Reading Response #3

Defining “you” During a Pandemic

In Barclay’s Vox news article she reports on the the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, and the importance of people self quarantining and self isolating. Throughout the entire article Barclay uses many quotes of officials, the CDC, epidemiologists, and a whole host of other people using language that refers to a majority of people who are not school aged children, not immunocompromised, and not elderly. Healthy people are those that can “do something” in the midst of this crisis. “‘Right now there’s always a doctor available when you need one, but that may not be the case if we’re not careful'”, the “you” in this statement is using assumptions that the reader is currently healthy and has not contracted the virus. “‘If more of us do that, we will slow down the spread of the disease,'” this is trying to appeal to the individual’s agency and emotions towards working for a “greater good” in our society. The audience is able to impact the health care industry in positive and negative ways, but action must be taken now. Barclay wrote, “So even if you’re young and healthy, it’s your job”. The “your” is directly addressing the individual reading the article, it is almost like she is calling the reader out. The previous quotes were not directly speaking to me as the target, necessarily. Officials make these statements about the general “you”: the public, the healthy population. The “you” and “we” are rarely about the sick, the disabled, the disadvantaged. Throughout the article, the is a call to action and an attempt to gather those that are not ill to bring about change to those that are currently and will be effected. It is interesting how “you” is typically seen as a very specific person but it is often used to grab the attention of a group of people.



Barclay, Eliza. “How Canceled Events and Self-Quarantines Save Lives, in One Chart.” Vox, 10 Mar. 2020,