National IssuesOpinion

Opinion: The United States needs to shut down

Photo by Anna Shvets

Every day, more grim milestones are met in regards to the coronavirus pandemic locally, nationally and worldwide. On Dec. 9, Idaho broke a new record of 2,229 reported cases. With news of possibly several vaccinations soon becoming available, many people may hold on to the false hope that the pandemic will soon be over and the virus eradicated, but that is simply not the case. 

Medical experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have stated that the release of a vaccine will not solve all of our COVID-19 problems, and mask mandates and social distancing guidelines must continue to be enforced. 

In an interview by Jake Tapper with Fauci on Nov. 15, Fauci emphasized that: “We have got to put all of those things together, Jake. We can’t just wish it [will go back to normal]. We have got to get the vaccine, it has got to be deployed and we can’t abandon fundamental public health measures. You can approach a degree of normality, while still doing some fundamental public health things that synergize with the vaccine to get us back to normal.”

Our government’s leniency in stopping the virus and actually enforcing safety precautions has put the United States and most of the world in an incredibly vulnerable position, especially for this winter. This holiday season will prove to be much grimmer than any we have seen in recent times. Hospitals nationwide are full, if not bursting, and limited supplies and staff are causing healthcare workers stress that no one should have to face. 

My family and I do our best to limit our trips outside, but when one of us does have to make a shopping trip, I cannot help but be appalled at the number of people simply not wearing masks, or wearing them incorrectly. It is incredibly distressing to me that nine months since Idaho’s first case, people are still refusing to listen to health experts. 

[Photo of a person grocery shopping with a mask on]
Photo by Anna Shvets | Pexels

It has been well established that the purpose of facial coverings is to protect not only yourself, but those around you from spreading and catching this virus. With that knowledge, I cannot help but view those who refuse to wear facial coverings as incredibly selfish. But sadly, it is abundantly clear in the record-breaking headlines every day that mask mandates are not enough to stop the spread. 

With cases higher than they have ever been, I cannot help but wonder why the United States, or states on their own, have refused to even consider going into another shutdown with a stay-at-home order. How is it that when one case was reported in March, I was sent home from my on-campus housing, but now when there is an average of almost 1,500 cases a day, I am expected to go back to campus in the spring and attend in-person classes? 

Some experts are projecting our current death toll to more than double by April 1. It baffles me that this projection does not scare everyone enough to finally take this virus seriously. The government is clearly prioritizing the nation’s economy over the lives of its citizens. Even health experts are claiming that without another lockdown, the death toll will grow tenfold.

“What America has to understand is that we are about to enter Covid hell,” Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told CNBC’s “Squawk Alley.” 

According to Osterholm, “We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the lost wages for individual workers… if we did that, then we could lockdown for 4 to 6 weeks.”

So, we are apparently capable of distributing a package that could support Americans during a four-to-six week shutdown; if that’s the case, then why won’t the government push that into motion? 

People are being infected and dying at alarming rates. Records are broken nationwide every single day, and the government is just standing by, letting it happen. If we want to stop this virus, we need to go into a strict, intensive lockdown, or we may not be able to stop the spread at all. 

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