As the United States heads into almost two months of social distancing, people are beginning to argue that we need to reopen the economy, despite worries that this will increase the amount of Coronavirus cases. Many people think that there is no good reason to risk so many lives by reopening businesses, but it begs the question: is there a legitimate argument to end social distancing?
Trust me, I know how easy it is to look as these protesters and assume the worst. How unsafe and selfish it is for them to be violating quarantine right? Why risk infecting yourself or others to protest something meant to keep us safe? At surface level, I admit it’s quite a hard sell that these protesters have a legitimate reason to be out there.
But if you look at the issue a little deeper, you might just gain some understanding as to why someone would put themselves in this position.
See, it’s not a matter of wanting to go sunbathe on the beach or sit densely packed with strangers at a concert for most of the protesters, but moresoe one of feeding their family, paying the bills, and saving the family businesses that keep our economy afloat.
It’s simple for a lot of us to point fingers at these people and accuse them of selfish intentions, especially when many of us are in financial situations unaffected or lightly affected by the pandemic, but for the millions in industries such as food, recreation, tourism, airline, entertainment, etcetera, the current restrictions on the American economy cut off a large portion of their income.
Eviction. Bankruptcy. Poverty. Terms that seemed like worst case scenarios just a few months ago have become very real possibilities for millions of hard working Americans grasping at stimulus checks and welfare programs to support themselves or others.
Many prospering small businesses have been locked up and have since remained untouched since the start of the shutdown.
Unemployment has skyrocketed to a historical 15%, by far the worst jobs situation for the US since the Great Depression. A mere two months earlier, it stood at just 3.5%, a historical 50 year low.
The economic effects of COVID-19 may be more intense and longer lasting than the medical side of it. Socioeconomic conditions in communities could tank as quarantine is lifted and many Americans will be left climbing out of the financial Coronavirus hole for years to come. The longer we let the economy tank, the more amplified these effects will be.
I am in no way saying the intentions of every protester are golden, in fact I know a large portion are in it for the beach days and Disney vacations, I’m simply stating that it is naive to pin every protester as an enemy, as many of them are just want to be able to feed their families.
Written by Tanner Patterson
All over America right now, there are more and more instances of large crowds of people coming together to protest social distancing orders and push the government to reopen the economy. It makes sense: the world has been at a stand-still for almost two months, and people are getting antsy.
With more and more people facing unemployment and struggling to pay their bills, it is understandable for some people to become desperate and try to force the government to reopen everything. However, the real reason many people are protesting is because they are bored of staying home and want to go back to their normal lives so they can get their hair and nails done and go to the beach.
The act of protesting itself is already short-sighted and risky. The entire purpose of social distancing is to keep large groups of people from interacting so we can stop the spread of the Coronavirus. The people getting together to protest are just putting themselves and their loved ones at risk by allowing themselves to be surrounded by so many other people.
The actual physical protesting aside, people arguing online and in other ways that we should end social distancing are only thinking of themselves and their own personal freedoms, which they feel, are not being protected.
Most of the people protesting are not thinking of the people in the country who are actually at risk; they do not realize what would happen if we reopened everything too soon. Thousands are dying every day right now, and that is with social distancing orders in place. Many people think that getting Covid-19 is just a quick flu that they will easily bounce back from. And while that is true for some people, it is deadly for others. People are adopting an ‘every man for themselves’ mentality that could be disastrous if it continues.
Reopening the economy right now would result in a huge spike in Coronavirus cases, and experts say that local hospitals would likely not be able to handle so many cases at one time. Opening stores back up would be trading human lives for industry, which should not have to be a debate.
We need to focus on keeping everyone safe before we can think about fixing the economy. The people arguing that we should reopen the country are only worried about themselves, and do not see how their actions could affect other people.
If we all continue following social distancing orders and stay conscious about our actions, we can end this quicker. But if people continue protesting and not following proper safety protocols, we may be in this for the long haul, and then the economy will really be in trouble.
Written by Sophie Crivier