Lives vs. Stability

Protect the People or Protect the System


Ethan Menning

Ceasing Everything: COVID-19 left the US in a nightmare. Now the economy and its citizens are pleading to the government to reopen. It is time protect the markets and individual financial security, all while protecting the most vulnerable.

COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the United States economy and jobs system. In a report on April 14, CNBC stated that 7.5 million small businesses closed due to federal and state restrictions, but as the summer nears, restrictions are beginning to lessen. Owners are faced with the choice of keeping their businesses closed for the safety of their employees, or opening up so that their workers can gain income. This is a very difficult decision to make: prolonged safety with no economic stability, or prolonged economic stability with little safety.
The United States cannot keep the nation afloat for a quarantine that lasts forever, we have to eventually reopen. Many do not understand that no matter when we reopen, there will be a spike in deaths. Owners need to face the fact that people are dying and will die no matter what. That is the nature of a pandemic. It is only a matter of how many people die. Our national debt increases by the second, and eventually, that will catch up to us. Congress can only pour out relief checks for individuals and businesses for so long. People need to begin to make money on their own and provide for their families. If they do not and the government halts their release of relief checks, we will begin to see more unemployment and living conditions comparable to the Great Depression.
Restrictions need to be reevaluated once businesses are opened. It is acceptable for the government to tell businesses that they can only operate at, for example, 25 percent occupancy, but that will never work. A small restaurant cannot operate with only a quarter of its building full because it simply will not bring in enough revenue. Restrictions need to grant more freedom to small businesses and restaurants so that they can return to full strength. Again, people will get infected with COVID-19 no matter what.
Now, this plan will only work if people are smart about leaving their houses. COVID-19 infected people should remain on lockdown, isolated in their homes. This minimizes the possibility for others to be infected. High-risk individuals should stay isolated to ensure their safety.
Some political commentators have been calling for a quicker reopening for a few weeks now and are using an analogy to back up their stance. They say the choice of going back to work and reopening is like choosing marbles from a bag. For example, there are two blue marbles and 9,998 red marbles in the bag for college students and young adults. The number of blue marbles only exponentially increases once you get to a certain age, but regardless, the chances of death (the blue marbles) is very minimal. The red marbles indicate the chances of surviving the virus. Now, people are given the option to not even reach into the bag and take the low risk. They have the option of staying home, but this means that their financial security will go down the drain. Most young people will reach into the bag and test the waters rather than face financial turmoil.
Americans need to be able to operate as usual. That is the only way to get past a national threat like COVID-19. Assuming that people are smart when they get out of isolation, the opening will run smoothly. Americans will be able to satisfy their economic needs with minimal exposure.