Opening up the U.S. now would be a dangerous mistake

Joseph Foisey , Guest Columnist

Even when faced with grave danger, the people of the United States will continue to turn toward selfishness.   

For the past few weeks, there has been a mounting campaign in major cities within the United States for the reopening of stores and the lifting of stay-at-home orders. While this antsy, energetic push for “freedom” from self-imposed quarantine is understandable, it is absolutely unacceptable. 

The orchestration of a loud, effective movement to open up the state presents a tangible danger not just to the elderly and the very young, but to the disabled and the otherwise disenfranchised. 

We are not in any position to make decisions on behalf of those endangered by this disease just because we are finding ourselves with some excess energy while staying safe.

It is a noted fact that the mortality rate for COVID-19 is higher among the elderly and the very young, that the danger that this disease poses is far more pressing for those suffering from existing respiratory or immunity issues, and that this disease can and has been spreading like wildfire.

Living in a town with a moderate population and with a wide range of views on the situation, working on the front line forty hours a week, I have seen every position on the scale for this issue.

I have seen people in full protective gear from week one, steering clear of me at work and not even so much as asking me where the product is that they cannot find. I have seen people who refuse to wear masks even after the order necessitating it, walking up to me and leaving only inches between us to ask me questions about where to find graham crackers. 

The former did not hurt me, even when it appeared to be overkill, while the latter has certainly endangered me. Almost every day I have been working, keeping in mind that I live with my father who is pushing sixty and my mother who has respiratory issues and I have lived with both respiratory issues and immunodeficiencies in the past. 

The lack of care that people are taking this on with simply in the name of protest is harming us distinctly, and it is not simply in the fear that interacting with somebody so closely during this time would invoke.

The amount of cases of this disease have been growing exponentially, and more jarringly, the amount of deaths from this disease have been growing at a similar rate.

In the past two months, we have gone from 7,000 deaths in California to bordering on 70,000, an exponential number. These are real people suffering real life upheavals in a time when they may not be able to afford a funeral.

Thousands of people are losing their jobs and the government is hemorrhaging money on unemployment. This issue will only get worse if we open up right now, as historically indicated by other pandemics such as the Spanish flu. 

Any flippancy toward this disease, buying into a crackpot concept of a “5G-influenced” disease spread or any spoofing on the numbers and the dangers of this disease, is harmful not only to the self but more importantly to the people at large.

If we open things up for a group of Baby Boomers throwing a tantrum over being a part of an unprecedented event in world history and being forced to handle it correctly, we are putting hundreds of thousands of lives at risk, especially in population centers such as California’s cities. 

I urge the people to step away from these protests, to go home, and to stay safe. Your life matters, your opinion matters, and your time matters, but so do the lives and the thoughts of the people you are endangering. This is life or death.