes empathy as “getting a reading as well as you can of what they’re going through, what they maybe suffering from. And thats important to think about them as clearly as you think about yourself and protecting them” (Garcia-Navarro).
It is important, especially during the stressful times of the Coronavirus, to try to understand how others are feeling like Alan Alda stated. Americans are struggling to understand and consider the feelings of those who are suffering. People have become very judgmental as to what is the best way to prevent the spread and struggle to trust health professionals.
Healthcare professionals such as John Ioannidis are working to inform the community and rather than consider his research and opinions, citizens decided to disagree in a rude manner and disregard his perspective. Empathy needs to be shown to Ioannidis, in addition to all the other scientists, healthcare professionals, and people who are experiencing the effects of the virus.
Empathy helps one another relate to the suffering or challenges that someone is experiencing. Empathy should be used as a positive way to express oneself and build each other up as a community, rather than create division and hate. Americans need to see the Coronavirus from a different perspective to avoid the dangers of a single story. In addition, Americans need to have empathy for others and understand the views and feelings that everyone is experiencing during this bizarre time.
Jeffrey S. Flier and Vinay Prasad. “Let’s Hear Scientists with Different Covid-19 Views, Not Attack Them.” STAT, 28 Apr. 2020, www.statnews.com/2020/04/27/hear-scientists-different-views-covid-19-dont-attack-them/.
Garcia-Navarro, Lulu. “Alan Alda On The Importance Of Empathy During The COVID-19 Pandemic.” NPR, NPR, 13 Sept. 2020, www.npr.org/2020/09/13/912424799/alan-alda-on-the-importance-of-empathy-during-the-covid-19-pandemic.