Stay At Home Protests Can Only Lead To Disaster
Gathering in large groups while a highly infectious disease spreads through communities will only accomplish the opposite of what protesters want: Longer lockdowns, and higher infection rates.
All across the country people have started to tightly gather in enormous groups to protest Stay At Home orders implemented by their states. Some states have stricter orders than others, but even ones with more standard measures are facing backlash.
Here in New England, many of our states instituted the orders until May 4th. The current date is April 20th. That means there are still two more weeks left until the first re-evaluation point was supposed to be reached.
We didn’t even make it that far.
Everyone is frustrated. Many are out of work and there is a high level of uncertainty about what’s going to happen next. Just a short time before writing this, oil prices actually reached a negative price, after the biggest single day price drop in American history.
But while oil prices may be diving, protests are causing Coronavirus cases to spike, as seen in Kentucky just a week after they had similar protests as pictured above.
States like New Hampshire, California, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania and many others are starting to see a lot of unrest. And while that can be understandable, it is not going to be helpful.
The protests are sending a message that everyone wants their services and jobs back. Some have held signs that say “I need a haircut.” Make that of it what you will.
The problem is that gathering in large groups while a highly infectious disease spreads through communities will do nothing more than increase the likelihood of the spread.
That, obviously, leads to a longer period of time where businesses are forced to be closed down.
It is not difficult to see the outcome here: The people who are protesting are causing the exact opposite result that they’re looking for.
Many people have opined on my social media posts about this that Americans have the right to protest, which goes without saying. However — in the famed words of Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) in Jurassic Park:
“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, that they didn’t stop to think whether they should.”
The inevitable spikes that areas of protest are going to see can affect all of us. One of these protests happened two days ago, 20 minutes from my house. That means these are people I may pass by during my once-per-week trip out of the house to the grocery store, or even worse, they could live in my parents’ town and put them at risk, too.
The people who are gathering in groups and protesting are most likely not taking precautions on a regular basis. If they were normally being careful, they wouldn’t be cramming themselves into large unruly crowds.
That means that we have thousands of people across the country who are not taking social distancing recommendations seriously, which is going to lead to a prolongation of this entire ordeal…for all of us.
The counterproductive nature of these protests shows a lack of logical reasoning when attending them. But I believe we must do the best we can to keep the door open for logical discourse, as many are clearly disgruntled and are acting in dangerous ways because of it.
In the age of social media, we have a variety of ways to get our message across. I’d venture a guess that all Governors are on Twitter, and a mass campaign from local users could be put together to flood their feeds.
Additionally, old school mailing of letters can pile up on desks and express civil unrest.
And where in-person protests are insisted upon, groups can commit to staying in their cars, holding signs out the window, and making all the noise they want with their horns.
We do not have to put each other in danger by swimming in a sea of Covid as it continues to spread.
There are a variety of conversations to be had within this one that center around economic concerns, healthcare costs, the financial state of the average American citizen, the direction of the job market…but none of that will be relevant if we cannot first move past the immediate threat that has put us in this position in the first place.
Earlier today on Good Morning America, Dr. Anthony Fauci said this:
“Clearly this is something that is hurting from the standpoint of economics and the standpoint of things that have nothing to do with the virus, but unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery economically is not going to happen.”
“So what you do if you jump the gun and go into a situation where you have a big spike, you’re going to set yourself back,” he said. “So as painful as it is to go by the careful guidelines of gradually phasing into a reopening, it’s going to backfire. That’s the problem.”
We must be united in these efforts. This is not a scenario where we are the only ones who face the consequences of our actions. This is a unique and dynamic set of circumstances that quite literally binds us all together. The irresponsibility of one person can have potentially fatal consequences for someone they don’t even know.
It is the ultimate Butterfly Effect.
You are right to be nervous, or scared, or confused, or frustrated. We all are. Everyone is. There’s no shame in it. But these are the times we need to practice mindfulness, thoughtfulness, and contemplation when deciding how to express those feelings and emotions.
They are perfectly valid. You have a litany of real reasons to deeply feel each of these things. Now, though, the chosen response to said feelings can have potentially fatal consequences. What’s more, the potential overwhelm of hospitals and medical facilities is a real danger. Healthcare workers put their lives on the line every day treating Covid patients, and they are put at increased risk if surges arise.
A virus does not discriminate. It doesn’t care what race you are, what political party you support, or about your sexual orientation. It doesn’t care about your beliefs, opinions, or feelings. It just does what it does.
We have seen enough examples of people who’ve not taken this seriously and faced grave consequences. I will refrain from posting names for privacy but there are multiple articles online showcasing social media posts mocking the virus as a “hoax” or “just like the flu.” The poster(s) later ended up fatally inflicted with the virus.
This is not a joke. It’s not the time to play around with our own lives and certainly not the time to play around with those of others. Many people have been following guidelines and staying home as much as they can, and I believe those people should be respected and appreciated. They are the reason this is not even worse than it already is.
The others, though…the protesters and the deniers and those living normal life, are canceling out all of the sacrifice everyone else is making. We could stay inside for a year, but if other people keep going about their day spreading the virus, it will do no good whatsoever.
My hope is that all of us across the world can begin living our “new normal” as soon as humanly possible. If I were confident in the numbers, I’d be advocating just as strongly for getting back to action immediately as I am for holding off a bit longer.
We are just not there yet, and we need to be careful about how we proceed. Our best bet is to stay informed on our local situations and monitor our neighborhoods and states closely to see what is going on. Reach out to your elected officials, it is their job to serve you. Join their email lists or follow their social media pages. Provide support for those around you, even if it’s a listening ear for a frustrated mind.
I’m not here to tell you what to do, simply to provide some perspective about the consequences of our chosen actions. I am as free-spirited as they come and fully support everyone’s right to live their lives however they want — when it doesn’t put others in harm’s way.
There is only one way we can come out stronger on the other side of this: Together.