Our future is us vs. us. COVID-19 is not the problem; we are.

For hundreds and hundreds of years, mankind has survived through cataclysmic events, things that changed the world and all its creatures and features ... forever. Call me a skeptic, but humans persevered through these things that happened within science and biology, evolution, the will to survive, and, yes, some luck.

Today, people are empowered through their fingertips. The invention of the World Wide Web completely changed mankind ... forever. And this is where it gets murky.

Things can be said, done or found within a matter of seconds, reaching out to billions of people at times. Factual, true information is now a gray area because so many sites argue for the other way. People firmly believe what they read or see on TV or the internet is true, mostly without any research into where the information they’re reading comes from.

And this is where COVID-19 vs. mankind comes into play. People are mad, upset, furious, angry, whatever word you want to use to describe our nation, let alone the world. And not just at the governments, but at each other. I claim no party. I claim no “this side or that side.” I believe doing what’s right, no matter the cost, is what should be done.

American states are choosing to open schools virtually, while some states are choosing to return the students to a physical classroom setting; we all know this. But before these decisions were made, people were posting complaints saying things that can be summarized by a few sentences such as “open up schools,” “what are parents supposed to do, not work?” “The government needs to do its job.” But what will these people say once schools open and children, teenagers, teachers, staff, coaches and athletes start testing positive, and in some cases, could pass away? The blame will be shifted and instead of their previous statements of “open up schools, what are parents supposed to do, not work?”, they will be saying it’s the government’s fault for opening up schools.

If people were not so empowered through a virtual network, where they can say anything at any time, would COVID-19 even be a problem right now? If all states mandated PPE and social/physical distancing measures, and there was no social media, would people just do what’s best and what’s right? Would they not try to argue “masks are a waste of time”?

We are the problem. Not COVID-19. Mankind has survived through similar things and persevered. I believe we will again, but to what extent will the self-inflicted damage be to our morals, values and personalities?

Patrick Olson lives in Yakima.