Cross Currents: Should COVID-19 orders be lifted to ‘reopen’ US?

The Channels Opinion Page | CROSS CURRENTS

Illustration+by+Lucy+Marx+and+Kai+Zheng

Lucy Marx, Kai Zheng

Illustration by Lucy Marx and Kai Zheng

Lucy Marx and Judah Brody

The spike in unemployment brought on by COVID-19 guidelines has been met with protests across the nation, calling for leaders to “reopen” the economy and do away with shelter-in-place guidelines meant to slow the spread of the virus. On the flip side, these protests have been met with opposition, citing that these guidelines keep Americans across the country safe and out of harms way. The question remains: should shelter-in-place guidelines be lifted to reopen the economy?

 

Lucy Marx
Lucy Marx

Lucy Marx 

We are living in a completely unprecedented time. 

Unemployment rates are peaking across the country, COVID-19 cases continue to rise and the future is uncertain as citizens continue to shelter-in-place. 

Californians continue to grow more restless, protesting at beaches and in the streets, demanding that they regain their jobs and public access. 

Despite the economic downturn and frustration, opening the state in its current condition is the wrong decision. 

COVID-19 cases are still rising in California, and while Gov. Gavin Newsom’s early shelter-in-place order has helped keep cities across the state from reaching New York levels of pandemonium, returning to our old lifestyles will reverse all of the careful resistance California has made. 

Hospitals in New York are completely overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, and healthcare workers are facing hell-like shifts caring for patients without any sure cure. 

To prevent this kind of horror, we need to stay inside. 

Los Angeles County has reported 17,573 cases of COVID-19 as of Friday, reaching the hospital bed capacity of 23,259 licensed beds. 

In order to avoid reaching an uncontrollable level of infection, we can all do our part by staying inside. 

In no way does this mean the hardships Americans are suffering aren’t worth considering. This economic downturn is just as unprecedented and alarming as the virus. But it’s not up to every individual citizen to risk their lives by working through a global pandemic.

This is exactly the kind of situation that requires the government to step in and provide assistance for those who cannot afford to stay home without an income. 

The economy will suffer, but in such a dire situation it is a necessary sacrifice. 

We have a shot at bringing the economy back up. We can’t bring the dead back to life. 

 

Judah Brody

Judah Brody

The economy needs protection from the coronavirus, just like people.

Last Friday my father lost his job of 12 years via an eight minute, impersonal video.

He is just one of the 26 million people who have filed for unemployment in the past few weeks.

The economy will eventually rebound to some degree, but the emotional and financial tolls that lay-offs are forcing upon families cannot be overlooked.

The state’s term “essential business” is flippant, because every job is essential to the person working it. 

In addition, corporations may exploit current events as an excuse to switch to automated workforces and never look back.

Conglomerates with massive profit-margins such as Target and Costco are allowed to remain open while many already struggling local stores are left to rot.

Should those without life savings be mandated to stay home? 

Questions like this are what we must ask if people are to keep pushing the contradictory phrase “stay home, save lives.”

America’s lower class stands to lose everything from shelter to transportation to healthcare.

In theory, stimulus packages will help. However, in reality the IRS is just as overwhelmed as more citizens lose their jobs. The more bailouts our government provides to families, businesses and hospitals, the further in debt the U.S. will become and the value of its dollar could hyper-deflate.

We can potentially save lives by staying in, but it is not exact science and comes at the cost of our livelihoods and mental health.

For protection, people can keep to the recommended distancing guidelines, but it’s time to move into a new normal and stop pretending that this form of living is sustainable.

Although the cure for COVID-19 is not available yet, the cure to our impending economic doom is.