Fighting Words: Should the U.S reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic?

As COVID-19 continues to spread worldwide, should the U.S reopen states and risk more cases?

Yes

Matthew J. Walker – Reporter

America, land of the free, home of the brave: a timeless characterization of the people in our nation, one that rings true in the centuries since our founding. But amidst this COVID-19 pandemic, our people have locked themselves away in an attempt to self-quarantine and have been ordered to stay-at-home by our government overlords; orders that seem to extend time and time again, with no end in sight. With that being said, can we really say we’re free? Can we really say we’re brave?

Our people have taken pride in themselves with having bravery for centuries, and for centuries they were brave. Americans fought and toppled tyrants time and time again throughout our 250-year history. From Great Britain in 1776 to Nazi Germany in WWII. During times of crisis, strong men and women rose to the challenge, facing down empires the likes the world had never seen; earning themselves titles like the greatest generation ever.

Where did these brave men and women go? What will our generation be remembered for? Self-quarantining and social distancing isn’t bravery, it’s fear.

This pandemic has covered our generation in a blanket of cowardice. The lockdown had its place for a time, but it’s dragged on far beyond what’s necessary. This virus—whether we like it or not—will be with us forever from this point on. No amount of self-quarantining changes that reality; and it’s time for America to reopen.

As far as freedom goes, Gov. Inslee recently extended the stay-at-home order in Washington—again—to May 31. Since when did we have to ask our government permission to leave our own homes? 

In Los Angeles, California, Mayor Eric Garcetti even encouraged residents to report their neighbors for defying his stay-at-home orders.

“You know the old expression about snitches. Well, in this case, snitches get rewards,” Mayor Garcetti said.

As a sovereign citizen appreciative of my freedom, this rang alarm bells in my head. Government officials encouraging citizens to report their neighbors for disobeying their orders doesn’t sound like America, it sounds like Stalin’s Soviet Union. Governments throughout history have used crises as a means to consolidate power, and as this COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, it seems as if history is repeating itself.

America, land of the free, home of the brave seems to be a thing of the past as we stare down this invisible enemy. Will we continue to dehumanize our fellow Americans—social distancing ourselves from them—treating them like the enemy? Will we continue to allow government officials to prohibit us from doing as we please?

As death-by-suicide exceeds that of COVID-19 data itself, mental health disorders rise and the economy plummets, all as a direct result of this lockdown. One might ask themselves: is the cure deadlier than the virus? This is a fair question to pose as this lockdown continues to drag on week-after-week, month-after-month. 

The COVID-19 won this war the moment we allowed ourselves to succumb to fear. It’s time—for the sake of our great nation and its people—to reopen America.

No

Adelle Engmann – OSM Manager

With a number of possibilities and uncertainties regarding the Coronavirus pandemic, any actions pertaining to the safety of the U.S. citizens should be chosen wisely. In a span of two months, there have been more than 1.26 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. There’ve been more than 71,000 deaths across the U.S., with more expected by the end of the year. Therefore, it’s not in the country’s best interest to reopen the states before the virus has been fully contained. Currently, the U.S. is the country with the most confirmed cases globally. Since the stay-at-home orders have been placed and people have taken precautionary measures, the curve has started to flatten. A number of people believe the stay-at-home orders should be removed because of this, however, some argue that the decreasing number of cases is due to those orders.

According to Wikipedia, after April 4, the confirmed cases in the U.S. started to fluctuate. This was only a few weeks after the stay-at-home orders were in effect. Dr. Nipunie Rajapaske, a Mayo Clinic infectious disease expert, said although it may be difficult, there’s evidence that supports shelter-in-place orders are effective when followed (Mayo Clinic News Network). 

COVID-19 is expected to have a second or possibly third wave. In 1918, the Spanish flu, which infected more than 500 million people worldwide and killed an estimated 20-50 million Army troops and civilians during World War I, had a second and third wave of infections that was more deadly than the first (History.com). 

According to History.com, the first wave of the Spanish flu didn’t seem to be a real threat to society; it was treated like the seasonal flu and the number of reported cases dropped that summer. However, between Sept. and Nov. of 1918, the second wave of the Spanish flu hit and killed more than 195,000 Americans in just the month of October (History.com). 

James Harris, a historian at Ohio State University, said one reason why the Spanish flu spread rapidly was due to health officials’ lack of imposing quarantine (History.com). The Spanish flu lasted two years. 

The U.S. is currently lacking testing for COVID-19 as well, meaning it’s difficult to determine who’s been infected because a number of people are asymptomatic. Even if a person has tested positive for the virus and has recovered, there are now new studies that show a person who’s recovered from COVID-19 can contract it again. Similarly, if someone tests negative for the virus but comes in contact with someone who tested positive, the negative person can still become infected.  

The tragedy of COVID-19 has affected millions of people in a number of different ways. However, some notable changes since the stay-at-home orders were in effect include more financial aid and opportunities for students who qualify, more employee benefits and aid for essential workers and business owners; as well as less air pollution. According to CBS News, March was also the first month without a school shooting in the U.S. since 2002. 

If the stay-at-home orders are prematurely lifted, this could force people who still may be suffering from the after-effects of the Coronavirus to resume their commitments or activities when they’re socially, financially and mentally not ready to do so. Even if the orders are released, it may take years to rebuild the economy and ease some restrictions. Some businesses may require customers to wear masks or limit hours of operations as a permanent part of company protocol after orders are lifted, meaning people won’t be completely free from the aftermath of COVID-19. If people continue to not follow the current stay-at-home orders, most likely the orders will be extended, causing more issues within the economy, businesses and lifestyles.  

As a society, everyone’s actions can affect someone else both in positive and negative ways. Over 257,000 people worldwide have lost someone they knew due to COVID-19. If someone close to you was within that number and you’re given a choice to decreasing the number of individuals who could also possibly be infected, would you?  

Although there have been unfortunate challenges stemming from the COVID-19 restrictions, they’re meaningless in comparison to the prospect of the loss of human life.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

Fighting Words: Should the U.S reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic?

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