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    Civic Illiteracy in times of COVID-19

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    During these six months of Pandemic in which we have lived under constant restrictive measures by the Ministry of Health, at some point we questioned what the behavior of a certain group of the population responds to, since at first glance they seem not to take COVID seriously, unlike other people that follow the health security measures strictly.

    Abelardo Morales, a sociologist at the National University’s School of Sociology (UNA), explained that this “unconsciousness” is due to a problem of civic illiteracy of these groups, which has also been reinforced by ways of thinking that are closer to selfishness, to the lack of solidarity and social commitment and thus putting individual interests before the common good.

    “The behavior of a sector of society that, as well as not being aware of the magnitude of this crisis, is a segment that will also reproduce irresponsible behavior in other situations and at other times,” Morales said. The researcher pointed out that it is clear that there are individuals who act irresponsibly and in a conscious way go against and attack the rules, regulations and health recommendations.

    But in other countries the reactions have been worse, there are massive demonstrations, even politically and ideologically oriented by groups that adhere to conspiracy currents. Morales added that there will be those who do not act consciously, but because of a low education –even if they have degrees-, because of their low cultural level, even due to problems of low social self-esteem; individuals easily dragged away by the force of the horde.

    Other factors

    On the other hand, added the sociologist, the behavior from other people at risk of contagion, respond to a series of other social factors and external to the will of people, such as having to go out to work, living under certain conditions of physical overcrowding and, of course, little experience as a society to coexist in situations of crisis, isolation and rupture with daily life.

    For Morales, the majority of the population has followed the recommendations, but there are those who cannot avoid the risk of contagion due to their social condition or their responsibilities: police, garbage collectors, domestic workers, construction workers, that is, they are segments of workers with low levels of protection who have become ill, and for that reason they cannot be blamed, because they are exposed to tasks of some risk or they have to mobilize through means that do not necessarily protect them from contagion.

    The sociologist concludes that: “the social conditions under which the epidemic spreads must be analyzed and thus we will realize that it is not individual or psychological factors that explain it, but mostly social and labor factors, aggravated in some cases by others educational and cultural factors”.

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