Keeping Citizens Covered During COVID

Keeping Citizens Covered During COVID

Beck Williams, Commentary Editor

There appears to be a fairly widespread belief that the only proper solution to COVID-19 is and was a complete and total shutdown of all of the basic functions of society. Democrats and some Republicans alike seem to think that the way forward is clearcut and simple, that way forward being the way of lockdowns. However, this argument lacks nuance and fails to understand both the dynamics of the pandemic itself and the other factors that play into decisions of whether or not to reopen.

To begin with, we have to address the misconception that reopening in the interest of those trapped in their homes and unable to go to work or school is inherently dangerous and irresponsible. In reality, it is the only responsible thing to do to take into account all factors, as opposed to taking the most extreme measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 with no regard for the consequences we will be left to deal with. Those opposed to lockdowns want as much as anyone for the COVID-19 epidemic to end, but we also need to recognize that there are other problems to be addressed, and that blindly following the philosophy of lockdowns will be ultimately unproductive.

In April, because of lockdowns and the forceful shutting down of businesses, America’s unemployment rate topped a staggering 14 percent, a Great Depression-esque number. To combat a failing economy, Governor Greg Abbott and others began to reopen their states in order to get the country back on track. These decisions did not come from a lack of caution about the virus, but from an abundance of concern for the economy. Put simply, states like Texas can’t put the economy on hold to fight COVID-19.

Now, many blame recent spikes in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on the policies of governors like Abbott to reopen their states. If one were to look at the data from across the country, however, he would see that that is simply not the case. States like California and Louisiana, with pro-lockdown Democratic governors, have seen similar spikes to those in Texas and Florida, showing that these spikes are not unique to states that reopen, and some states that have reopened similarly to Texas, like Colorado, have not seen a significant spike. In addition, Texas has managed to maintain a very low death rate compared to states like New York, which initially fared the worst of any state under Governor Andrew Cuomo. It stands to reason, then, that the spikes in COVID-19 cases are not due to Governor Abbott’s reopening policies, but rather due to human behavior outside of the control of the government.

The solution to stop the spread of COVID-19 has never been extending unnecessary lockdowns and shutting people inside their homes for months. When we first shut down, we were told that it would last no longer than a couple weeks. It has now been multiple months since that time, and Americans don’t want to continue to be kept from their workplaces and schools. More governors need to follow the example of Greg Abbott and safely reopen their states, instead of continuing to enforce overbearing regulations for political gain.