By Daniela Alvarez
During these unprecedented times, no one fully expected the extent to which the global coronavirus pandemic would impact everyday lives. Nonessential businesses are closed, schools have moved online, and almost all persons who go outside are expected to wear a mask that covers their noses and mouths.
These measures, which definitely hinder the natural flow of our lives, are necessary in order to stop the spread of the virus in our communities. To prioritize the health and well-being of the more vulnerable members of society, such as the elderly and the immunocompromised, these actions are the most sensible to take. It is a sacrifice we must all make to minimize the damage this novel virus is inflicting across the world.
According to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, the United States alone has over 816,000 confirmed cases as well as close to 44,000 deaths, with the most gravely impacted state being New York.
However, the key characteristic of this virus is that although individuals can be asymptomatic, they are still able to spread it unknowingly throughout their communities. Even now, the true extent of the virus’ spread is not yet known. For that reason, stay-at-home orders issued by states have become commonplace. Even still, conflict has arisen over these governmental actions.
In recent days, there have been protests across various states, including California, Florida, and Ohio. Protesters are advocating for their individual rights, but in doing so are compromising the public’s safety. Their efforts will only prove to be counterproductive, especially when the spread of the virus worsens if states give in to their demands to reopen more businesses.
Despite these attempts by state and local governments to hinder the spread of the virus, there are many who feel as if these shelter-in-place orders are attacks against their freedom and liberty. Not to mention, there are many disgruntled workers who are protesting the loss of their jobs due to the closure of nonessential businesses.
Their concerns and complaints are understandable to an extent. The coronavirus pandemic has caused a significant disruption to the lives of many Americans, one that is undesirable and repressive. The American economy is going to experience a recession, in which unemployment rates skyrocket and the real gross domestic product of the nation plummets due to the stagnation of various industries.
Albeit restricting, these closures are necessary all the same. By protesting the stay-at-home orders, not only are these individuals putting themselves in danger of contracting the virus, but they are disrespecting the work of all the healthcare professionals who are attempting to contain the virus’ spread. Many doctors and nurses across the globe have lost their lives while treating patients diagnosed with the coronavirus. Their efforts and sacrifices should not be disregarded by protesters who want to reopen the country prematurely.
Instead, more weight should be given to the concerns and opinions of the medical professionals who must interact and treat the patients infected with the coronavirus on a day-to-day basis. Their insight is valuable, considering they are the ones witnessing the impact of the coronavirus on infected patients. The gradual reopening of the nation should come based on the response of the medical community, not the protesters.
The coronavirus pandemic is truly testing the grit and resilience of the United States. In order to facilitate the transition from disaster to recovery, Americans should continue obeying the stay-at-home orders and minimize the possibility of getting infected themselves. In these circumstances, protesting is a dangerous, heedless action.