March 2020, little did I or hundreds of other law students in the metro- New York area know would be the final month in a normal law school setting.
As the world has turned upside down because of a virus that was unfamiliar up to recent months, it has become evident that we not just as law students but as citizens and decent, rational human beings have a bigger part to play in society now. Not only are we in the age of social media we are now in the age of emphasizing and practicing social distancing.
We have to do our part in order to flatten the curve. However, many individuals are not practicing what authorities and science has warned. Similarly, with laws and regulations that have been enforced for several years, people have a duty to obey the regulations, changes, and warnings currently arising in society. Many individuals think they can go out into society and get on with their lives because the virus does not affect them, that they are invincible and will be untouched and unharmed by this virus.
The virus, however does affect you. The virus is silent, symptoms sometimes do not even appear until days later and until that time, you may have infected others.
The virus indisputably has affected and impacted the entire world. The educational system is one of the main components in society that will forever be impacted by this virus, with schools shuttering close, cancelling graduation ceremonies and changing their school routines to online applications. This adapting and evolving within the educational system, is just the beginning of the effects of this virus. There is a socio-economic disparity due to this virus, as some schoolchildren who used to rely on breakfast and lunch from school are now struggling each day. The place that was once a safe haven for many, is now gone for most.
Students’ futures are jeopardized and in a monopoly. College students and law students alike, are still trying to find jobs or trying to figure out their next summer internships. Businesses have closed and restaurants are impacted and adjusting how to maintain clients. Families from lower-income and middle-incomes, are struggling and fighting to stay afloat.
However, up to 28,000 tri-state lives have been lost as of April 28. The United States has reached 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of April 28. Lives are shattered and taken away, families have been devastated due to this virus. This virus is priority now in America and in many nations.
Many politicians are frustrated and want to open back up their states and get businesses or big corporations running. However, as New York Gov. Cuomo has stated, “They want to fund corporate America . . . I say fund working Americans." Not only do I agree with Cuomo’s ideology however, I might even add that the priority should be the lives that can be saved. America is adapting to this invisible virus.
Whether it is practicing social distancing or quarantining. Whether it is staying on lockdown in certain regions. States are also amending their licensing rules and telehealth rules. Regulations such as these are adapting in order to allow for more doctors and nurses to practice and battle against COVID-19. Telehealth rules are modifying in order to allow for quicker accessibility to healthcare amidst the pandemic, as well.
Many people may be angry with their government as they are unable to work, which is understandable. Or they are frustrated because they are unable to go get a haircut or take a stroll in the mall—which is less comprehensible. I recall watching a video of a protest occurring against staying home. A woman stated that she felt that her freedom was being restricted and there were no laws that could kill her freedom because of a virus.
There is, however, rules and laws that help to prevent the spread of infectious disease. The federal government, for example, derives its authority for isolation and quarantine from the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
As a third- year law student, I wondered how the virus would affect my friends at other law schools, preparing for that next big step in our legal careers. Bar examinations have either been postponed or adapted to an online platform. Our final exams were online take-homes or were cancelled. While this may seem to be the end of the world for some, it is not. This too shall pass.
As a third-year law student who had the opportunity and luxury to be taking courses online safely from home and working from home for my final internship before I begin my legal career in August, I realized how rapidly laws and regulations are shifting around the country due to this virus. Telehealth and telemedicine are altering, accessibility to healthcare is changing. For my final internship at a health-technology company, I saw how this pandemic has impacted healthcare in some positive ways—in order to make the world safer for healthcare workers and patients. However, there is a long and arduous way to go to make greater improvements.
The world is evolving due to this pandemic. As thousands of essential workers, healthcare professionals, grocery store workers, and postal service employees are adapting to this virus, we as civilians also have a duty to adhere to state government, federal government, and health experts. We have a duty to adapt to the changing world we are currently living in. This virus is increasing mortality and cases each day. While an individual may not believe the virus will affect them, it can.
You may not know that you will have the virus because a majority of people who may have the virus will either not show symptoms or show mild symptoms. As this virus has no cure as of yet and symptoms are usually unnoticeable or mild, citizens should adhere to health experts and professionals knowledgeable in the field of health and infectious diseases. CDC recommends to avoid contact with people whom are sick, to stay home as much as possible, and to put distance between yourself and others. This not only can protect yourself, but it can help protect others.
It is a terrifying and tremendously odd time to live in. It is difficult. It is different. Even if we cannot walk across that stage this spring to get our diplomas, or take a walk at the mall or get a haircut, there is something bigger than ourselves happening right now. In this age of social media, of wanting to be out somewhere and traveling or taking in everything, we need to take a step back and realize that there is something more that we need to do. We all need to play our part and we all have an evolving responsibility and duty. We all have to adapt to what is going on in the world.