Renegade Roundtable discusses the impact of COVID-19 on people and society

Razan Makhlouf, Reporter

Bakersfield College group renegade roundtable had a virtual discussion called “COVID-19 and the Political Landscape” on Feb. 16.

Four different professors from Bakersfield College represented their diverse perspectives about the effect of COVID-19 on the community, the nation, and the world.

The BC faculty professors were, Michael Harvath, Erin Miller, Daniel Gomes, and Gloria Dumler. The discussion was hosted by Professor Reggie Williams.

It’s been almost a year since COVID-19 has affected just about every facet of peoples’ lives, yet some people are skeptical about taking a new vaccine.

Harvath thinks that we are in a race against time, as the illness continues to mutate into different variants.

“If you take the vaccine, you’re helping other people. We have to give the vaccine to as many people who want it as fast as possible,” he said. Harvath also stressed the importance of wearing masks and criticized individuals who refuse to wear them. “If you assert your freedom to cough in the store, you’re not helping other people,” Harvath said.

Miller questioned the governmental and social response to Covid-19. With shutdowns, curfews, and censorship, one is left wondering why some businesses are left open and others are shut. Also why public schools are closed but not private schools, and why are we able to shop at big stores and not others? “Social media is silencing anyone who raises questions about vaccines,” Miller said.

Miller shared her thoughts on the struggles that working parents are undergoing with their children. While some parents are fortunate enough to work from home and stay with their children, others are essential workers and are forced to leave their children behind. “Heartbreaking decisions we are asking people to make.” said Miller.

Gomes talked about the importance of understanding why communities have been affected by COVID-19. “Industrial agriculture, massive destruction of wetlands, putting animals near farms, and climate change, all these created perfect conditions for this disease to spread,” he said.

Gomes also talked about why the South Bronx had the highest death rates in the United States. Gomes said “Largest portion of its workforce is committed to healthcare facilities. They pack as many people as possible in there.”

Dumler shared her perspective on the impact of COVID-19 isolation and mental health. She said that humans need to socialize one way or the other, and while some individuals need that physical interaction in public, others are more prone to staying in the comfort of their homes. “You don’t contact everyone when you’re in isolation,” she said.