Pulse Magazine: Volume 16, Issue 3

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Volume 16 Issue 3

Letter from the Editor By the time you’re reading this, you might be on campus, retracing eerily familiar hallways and greeting teachers and your fellow classmates from six feet away. You might have already received both doses of the vaccine, shrugging off trivial arm soreness for the greater good. You might be checking out of your classes, even more than usual, getting ready for a safe and well-deserved spring break, the only cure to March burnout. There is one thing for certain -- we have passed a grim anniversary: March 13. I remember hearing in my Art History class last year about COVID-19 reaching a precipice, forcing schools to shut down for two weeks. It was viewed at the time as an extended spring break. What high school student wouldn’t want that? How terribly off-base we all were. It is possible that the person you are today and the person you were a year ago are entirely different, as quarantine has provided more than ample time for self-reflection. Sure, this may have taken form in an eccentric conglomeration of new hobbies, but hopefully also a myriad of effervescent habits. Unfortunately, it could have also resulted in some dark personal bouts. Please know that you were not alone in these feelings, as a grim melancholy has been present for many throughout the pandemic, and take pride in your ability to overcome and persevere through such difficulties. Somehow, even though in some moments it didn’t seem possible, we have survived more than a year in quarantine. In the face of incomprehensible change just a year ago, we managed to adapt and perhaps even thrive in some quiet moments. That’s certainly something of which to be proud. Yet, amidst a period of recovery from great upheaval and an opportunity to redefine what our “normal” truly looks like, we find ourselves experiencing a horrific familiarity with recent mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado. In particular, a few weeks ago in Atlanta, a man opened fire in multiple spas killing eight people -- six of whom were Asian women. The lack of willingness by some to label this tragic event a hate crime demonstrates a purposeful disregard for the racism and bigotry experienced by many in this country every day. Reminiscent of protests last summer, we again find ourselves in the malicious company of hatred and willful ignorance, just now bringing attention to the rise of anti-Asian violence in this country all while eight families mourn an irreplaceable loss in the name of someone “having a bad day.” At Pulse, we proudly stand with the AAPI community. We proudly stand with families of all victims of anti-Asian violence and racism. And we will continue to proudly stand against discrimination and social injustices in all its vile forms. Searching for optimism, we now find ourselves in a gorgeous spring -- perhaps opt for a socially-distanced picnic with a group of friends or buy someone (or yourself) a bouquet of flowers just for kicks. Here at Pulse, we are flinging right into these warmer months and exploring a plethora of topics, cultivated especially for you, our readers. Take a few moments to unwind with Rebecca Danzig’s article Peace of Mind or check out Frances Chai’s take on the college admissions process in Rejection Reflection. For crime-lovers, indulge in The Bridge, in which Alex Reinsch-Goldstein debunks haunting local history. Not only did our staff cultivate 16 distinctive and carefully-crafted written pieces, we are also lucky enough to be surrounded by an abundance of artistry here at Pulse. Joining Creative Director Angela Zhang’s ethereal manner is Shinhae Kang’s lovely spring scene on the cover. Returning to this issue is Fiona Choo and Isabella Kwon to grace articles with unique styles that work in tandem with one another in a wonderful way. In light of a new season, Pulse takes on a delicate and muted palette, while continuing its signature minimalistic designs. Over a year later, a new season has brought upon us a profuse amount of possibilities, and hopefully opportunities for positive social change, that are blooming right before our eyes. We here at Pulse have noticed this and have taken full advantage of ripe ideas ready for your picking, while reserving our trademark aptness. Without further ado, it is our pleasure to present Volume 16, Issue 3 of Pulse Magazine. Sincerely, Izzy Ster


The era of answering a hundred different questions about your personality, work ethic, and leadership skills in 300 words or less is over -you have finally applied to the last college on your list. In the next few months, you enjoy the newfound freedom of not having applications weighing over your head anymore. Spending hours binging Criminal Minds episodes is now a guilt-free activity. You cross the

threshold from first semester to second, officially reaching the treasured milestone of becoming a second semester senior. The air is heavy with promise, hope, and anticipation as you and your friends wait for the college decisions to start rolling in. In particular, you are waiting for one specific email from one specific university that will lead to, hopefully, one specific answer. Admittance to Stanvard University*

would signify the fulfillment of a lifelong dream and an answer from the universe that everything you have worked for is all worth it. Finally, the day comes. One email, one decision sitting in the school portal. All that’s left to do is to open it. Your heart is pounding. This is it, and the answer is…rejected. Denial: Maybe, just maybe, in your overly excited state, you misread. Maybe “regret to inform”

4 *Not a real school. Please don’t try and apply. I guarantee you won’t get in.

is just admissions office slang for “GET READY TO MOVE IN BECAUSE WE WANT YOU!”, right? You read through the letter and then reread, scanning for any wording or messages that could lead to another, much more desired, result. You have every single one of your family members, friends, and neighbors read through it as well. It is impossible for you to accept this, surely false, decision made on your

application. This has to be a mistake. There’s no way this is the conclusion that your lifelong fantasy has come to. Anger: How dare they? HOW DARE THEY? You did everything right. Your Common App essay, and the 15 drafts that came before it, were seen by three different, esteemed college counselors before they were submitted and spanned a variety of topics from quirky to sob story. Each one follows the foolproof (at least you thought it was foolproof) equation of just the right amount of bragging to show confidence coupled with the right amount of charming humility. You have a carefully curated list of extracurricular activities and AP classes to showcase your ability to balance a challenging course load while doing good for the community and furthering your skills outside the classroom. The teachers who wrote your letters of recommendation might as well be your godparents. There must be something seriously wrong with the admissions officers who read your application. You wish them all a life of nothing but warmth on both sides of their pillows

and Legos under their feet. Bargaining: If only, if only, if only. If only you had taken that AP class instead of that free period. If only you had said yes to that volunteering opportunity instead of “balancing” your schedule. If only you had studied harder to earn a transcript of all A’s instead of spending time with your friends and family. If only you had written about something more eclectic or heart-wrenching in your essays. If only your parents foresaw the future and attended Stanvard University to give you the legacy advantage. If only you were on the rowing team. If only you had created the COVID-19 vaccine before the pandemic existed. If only there was a park bench or library with your last name on it on campus. If only you were best friends with the Dean of Admissions (or, better yet, directly related). If only, if only, if only... Depression: How could you have ever thought that you’d be in the .02% who get admitted each year? When you think about it, there’s nothing truly outstanding about you. In the eyes of the admissions

office, you’re a dime a dozen. In fact, why would any school want you? There’s no point in even hoping for acceptance somewhere else because, no matter where you get into, it won’t hold a candle next to the one that just rejected you. Your life is basically over. You can’t help but compare yourself to all your friends and classmates who got into their dream schools. How do you move on from this? Acceptance: Everything happens for a reason. For whatever reason, the

Remember, it’s not what rejections do to you, but what rejections can do for you. universe has decided that this school isn’t the one for you. It’s not a reflection of who you are as a person, or even who you are as a student. At the end of the day, you did all that you could and all your life accomplishments thus far aren’t diminished because of a decision made

by some person you’ve never met in a room you’ve never been in. In the next few months, Stanvard University will be nothing more than “a school that was on your list” because you’ll be committed to the right one for you. College application season takes a serious toll on students and, unfortunately, the sentiment doesn’t stop once you see the confetti explode on the Common App portal for the last time. In a world where we can’t help but compare ourselves to everyone else and put our self worth in the hands of material things, it’s important to remember that our value is inherent -- it’s not going anywhere. Remember, it’s not what rejections do to you but what rejections can do for you. Now, it’s time to enjoy the post college rejection clarity. Taking off the rose-colored glasses allows you to see which possibilities are vibrantly colorful and which ones are nothing but shades of gray. Remember that in the grand scheme of things, school only takes up a short portion of what will be a fulfilling life.


By Frances Chai

Peace of Mind As we entered the new decade last year, we were excited and ready to start a new chapter in our lives. Incoming freshmen began high school at CCA, sophomores adjusted to their first AP classes, juniors prepared for standardized tests, and seniors were ready to rock out their final year of high school. Nobody could have predicted the changes that COVID-19 would bring on March 13th, 2020, when school shut down. Our lives were forever changed, as we became quarantined for weeks on end, uncertain and anxious of what the future could bring. It has been a rollercoaster of changes, including finding things to keep us occupied. It’s stressful and difficult to keep an open mind and


stay positive in what seems like a nightmarish cross between an action-horror movie with no ending in sight. In times like these, mindfulness is key to staying sane. Just taking a few moments out of your day to stop and breathe can make a beneficial impact. Before practicing mindfulness for the first time, something you need to know is that your mind will wander. Taking a few moments to focus on yourself causes many thoughts to arise in your mind. You may start thinking about chores you have to do or your math homework. However, the key is to recognize that your mind is wandering -that's where mindfulness comes in. This recognition is the first step to staying present in the moment, and keeping you from undergoing the motions of your quotidian life unconsciously, as COVID-19 has made us feel zombie-like in our own homes. We are always on autopilot. Waking up, opening up our computers, doing homework, and falling back on whatever habits we have accumulated during the

pandemic. Yet, we begin to lose ourselves that way, oblivious to our emotions and well-being. That’s why setting a time every day to sit down, close our eyes, and breathe can cause an important shift in our behavior. Whether it's a few minutes before class starts in the morning, during lunch break, or right before you go to bed, mindfulness can be done anytime throughout the day. All that mindfulness requires is to sit and breathe, shutting off your brain's autopilot. Focus on what is happening within your body, what you are feeling in the moment, and what you are doing to achieve your current goals. Sitting and breathing is not the only method of mindfulness you can practice. Mindful breathing can be done with calming music, some notes that soothe your mind and allow you to further focus on yourself. Mindful listening can be to anything: the sounds just beyond your window, classical music, or any vibrations that allows you to focus on the details of the rhythms. There are specific meditation songs you can find on Youtube, or on apps such as

Headspace and Calm. These apps have meditation music for stress, sleeping troubles, depression, and more. Instead of looking on your phone or turning on the T.V. when you wake up in the morning, focus on the noises you hear. There is also mindful writing, which allows you to express what you see and hear. Take five to ten minutes out of your day to write in a journal about your day, what you noticed about yourself, what’s happening around you, and your intentions for the day. Specifically, you can try gratitude journaling, where you write what you are grateful for in the present. With all the chaos that COVID-19 has brought into our lives, it is important to know that you are not alone in the chaos. Everyone has a common challenge to face, and mindfulness can be the helping hand you need to keep you going until the finish line. Hopefully, you will take these tips with you, and take a few moments out of your day to be patient and kind to yourself. You deserve it.

By Rebecca Danzig

M de r n a Lo v e Ever since COVID-19 has plagued the United States, we have seen many people acknowledge the life-changing impact that masks have and their vital role in limiting cases. People have become accustomed to wearing masks, maintaining six feet of distance from one another, and adapting to the new normal and its restrictions. Yet, they have started to look for a light at the end of the tunnel, something that could turn the tide against the fight. For most, that light is an all-encompassing term we’ve heard talks of since early 2020: the vaccine. However, when it was announced that vaccines were ready to be distributed, many wondered, “when will I be able to get it?” Truthfully, the vaccines are available and have even begun to be distributed, but most of them have not been used. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of January 6, only 5.9 million doses of the 21.4 million doses of the vaccine available have been used by Americans.

On February 12, as reported by US News, President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. would have enough COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate 300 million Americans. So, what is causing this lag in vaccines from getting to point A to point B? On the scientific end, both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, the two primary vaccines used in the United States, have a mRNA base which requires a different kind of storage, distribution, and protocols that distribution sites weren’t fully prepared for. Furthermore, there are some smaller issues that have slowed the process, such as freezers shorting out, understaffed distribution sites, or even people being given a trial vaccine instead of the actual one. These delays have only further contributed to increasingly long lines nationwide. Moreover, there have been quite a few missteps at a trivial level, but they haven’t received much support from the government. The Department of Health

declared they would give additional funds to help states disperse the vaccine across the country, leaving many local facilities to focus on how quickly they had to move forward with inoculation and explaining some of the technical issues that happened at distribution sites. Another reason why there are a gross amount of unused vaccines stagnant in freezers across the country is that the hospitals have chosen to not administer them. States are following the CDC’s guidelines very closely and are choosing to prioritize the order in which the vaccines are distributed rather than focusing on rapidly administering the vaccine to the general public as soon as possible. In most states, the first people in line to get the vaccine are frontline essential healthcare workers and people over the age of 75. The next groups that are in line to get vaccinated are people aged 65-74, people aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions, and different types of essential workers like those who work in

transportation, logistics, housing, etc. While the vaccine is becoming more readily available across the country, there are also new strains of COVID-19 that are invading the U.S.. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says the vaccines that we have are less effective against new strains. However, he continues to claim that taking the vaccine is still essential, despite it being less effective than people had previously hoped. So, when will most people get vaccinated? According to the CDC, the general public should be able to receive their doses by late spring or summer. However, we must realize that getting a vaccine is just a minor part of what we all have to do to eradicate this pandemic. By continuing to wear masks when we’re sick and adhere to public health guidelines, we can make our lives much better even without a vaccine.


By Ryan Bridges

The "Talking" Phase Remember that time you would walk around the halls headed straight to your locker with that gut feeling that your life was about to turn itself upside down and take you on an adventure worthy of its own movie plotline? You felt incredibly giddy as you reminisce about the thirty second interaction you had with your crush. Remember when you would open your locker and a note would fall out, asking you on a date, including the number of


your dream significant other with a bouquet of red roses wrapped in a big red bow? Feeling the butterflies, you would tell your close friends, bursting with an abundance of excitement, sunshine, and rainbow energy. Remember that? Because I don’t (and not just because CCA doesn’t have lockers). That was the pre-21st century era. Now, with a horrific combination of a global pandemic and social media working in tandem, we

simply do not have the same, classic teenage relationships anymore; we’re drifting further and further away from what happens in movies like Sixteen Candles, The Princess Diaries, and A Cinderella Story. Ironically, in a society that has been considered to have progressed so much, it’s quite a conundrum that the essence of teenagehood has been moving backwards. Forget about eye contact, who needs that important method of connection? Instead, you can see someone’s eye picture on Snapchat (since you guys aren’t number one best friends yet, only eye pictures are acceptable). It’s perplexing that people don't even meet each other face-to-face anymore. A generation whose love language is physical touch

or quality time remain affection-starved and have certainly been eliminated from the dating pool. There is no more romantic flirting that straightforwardly leads to a date. There are no clear intentions whatsoever. No one ever says, “let me take you out tonight.” Of course, being young is not all about dating, but it’s a life experience that is vital to the development of our human existence. What do we have in this generation instead? The dreaded, absolutely absurd, most ridiculous concept ever to be created: the “talking” phase. It seems to be everlasting and teaches you absolutely nothing about true love. For those of you who have been living under a rock, have encountered true life experiences, or

By Aimee Han

have never felt the increasing desperation to seek out some sort of romantic pursuit during quarantine, let me tell you all about what the talking phase really is. The phase involves an obsession over Snapchat or Instagram conversations mainly for weeks, but can last months or even a year, at a time. People slide into your DMs (direct messages) to start a conversation or message you on Snapchat to start a streak. The boundaries of the new-found relationship are unclear; it either is a deep friendship or the beginning of a sought-after relationship. Questions range from “how was your day?” to attempted compliments like “I liked your Instagram post haha,” until one person has an immaculate and once-in-a-lifetime surge of courage to ask the other one out. On Snapchat, photos allegedly have double meanings: a black screen means that they’re mad at you, a double snap means they’re unfathomably

interested, and a video snap means they are in love with you. If you explain these associative meanings to a sane person, you’ll most likely sound deranged. Although, once you’re trapped in this stage of

It seems to be everlasting and teaches you absolutely nothing about true love. “dating,” it’s all you have to work with. To reiterate, in most cases, you have never met this person face to face; if you do, be ready to awkwardly avoid any sort of interaction with them for as long as you live. If you do run into them at a coffee shop nearby your home in 20 years and they recognize you, be fully prepared to dramatically run out of the store and move across town. There is nothing more bewildering than a talking stage that eventually ends, leaving you with no closure. However, on the bright side, at least you can leave

that part of your life knowing what their favorite color is and how many AP classes they took. The most unfortunate part of the talking phase is that the conversations don’t often delve deeper. Who cares about what your class schedule is, I want to know why you are the way you are, what you want to achieve in your lifetime, what has had the most profound impact on your personality, what you are terribly afraid of, or what life experiences you want to create. Personally, my favorite question people ask is, “what’s your favorite color?” If anyone is wondering out there, my favorite color is green like the trees in an evergreen forest. Not that it matters,

I’m just trying to be ahead of the game. There remains hope inside me that people out there are ready to be vulnerable, postpandemic, to feel infinite, to feel on top of the world, and to stop overanalyzing the type of Snapchat pictures and messages they receive and instead start asking people to stargaze, roller skate, and drive together with the windows down. From now on, I declare that the talking phase is to be abolished, erased from existence; to win over someone’s heart, we now must find more creative and meaningful ways, such as giving them a sweatshirt of their favorite color or making your crush a playlist.


March 13, 2020: the date in which everything that was once familiar, completely disappeared. As March passed, April melted away, and May rolled around, restaurants closed, social lives became stagnant and prices of essential products skyrocketed; companies like Amazon and Walmart procured massive gains while more and more Americans filed for unemployment, fueling the old saying “the poor will get poorer as the rich will get richer.” However, this notion of rich people obtaining more capital while the poor plummet into poverty isn’t anything new; it’s necessary to maintain a capitalist economy. COVID-19 has emphasized the inherent class divide in the United States and the working class is slowly starting to gain class consciousness. Communism. The forbidden word. The word that if you dare to say it in a history class, it triggers a vivid response. Now more than ever, with politicians such as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Bernie Sanders trying to


debunk the stigma around socialism, people are taking notice that “maybe that Marx dude that I learned about in AP World History isn’t that bad.” Social media, namely TikTok, has demonstrated to teens that more people are supporting their political ideology based on TikTok’s curation of content — in this case, leftist teens are conditioned to believe that there are more like-minded peers than there actually are through TikTok’s algorithm. Social media users are in an echo chamber of what media they choose to intake, constantly drowning in content that caters to their own beliefs. During the summer, I was under the brief impression that people were warming up to ideas like socialism, but it wasn’t until I mentioned it to my friends that this isn’t the case. And this is justified, considering that the American school system has brainwashed kids into believing the United States is the hero in every story and any non-capitalist political system is vile — how dare the working class have

control over the fruits of their labor? Complete blasphemy. With COVID-19 affecting people left and right, it’s difficult to keep up with all of the unintended economic consequences. Most notable is the fact that Latinx and Black communities are being hit the hardest. Put simply, the economic consequences felt deeply by these communities are due to a deep-rooted issue, a word that has become familiar to anyone remotely up to terms with today’s social climate: systemic racism. Minorities aren’t magically contracting COVID-19 at higher rates; rather, it is connected to their socioeconomic status. Many have to work multiple jobs to sustain themselves amidst a pandemic and have underlying health conditions they can’t afford to pay to treat properly — and the list goes on. When the economy shut down, the people living paycheck-to-paycheck were left empty-handed. A conservative would make the argument to reopen the

economy to stabilize these individuals without consideration that this continues to place Latinx and Black communities at higher risk. According to the Mayo Clinic, 25% of employed Hispanic and Black individuals work in the service industry. This disproportionate rate of infected people of color, tied with the lack of empathy shown by the government and the stimulus check pandemonium, directly target people who are gaining no income. All of this simultaneously occurs as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos become the richest people in the world. As a gross amount of people struggle to make a living, the rich only get richer with selfish executive decisions. The idea of something more “radical” such as socialism is becoming more appealing to the masses as it seems to be the only escape from a government that cares more about bombing by-standing countries for oil rather than giving its citizens a $2000 stimulus check.

By Cami Dominguez

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not represent Pulse Magazine as a whole.

Zodiac signs. They’re our star signs with the intention to describe each other within the realms of our unique human traits. More recently, they’ve grown in popularity because of platforms like TikTok and CoStar, leaving many wondering, what is astrology? Out of the 12 signs, each fit into a certain category: air, earth, water, and fire. While birth dates determine our main zodiac sign, there is also a rising sign and moon sign that help us better understand our personality traits. We also have a natal chart, in which the position of the stars or a certain planet during our birth corresponds to a specific zodiac sign that determines our behavior in different aspects of our lives, such as romance or ambitions. Sun signs are the position the sun was in when you were born and determines your main zodiac sign. Moon signs represent how you act and display emotion; rising signs are believed to represent how we act in social situations.


Nevertheless, the accuracy of zodiac signs is all alleged, but it is up to the individuals to take what resonates with them. So whether or not you check your daily horoscope, or are struggling to figure out your zodiac sign, here is the basic guide to astrology. Aries: If you’re an Aries, some common assumptions about your personality are that you are very bold and headstrong. As an Aries, you tend to take on challenging situations and serve as a strong leader. You are confident, motivated, and others envy your determination. Taurus: A Taurus holds a calming and soothing disposition. People associate you with loyalty, stubbornness, and reliability. Tauruses are known for their devotion and friendship. Gemini: Geminis are known to be fearless and the life of the party. If you’re a Gemini, you tend to be a social butterfly. Geminis have the ability to

communicate their brave ideas effortlessly. This zodiac sign loves to fill their agenda and pursue their true passions. Cancer: Cancers are celestial signs that can adapt to any environment and match other people’s energies immediately. While some say that Cancers can take some time to open up, but once they do, they stay fully committed to those in their life. Cancers are very trustworthy and exhibit extensive emotional depth. Leo: The fifth zodiac sign, Leo, is reputable for having a “royal” status. Many people look up to the Leos in their life and admire their power, creativity, and passion. Leos create their own happiness and strive for social attraction. Virgo: Virgos are known for their diligent yet supportive and healing outlook on life. Virgos are highly intellectual, but can become overly invested and attend to precision in their relationships and friendships. As a Virgo,

people believe that you offer great hospitality and are very bright and welcoming. Libra: Libras are a very harmonic zodiac sign who try to create an equal balance in all aspects of their life. Libras can struggle to communicate in situations and are known to be the "diplomat" in a friend group. With a Libra in your life, you are bound for eternal happiness. Scorpio: Often one of the most feared signs due to their unpredictable spirit, Scorpios are ambitious but can often let their ego control their actions. Scorpios are hardworking, build deep levels of trust with those around them, and crave control. Sagittarius: Sagittariuses are known for their lively spirit and ability to make almost any person around them laugh. They easily attract attention and can effortlessly make friends. Sagittariuses radiate positive energy and love spontaneous and adventurous activities. Capricorn: Capricorns are hard to read through first impressions but are known for their ability to negotiate their emotions and create stable ground.

By Aerin Flaharty

Capricorns are optimistic, humble, and know how to build healthy relationships and lasting friendships. Aquarius: Aquarians long to express their free spirit but can often come off as stubborn. They are strong, hardworking, and obtain lots of power yet can become extremely emotionally detached. Aquarians crave to emit imagination and change. Pisces: The last zodiac sign in the cycle is Pisces. Pisces love to enjoy all the emotions life offers but can often lose control when experiencing them. Pisces thrive artistically and achieve their own self-discovery. While true personality traits and passions reside in your individual self, and not common assumptions, people take comfort in learning about qualities they can relate to. Zodiac signs also serve as a great method to connect with others, especially in an era in which we are all desperate for connectivity. Understanding your astrological sign can be a fun and engaging way to comprehend your actions and emotions.

Aries: March 21 - April 19 Taurus: April 20 - May 20 Gemini: May 21 - June 20 Cancer: June 21 - July 22 Leo: July 23 - August 22 Virgo: August 23- September 22

Libra: September 23 - October 22 Scorpio: October 23 - November 21 Sagittarius: November 22 - December 21 Capricorn: December 22 - January 19 Aquarius: January 20 - February 18 Pisces: February 19 - March 20


Art by Fiona Choo

Although there are a wide variety of conspiracy theories surrounding the original source of COVID-19, it’s generally thought that the virus came from an animal, namely bats. Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, the effects on the human population have been well-researched and documented. Animals, in contrast, have increasingly flown under the radar, especially when considering the efforts being made to contain COVID-19’s spread. Why is this? Can animals even catch COVID? The short answer: it’s complicated. The first thing to note is that the term “coronavirus” actually represents a large family of viruses. Certain coronaviruses cause illness in humans, while others infect certain animals. In cases such as canine or feline coronaviruses, infections only show within animals. For instance, canine coronavirus (CCoV) is a gastrointestinal infection that causes abdominal pain in dogs. This is separate from COVID-19, a respiratory disease. However, some coronaviruses become

how COVID-19 is spread between animals and people, but there are not conclusive results yet. Most worryingly, mink in Denmark were reported gorillas from the San Diego to have a new strain of Zoo have gotten infected, COVID-19 called “Cluster prompting vaccinations 5” (CDC). After mink (CNN). Furthermore, the became infected with the CDC found that cats, virus by workers, the virus ferrets, fruit bats, and mutated and spread back hamsters could catch the to humans. As a result, virus and spread it to Danish authorities are animals of the same species. taking measures to prevent An exception to the this new variant of the ideas listed above are virus in both mink and minks, which are strictly human populations, which carnivorous, semiaquatic includes culling, or mammals bred and farmed selectively slaughtering, for their fur. After infected farmed mink populations workers introduced in Denmark. Coronavirus to mink farms, The impacts of the virus quickly spread Coronavirus on animal within the animal populations raises a population. Subsequently, number of troubling respiratory disease and questions. For one, if increased deaths have been animals can get infected by reported in mink farms in COVID-19 and create new the U.S. (OIE). Not only mutations, can the virus can the virus spread ever go away? If the loss of between mink, but also to smell is a symptom of other animals on the farm. COVID-19, what does that Additionally, mink farms mean for animals with a in the Netherlands and heightened sense of smell, Denmark suggest a such as dogs? Does your possibility of spreading the pet need a mask? All these virus from mink to people. concerns and more are Currently, the CDC and being researched currently. U.S. Department of In the meantime, wear your Agriculture (USDA) are mask, for the sake of testing mink samples from others and, possibly, your such farms to understand beloved pets.

Animal Pharm By Kyle Kim

zoonotic, meaning that a virus that initially only infects animals somehow spreads to human populations. Subsequently, such viruses become likely to spread between people. Although more studies need to be conducted, the current consensus is that animals play a limited role in the spread of COVID-19 to people. On the other hand, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also reports that the Coronavirus can spread from people to animals. Luckily, most pets that contracted COVID-19 only showed mild illness and made a full recovery or were asymptomatic. Nonetheless, the recommendation of the CDC is to isolate any individuals with COVID-19 from the rest of the family, including pets. Outside of average household pets, different animals have gotten COVID-19, including ferrets, great apes, lions, tigers, pumas, and snow leopards. Even eight


Art by Isabella Kwon

perpetrating a grizzly repetition of the original murder from six years earlier. The person who killed Barbara Nantais — and who, in this scenario, collaborated with Ronald Tatro to kill Claire Hough — is still out there. As the years pass, the chance of solving a cold case wanes. Yet, the seismic shifts in DNA accessibility also mean that there might be better odds of identifying the missing killer than before. The Golden State Killer, the notorious serial murderer who was active in California in the 70s and 80s, was identified 30

20 20

years after committing his last murder when policecombed through the genetic profiles uploaded by users of geneology sites like 23andMe and Ancestry.com, and eventually found an individual whose DNA was similar to that left behind by the unidentified killer. These similarities indicated that the murders had been committed by somebody in the family of the person who uploaded their DNA. Police constructed a family tree and ruled out other members of the family until only one remained: the infamous Golden

State Killer, who was at last identified, convicted, and given 12 consecutive life sentences. These genealogy services only came into widespread use within the last few years, in the time since the Hough-Nantais case was last reopened. Every year, thousands of Americans hand out their genetic profiles to services like these, greatly increasing the pool of DNA that is available for law enforcement to search through. It is possible that, like the Golden State killer, DNA leading to the missing perpetrator of the Hough-Nantais murders might be found there. If

they are still alive, they could be identified and brought to justice. Public pressure has prompted police departments to reopen murder cases before. Perhaps, if enough pressure is brought against the SDPD, they might consider taking another look at the Nantais-Hough case — an effort which might finally yield justice for the deaths at Torrey Pines all those years ago. Nothing can undo what happened under that bridge, but perhaps there might finally be answers to all the haunting questions

TheBIG Leagues By Ellie Ballard

Canyon Crest Academy. Upon hearing our high school’s name, your mind probably goes straight to “quirky arts school.” Obviously, a school so academically-focused and creative could never excel at sports, right? Wrong. CCA boasts some of the best athletic programs and most talented athletes in the county, including three senior superstars. Meet three of CCA’s most talented senior athletes: Sage Bolaris, Trey Becker, and Kenzie Larson. Sage Bolaris caught the attention of his peers when he was the only freshman named to the CCA men’s soccer varsity squad. He immediately fit right in and enjoyed an abundance of playing time, a rarity for underclassmen. Inspired by his freshman year feat and high school soccer career, Bolaris has decided to pursue his athletic and


academic endeavors at the University of San Diego next fall because of its location, amazing high-level soccer program, great coaches, and strong academics. On the other hand, Trey Becker is a talented shortstop who currently serves as a captain on CCA men's baseball team and recently committed to Loyola Marymount University. Although he loves San Diego, he says that “part of the college experience is getting away.” For Becker, LMU is the perfect balance of a new experience while still being close to home. “Between the academics, I really love the coaching staff, and the location...it’s right by the beach and it’s a beautiful place, so I’m really excited about that.” After a stellar four years with CCA women's varsity water polo team, Kenzie Larson has committed to the University of California

San Diego to continue playing water polo. “UCSD met my criteria for attending an outstanding university where I can make a positive contribution to a top Division I water polo team,” she explains. “Given my interest in medicine and healthcare, I am excited to be attending UC San Diego where the innovative research related to climate science, the human microbiome, and nanotechnology are transforming and benefiting the human condition.” COVID-19 put a severe strain on college recruiting and devastated many aspiring athletes. Between canceled showcases like CIF playoffs, current college seniors being granted an extra year of eligibility (eliminating the need for new players to fill the roster), and the inability for program coaches to attend in-person games, it is evident a lot of obstacles have obstructed this process. “Ultimately, it was a challenge for both sides,” Becker says. Instead, coaches had to pivot, get creative, and depend on other methods of scouting, be it through Zooms or highlight reels.

“For me, it changed who could come to my games and who couldn’t, obviously, so these coaches were mainly relying on highlight video footage instead,” Bolaris notes. “I luckily was able to put together some good footage and then send that in. It worked out.” Larson, like many other athletes in the same position, was unsure about whether or not she was going to ultimately commit to a collegiate athletics career.

Meet three of CCA's most talented senior athletes: Sage Bolaris, Trey Becker, and Kenzie Larson. With major tournaments -- ones that athletes spend their entire seasons working up to and training for -- getting called off left and right, it seemed hopeless. Luckily, fate worked in her favor. “I, like most athletes, wanted to experience the true recruiting process, but I’m so grateful for my connection and commitment to UCSD.” With San Diego

remaining in the purple tier for COVID-19 (as of March 2020), preventing schools from reopening and extracurriculars from congregating, many sports seasons are up in the air. High school sports are one of the best parts about being an athlete. The opportunity to not only represent your school, but the community, and play for your fellow students, combined with the roar of fans when playing your rival school, is unparalleled. Looking over at the stands and seeing all your friends is something that you just can’t experience with club sports. All three athletes have remained heavily involved in CCA athletics, and have earned their reputations as hard-working leaders among their teammates and peers. “My favorite part of CCA athletics was the opportunity to help build a program and expose people to a sport that I love so much,” Larson describes. “Winning the D2 championship, scoring at States, and earning a high rank in D1 will be amazing memories to keep.” Furthermore, both Bolaris and Becker cite their teammates as their favorite part of the

experience. “Being able to stick with the same group of kids [since] my freshman year was so awesome. I made a lot of strong relationships with seniors who I still talk to and meet up with to this day,” Bolaris elaborates. “[I made] a lot of connections that I wouldn’t have made otherwise.” For a plethora of positive athletic experiences, athletes can thank CCA’s sports programs, which are known to have amazing, caring coaches, and a spirited atmosphere no matter the level. Overall, although the pandemic has posed many difficult challenges for these three athletes and the student body as a whole, CCA students continue to shine through the storm. Moreover, despite COVID-19 dampening athletics, it appears the Raven spirit will continue to thrive and prosper at some of the nation’s top institutions. We can’t wait to see what incredible things they will accomplish at their respective schools, and to cheer them on in their future athletic endeavors.


Kenzie Larson

Trey Becker


The Great Wall The filibuster is referred to as “talking a bill to death” for good reason. In many ways, it is exactly that. Generally, it’s defined as an action taken to block progress in a legislature but in such a way that it’s still legal. In the United States specifically, it’s used — or threatened — when legislative members, usually the Senate, want to delay or prevent a decision from being made on a certain proposal. Filibusters can be traced back to Ancient Rome. Senator Cato the Younger, who is said to be the first practitioner, would block propositions by continuing to speak until the sun set, after which the Senate would have to adjourn per the rule that all business should conclude by nightfall. Cato used the filibuster at least twice to obstruct Julius Caesar and the Senate’s motions; he


tried to prevent Caesar from being appointed as governor of Gaul and also filibustered a set of agrarian laws, which landed him in jail — though he was released shortly thereafter due to outcry from fellow senators. In the United States Senate, the creation of the filibuster was enabled by mistake. The 1789 rulebooks of both the Senate and the House included what is known as the “previous question” motion. Its original purpose is not abundantly clear, but today, it’s understood as a motion that prevented the minority party from overruling the majority. Since it wasn’t invoked often, the Senate decided to remove it in 1806 while attempting to clean up their rulebook — this lax approach to debates is

what led to the first real filibuster in 1837. The House, on the other hand, decided to keep it, and precedents set by previous uses are what prevent filibusters in the House today. Current rules permit a senator or multiple senators to speak however long they like on anything they want. Yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like. The record for the longest filibuster is held by South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, who filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and ended up holding the floor for 24 hours and 18 minutes. The filibuster will continue unless three-fifths of the Senate votes to halt the debate through cloture, established by Senate Rule XXII. In 1970, a two-track system was enacted to prevent the Senate from being halted entirely in case

of a filibuster. As a result, the minority party has become more proactive in threatening them without following through. Over time, filibusters have been normalized to the point where most major proposals basically require a 60% majority; otherwise, proponents of a proposition cannot override a potential filibuster. Alas, this perverts the original intention of the Founding Fathers, who intended for proposals to be passed by a simple majority vote and not through a supermajority. Although filibusters were once governed by similar rules in the House, a rule was created in 1842 that limited the amount of time for debate. However, the Minority Leader is permitted to speak without limitations on time. There are some

By Carolyn Cui

of Congress exceptions to these rules. Senators cannot filibuster the budget reconciliation process, nor can they filibuster actions the President takes when they exercise their emergency powers. The typical filibuster that overrides rules were also sustained for nominations unrelated to the Supreme Court until November 21, 2013. On this day, the Senate Democrats voted 52-48 to have all cloture votes, except Supreme Court nominations and legislation, and require only a majority vote to pass. Cloture is the only procedure through which the Senate can halt a filibuster; it refers to ending an ongoing debate on a bill or otherwise and taking a vote. Despite this change, the actual wording of Rule XXII has not been changed to date. Four years later, the Republicans

returned the favor and voted so that the exception could now include Supreme Court nominees. As of today, only filibusters pertaining to legislation require a 60 vote majority to force a vote. The filibuster has been a longstanding concept in Congress, though it has regained traction in the media as of late. Bernie Sanders recently threatened to filibuster Trumps’ override of a defense bill veto unless the Senate held a vote on providing $2,000 in direct relief payments to citizens. A handful of politicians — namely, the Democrats who have recently retaken Congress by a narrow margin — have also reignited the debate over its existence. Among those who have expressed their approval of eliminating the filibuster were Senator

Elizabeth Warren and former President Donald Trump. The idea has gained popularity amongst Democrats, partly because it’s perceived that Republicans are abusing the filibuster. Per statistics posted on the United States Senate website, cloture votes under the Obama Administration skyrocketed. The 109th Congress (2005-2006) filed only 68 cloture motions; the 110th Congress (2007-2008) and 111th Congress (2009-2010) both filed upwards of 130. However, this count is not one-sided and has been on the rise even before Obama took office. The 116th Congress (2019-2020) ended up filing for cloture 328 times, smashing any existing records and exemplifying the Senate deadlock. There is no real winner

in this debate, and it’s a matter of determining whether short-term benefits will outweigh the long-term consequences. As recent elections and their aftermaths have demonstrated, it’s impossible to predict exactly how history will unfold. No matter if the filibuster withstands the test of time or if it crumbles during this presidency or the next — as long as the rift between the Left and the Right grows, perpetuating the prevalence of the two-party system, future iterations of Congress might just face challenges they’ve never seen before.


Number One

By Liam Rosenberg By the time you’re reading this article, it will have been over a year since the United States first entered lockdown due to the novel Coronavirus. A year since we left school for what we thought would be an extended spring break. A year since we were able to go out in public without a mask. A year since getting to see our grandparents, friends, neighbors, and cousins

in person, free of restriction. There is no doubt that in the thirteen months from the start of quarantine to now, a lot has changed for Americans. Alongside these changes have come feelings of anger and doubt towards the government, both of which are duly justified and equally pointed. One may ask, why us? Why now? And we find

ourselves asking a pertinent question: how did this happen? A one-word answer cannot suffice in response to these perfectly valid -albeit unaddressed -concerns. We also cannot discount the resounding bipartisan complicity in this disaster by simply pinning the blame on one side or the other. Despite what many may say, the fault doesn’t just fall along party lines. Instead, let’s take a look at the bigger picture here. "People start saying, 'Should I start wearing a mask?' Now, in the United States, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to wear a mask,” this influential figure told USA Today in January of last year. “...[T]hey should be more worried about the real and present danger of the seasonal flu.” Influenced or not, the man behind those comments is no mere crooked politician. In fact, he’s been consulted by both the Trump and Biden administrations. His name is Anthony Fauci, our standing Chief Medical Advisor on COVID-19 to the President. Tragically misinformed as he was,

Fauci remains the leading expert on the virus to date. Rather regrettably, his sentiments reflected the consensus in Washington at the time: the outbreak in Wuhan could not possibly happen here. The numbers are an exaggeration, they said. We shouldn’t trust the Chinese regime from over 7,000 miles away -- we should be focusing on preventing the common flu instead. This radical indifference regarding any and all crises until the eleventh hour could be seen as an analogy for the American psyche. From the Second World War to the Cuban Missile Scare, the most pressing issue the U.S. must come to terms with is how to identify and handle an issue when it presents itself. The United States is, more often than not, becoming the laughing stock of the Western World, confirming the mischaracterizations of our democracy and substantiating the claims of our enemies. Yet, despite our fears of embarrassing ourselves on the international stage, we have done it recently and even several times


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not represent Pulse Magazine as a whole.

before. Let us take a look at the last time our government royally screwed up a global pandemic. About a century ago, an exceptionally virulent strain of H1N1 avian influenza emerged from an army base around an hour west of Topeka, Kansas. At the time, America was in the throes of the Great War under the leadership of President Woodrow Wilson. His political philosophy was based upon the principle of American exceptionalism, a concept which affirms that our democratic republic cannot be held up to the same standards as our Marxist, Tory, and Christian Democrat cousins of Europe -effectively perpetuating the claim that America is the holy grail of the West. Determined to rally support for the war effort, Wilson ignored the alarms that scientists were sounding for what would later become known as the Spanish Flu. In 1918, New York City health commissioner Royal Copeland assured that “the city is in no danger of an epidemic. No need for our people to

worry.” By year’s end, there were 31,589 deaths from the Spanish lu in the Big Apple alone. On the other hand, Australia, much like in its response to COVID-19, took a vastly different approach to the Spanish Flu during its first two waves. As the then-fledgling nation had only seceded from the British Empire seventeen years prior to the outbreak, most of its participation in the First World War was spent proving its military prowess to the Allies. And like the United States, many of the Aussies’ problems had arisen from soldiers fighting overseas, who often returned home with the flu. In fact, it is a common belief that the Spanish Flu entered Australia by way of the Commonwealth’s enlistees. Additionally, a lesser version of influenza which coincided with the Spanish Flu had also caused the nation to grapple with a complete shutdown. While largely popular Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes was still in Europe with the other Allied leaders, the

Commonwealth took no time to waste and promptly halted all maritime travel, imposing a rigorous quarantine on those who did so. Tasked with supplementing additional policies to mitigate effects of the flu, federal government members and representatives from the British Medical Association agreed upon further land quarantine and organized emergency measures (such as vaccination depots and ambulance services) with the states. Unlike the Americans, public awareness was vital to keeping the flu in check, as well as the development of vaccines that counteracted pneumonic symptoms. Mask-wearing was made compulsory in 1919. Since this isn’t a history lesson, I’ll keep it short. Overall, an estimated 15,000 Australians succumbed to the Spanish Flu, around 0.003% of the population -- a staggering number, but this pales in comparison to the 675,000 American victims. President Wilson himself ended up contracting the Spanish Flu in 1919, along with

over 500 million others worldwide (the disease had an estimated 10% mortality rate). Sound familiar? If so, that’s because COVID-19 has been all but eradicated in Australia, as of February 2021, while President Trump was infected with the virus last year. Eventually, the Spanish Flu was quashed after three successive waves and innumerable deadly mutations by the spring of 1920. We can only hope that a similar outcome will materialize in America by the same time this year. What we can learn from this eerily similar phenomenon is that, in spite of being a century removed, ignorance continues to plague the American political system. Although there is no easy answer as to why COVID-19 was mishandled, this is arguably the closest we’ll get -- we cannot let politics distract us from a distressing reality, as it seems to do in this country. Let’s follow in the footsteps of the Australians, so that when another virus appears in a hundred years, our country considers itself prepared.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not represent Pulse Magazine as a whole.

By Margaret Le “Congress shall make no law...prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” For 233 years, these words have rung true; America prides itself in being the “land of the free,” and this has extended to our speech. However, 2020 and 2021 have urged many to consider what the First Amendment really means. Consider masks: for some, masks have become a symbol of an infringement


upon human rights rather than a necessity for public safety. More examples of controversial free speech actions include waving the Confederate flag in the name of Southern pride or in defense of “states’ rights,” using derogatory slurs against fellow citizens, and even burning the American flag. At first glance, more loosely regulated freedom of speech, as seen in the United States, seems to do more good than harm. In theory, one should have the ability to say whatever they want, wherever they want. However, Emily

Bazelon from the New York Times points out that “in democracies, there is a different kind of threat, which may be doing more damage to the discourse about politics, news, and science. It encompasses the mass distortion of truth and overwhelming waves of speech from extremists that smear and distract [from reality].” It seems that our prided freedom of expression has been often used as a tool to stir hate and division. Have we gotten to the point where we feel hurting others is a small cost for expressing ourselves? Some of you may be thinking that the government already controls enough. Although, there is one factor that we have control over that would likely prevent the need for government intervention: compassion. Full stop. To make it even more clear, in this context, compassion indicates expressing empathy towards fellow citizens and really thinking about what you say before you levy it at others. Think back to learning about the Golden Rule in elementary school — it’s a foundational principle in our society. Take this into

consideration the next time you get a fervent inclination to shout “fire” in a crowded theater, an analogy for free speech created in the Supreme Court case Schenck v. United States in 1919, or the next time you see a racial slur on Twitter. It may be cliché, but think hard before you speak. Being compassionate towards others should not infringe upon our natural rights and just because we have the right to say whatever we want does not mean it should translate to tirades against others. Without our freedom of expression, we would no longer have an identity. A large part of being human is having opinions and exchanging those ideas with each other. However, with great power comes great responsibility. Whether you like it or not, your words truly do matter. It seems like this vast freedom gives people the impression that they can do whatever they want because it is their right. Of course, they have all the power to do so, but the question is, should they do it? This double-edged sword allows us to criticize the government, culture, and society in hopes of

drawing attention to problems and sparking change. For instance, the George Floyd protests and Black Lives Matter movement, the largest protest in U.S. history, led to an acknowledgment of anti-racism and a trend of self-education. On the other hand, freedom of speech can also stir unnecessary strife and division, which has led to the uncertainty of truth in the modern era. This is present on social media platforms where opinions and misinformation run rampant. In the era of technology, Big Tech companies, such as Facebook and Twitter, now play a major role in refereeing speech. Take a look at Parler, a platform that’s marketed as a platform for free speech that gained popularity among right-wing conservatives but has been criticized as a breeding ground for hate. This raises an interesting topic of debate in the realm of the First Amendment: at what point is free speech just plain hate speech, and why should we continue to justify it with an antiquated document that claims to be built on democracy? Let’s look at a

modern example: Twitter’s ban on President Trump’s former Twitter account in early 2021. Given the mass misinformation he spread in violation of Twitter’s terms of service, he was banned. However, is this in

It seems that our prided freedom of expression has been often used as a tool to stir hate and division.

all-consuming given the myriad of platforms people are allowed to express their opinions on. We, the people, have a serious moral duty and responsibility when it comes to expressing ourselves. Some may hold back potentially valuable perspectives in fear of strife that may follow, while others are quick to jump on the bandwagon to humiliate and shame controversial people, as seen with cancel culture. At the end of the day,

whether it be participating in a Google Hangout class, tweeting, or writing an article, only you have the power to control what comes out of your mouth and fingertips. There are limitless combinations of words you can string together and impose towards peers. Will you choose to harm someone just because you are able to, or will you choose to recalibrate your moral compass and act considerate? Only you can decide.

violation of the First Amendment? Technically, no. The First Amendment directly protects citizens from government censorships and does not extend to censorship by private entities. In fact, given the wording of the Constitution, hate speech cannot be regulated. Moreover, in the Supreme Court case on the issue Matal v. Tam, the justices ruled that there is no hate speech exception to one's right of freedom of speech. Ultimately, this issue seems more prevalent and


No one has ever been under the assumption that celebrities are in touch with the daily realities of everyday people. Celebrities are accustomed to luxury: stretch limousines, lunch at Nobu, shopping on Rodeo Drive or in SoHo, you name it. Most importantly, they survive on the attention from regular people like us. So, what happens when the limelight shifts from people with platforms to the pandemic? It’s not uncommon to see a celebrity downplaying


Coronavirus, violating public health guidelines, or even denying its existence entirely. Think back to the influencer who preaches tolerance and civic duty on their social media page, while religiously attending house parties in stark violation of COVID-19 regulations each night. The pandemic has resulted in major upheaval in every area of our lives, including our outlook on certain subjects. It has been a huge factor in the shift of perception of mainstream celebrities.

Now more than ever, people are not only irritated, but genuinely frustrated with celebrities touting their privilege during quarantine. COVID-19 has taken many from their families, heavily impacted people’s means of living, and left people homeless. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, an estimated 18 million Americans went unemployed during quarantine. Khloe Kardashian’s Instagram feed is no longer an aspiration for the average

American. Instead, it’s become deeply infuriating and downright insulting. Already, many celebrities have tried to address the pandemic, resulting in sometimes hilariously ignorant results. Most notably, there has been the 2020 "Imagine" cover, Sam Smith's quarantine tantrum in his multi-million dollar mansion, or the particularly insightful, "even if everybody gets it, like yeah, people are going to die, which is terrible... but inevitable," courtesy of

By Ariana Thompson

Vanessa Hudgens and her reaction to Coachella 2020’s cancellation. A particularly great example of insensitivity comes from the Kardashians. In October 2020, Kim Kardashian posted a thread of pictures from her 40th birthday party, which she decided to have on an island, endangering the lives of locals and those she would later come in contact with. Her first post was retweeted over 65,000 times, with standouts such as, “I hope someone got you an alphabet book as a gift, so you can learn to read the room,” pointing to an increasing disenchantment with this type of content. Worse than tactlessness, however, were the celebrities who openly disobeyed COVID-19 guidelines. Examples include Lana del Rey and her infamous mesh mask to celebrities such as John Cusack, Keri Hilson, and Woody Harrelson peddling 5G conspiracy theories (the idea that somehow 5G towers are to blame for the virus). Yet, possibly most egregious are the celebrities who seemingly believe in Coronavirus and social distancing, just as long as it doesn’t apply to them.

One of the more outrageous instances is Rita Ora’s 30th birthday party in a restaurant. She paid off the owner $7,000, boarded up the windows, and celebrated in a closed area with over 30 people, disregarding West London's COVID-19 guidelines. All of these incidents point to a gross attitude of dispensation on the part of the celebrities. There is no amount of wealth, clout, or fame that imbues a person with the right to prioritize their comfort over the lives of others. The actions of these celebrities have very real consequences for the people around them, yet they never seem to suffer these consequences on the same level. Madonna, in a particularly surreal video, summarized it best: "That's the thing about COVID-19. It doesn't care about how rich you are, how famous you are, how funny you are," she said in the video.“It's the great equalizer and what's terrible about it is what's great about it. What's terrible about it is that it's made us all equal in many ways.” This response perfectly illustrates the delusion celebrities are

operating under when talking about COVID-19. Madonna can pontificate all she wants from the inside of her rose petal bath that Coronavirus is the great equalizer, but when looking at the people who suffered the most, a different narrative is told. Just the nature of COVID-19 means that certain groups of people will get hit harder than others. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, adults with income below $15,000 are 19% more likely to contract the virus than their wealthier counterparts. Moreover, people of color are more susceptible to harsher consequences due to the pandemic; Native Americans are 2.6 times and Black Americans are 2.8 times more likely to die of COVID-19, as expressed by the Center for Disease Prevention. Since COVID-19 primarily spreads through respiratory transmission, the people who are going to be most affected will be those who work essential jobs, such as minimum wage workers where interactions with other people are necessary. Ordinary people bear the brunt of celebrities

actions. Los Angeles County is an epicenter of infection in the country with,146,450 confirmed cases and 18,044 deaths. Funeral homes have reached max capacity and are forced to turn away grieving families. Bodies are piling up, and this only has no signs of slowing down. This onslaught of failed attempts from celebrities to address COVID-19 in a meaningful way increased what might have already been a resentful public opinion toward celebrities. All around the world, COVID-19 has been a catalyst for change, so perhaps celebrities could follow suit with this worldwide trend. Why not use your platform for good? Ultimately, it is regular people, us, who give celebrities their public prowess — the only thing we can do is decide whether or not we want to continue to support them. If nothing else, it should demonstrate to these public figures that they should step out of the limelight, and allow solutions to the pandemic’s health and economic ramifications take center stage.


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