It has been over three months since the first case of COVID-19 and over six weeks since the country reacted with virtually a complete shutdown and a silencing of its economy with it.
The devastation of the disease has also struck the weakest of Americans at remarkable rates. The unemployment rate in the nation has risen from 3.5% in February to 4.4% in March, staggering the total of unemployed persons in the U.S. from 1.4 now to 7.1 million as of March.
Oil prices have far passed the 21 year record low and recently reached the price of -$37.63 per barrel, affecting an incredible amount of families in such occupations.
The global economy is predicted to shrink by 3% this year and the U.S., along with Canada, France, Italy, the U.K., Germany and Japan are all predicted to go into recession this year. This virus is hurting more than our bodies, it is crippling our country economically.
A cursory reopening to normal life in the U.S. would simply spark the same events that we failed to prevent two months ago. If we simply disassemble all precautions taken in concern to public privilege we will endanger millions of Americans (and more around the world) who are especially susceptible to the disease.
However, refusing to combat this list of economic losses will only add to their detriment. Those in authority must consider that a nation with a crippled economy, countless unemployed and a greatly fatigued medical system would be no less harmful than this pandemic. Without completely compromising national safety, we move to take action as the world’s most powerful and extensive economy.
Although no one enjoys this lockdown, especially not the part where we don’t get to do whatever we want, at this time, we as a country must act as a collaboration, not just as individuals. Further, we must think in terms of our future, which goes beyond the next time you need to buy more eggs.
The outrage that has been displayed in loud opposition to the current quarantine recommendation is not an appropriate response to this crisis. This virus has a nasty way of making it feel like there is no end in sight.
Yes, there is still much uncertainty, but our patience now will pay off in dividends. The more cooperative we are, the quicker we get out of the tunnel and into the light at the end of it.
In order to appropriate the return to our normal lives, we must think about how to introduce our daily practices without just opening the floodgates. Restaurants should start to consider only seating every other table or taking the necessary precautions to avoid large crowds of people in confined spaces.
The same ideas should aim to solve our current hesitations concerning public transportation, church gatherings, etc. Of course none of us have the answers, but the authorities must look to have them when the time comes that they are needed.
We may also take comfort in knowing that everyone shares this weight on their shoulders, some more than others, but we all feel it. When we fall behind on tuition payments or just our valued daily routines, it immediately feels like we just got tripped at the starting line of a race, right at the sound of the gun. I’m here to tell you that we all tripped, we’re all behind, but we’ll catch up.