During an interview on Spotifyâs â10 Questions With Kyle Brandtâ podcast, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins explained his âsurvival of the fittestâ approach to the coronavirus pandemic, revealing his disbelief in mask wearings effectiveness and his relaxed outlook towards possibly contracting the virus. When asked to rate his level of concern from one to ten, with one being Âthe person who says, âMasks are stupid, youâre all a bunch of lemmings,â and 10 is, âIâm not leaving my master bathroom for the next 10 years.'â
Cousins replied, in an answer virtually no other celebrity or athlete would publicly state, âIâm not gonna call anybody stupid, for the trouble it would get me in. But Iâm about a .000001.â
âI want to respect what other peopleâs concerns are. For me personally, just talking no one else can get the virus, what is your concern if you could get it, I would say Iâm gonna go about my daily life. If I get it, Iâm gonna ride it out. Iâm gonna let nature do its course,Â Cousins elaborated. ÂSurvival-of-the-fittest kind of approach. And just say, if it knocks me out, it knocks me out. Iâm going to be OK. You know, even if I die. If I die, I die. I kind of have peace about that.â
When asked about his opinion regarding masks, he believes wearing the mask âis really about being respectful to other people,Â and Âhas nothing do with my own personal thoughts.â
âI even think within the building, thereâs gonna be a dichotomy of people who couldnât care less about the virus, have no concern about it, have never lost a minute of sleep about it,â Cousins described as the general reaction if someone sneezed in the huddle. âAnd then you get people on the other side of the spectrum who, every second of every day, theyâre consumed with fear about it.Â
âWhat you donât know is whoâs where on the spectrum when you first go back.â
Of course, the visceral media backlash and misrepresentation of his arguments, painting him as a lunatic who ÂdownplayedÂ, according to a Sports Illustrated headline, the covid pandemic with his opinions, came swiftly. Sports media hounded him, with USA TodayÂs Touchdownwire arguing his opinion Âis why we canât have nice thingsÂ and SBNation believing his Âcomments on masks could embolden the wrong people.Â
Though a tad insensitive on the surface, we must understand not once does he advocate refusal to participate in safety protocols or attempts to apply his personal beliefs into public policy, since both the questions and answers remained in the theoretical. Rather, CousinsÂ arguments did not address practical implementations but an outlook. If anything, Cousins deserves, at least, a degree of commendation for selflessly wearing a mask and following the NFLÂs guidelines out of sheer respect despite his personal beliefs. But his generally relaxed demeanor deserves legitimacy as a proper perspective and should set the precedent for how we come to our own conclusions on the coronavirus pandemic.
For months, the media has promulgated a swirling panic, desiring a system of compliance under the guise of public health. Regardless of our own personal risk assessments, regardless of statesÂ rights to decide whatÂs best for their citizens, locking down and wearing masks became a moral matter. Since Florida and Georgia re-opened their economies early and instituted softer lockdown measures, Governors Ron DeSantis and Brian Kemp have blood on their hands. Anyone who goes to a party threatens everyoneÂs lives.Â
No longer does the media allow us to come to our own judgements and accept the consequences of which direction we choose. If an individual decides, since they have no underlying medical conditions and fall outside the age group at the highest risk, to draw back on the extent of their safety measures by mostly resuming their typical lifestyle and going to a party alongside others who understand the risk of their actions, no injustice occurred. Those who wish to lock themselves down and abide by stringent safety measures similarly commit no injustice. However, once respect for either side is lost, then injustice could occur.Â
This is the nature of politics. Conflicting philosophies permitted to coexist while we debate the cogency of each side. But, as exposed by the coronavirus pandemic, the Left views politics fundamentally differently. Instead of debating philosophy and possessing the right to freely enact our individual will, under the pretense we donÂt infringe upon others rights, the Left views politics as a science with a knowable, traceable end in which all of history progresses towards. Stand in the way of progress and be run over.Â
Once we allow the lab coats to map out our lives and decide whatÂs best for us, true happiness can be achieved. According to the Left, the scientists know how to run our lives better than we can and the greatest sin is disobedience from their dogmas. As a new heretic of science, Cousins will face the vehement rejection from the Left, run over by the progressive vision, despite still holding respect for othersâ concern by wearing a mask.Â
Besides, living in a state of constant panic has sparked a disturbing flare of mental health issues across the nation, a second pandemic of depression. Calls to the Disaster Distress Helpline, which offers counseling and emotional support, surged 335% from March through July. A survey from Boston University found that half of U.S. adults reported at least some signs of depression, such as hopelessness, feeling like a failure or getting little pleasure from doing things. According to the CDC, the national rate of anxiety tripled from this point last year and depression almost quadrupled. 75% of young adults (18-24) experienced at least one mental health condition.Â
Simply put, humans cannot exist under perpetual fear. Especially for young adults, social isolation on top of missing out of milestones in their lives such as going to college and graduating high school results in a devastating escalation of the mental health crisis, one that we cannot pretend deserves less attention than the coronavirus pandemic. To claim Cousins, along with all others who agree with his stance, as downplaying the coronavirus pandemic imposes unnecessary panic for a virus whose death total is 80% older than 65 years of age.Â
Fear does not have to be compulsory. Respect for others concern should be a prerequisite however blind allegiance to the mediaÂs sensationalization disrupts the political process, as the media narrows the scope of politics to a singular path, and gives way to a mental health crisis. We must also refrain from positioning the coronavirus pandemic in a moral sense. Only failure to show respect for the opposing side can be determined sin. Above all else, we all face coronavirus and we must find unity in that, regardless of our individual judgements.Â
Political Communications major at Illinois State University. Vince aut morire, my fellow patriots.