As other countries have entered a second lockdown due to an increase in Coronavirus cases, America may be facing the same fate in the near future. The United States succeeded European countries such as Spain, Italy, and England earlier in 2020 when the world began to enter quarantine and now with a second wave of lockdowns in those countries, the United States could be looking at a repeat of events. The nation, regarding most aspects, cannot afford to shut down for a second time, a mandated quarantine will bring along a multitude of negative side effects in addition to the prevailing issue—COVID-19.
Politically, the United States has been in a period of turbulence only to be hit with the responsibility of handling a global pandemic. This was to be done in a manner that keeps people safe with an attempt at fulfilling contentment across its population. Certain decisions have created a greater divide within the existing feudal dynamic of the government, spreading more concern across an already panicked society. Decisions from the beginning of the pandemic were debated, as were the non-decisions. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) states that this idea was “illustrated by President Trump’s decision to rely on political pressure and markets over immediate activation of the Defense Production Act,” when frontline workers were desperate for equipment, and action was not taken to provide them with the necessary medical supplies to front the battle against the disease.
Although many beneficial policies have been passed through the federal government in response to the pandemic and state governments followed suit, another lockdown will bring into question the quality of the nation’s decision-making body once again. Conflicting messages have been sent from President-elect Joe Biden and a member of his appointed COVID-19 advisory board. Dr. Michael Osterholm mentioned in an interview that a second lockdown is an option that is worth considering. He claims it would reduce positive cases and the government will have the means to supply funding for workers and small businesses to sustain the economy during a four to six week-long stay at home order.
On the other hand, there were mentions of Biden wanting to avoid a national lockdown and hone in on other approaches to stop the spread. The reason being: he is not willing to jeopardize an already weak economy. He also says it depends on each state and a national lockdown would not be a reasonable solution nationwide. These mixed messages from the upcoming president and his team present no reason for Americans to get their hopes up that COVID-19 will soon vanish. A lockdown potentially poses more harm to the greater good of society than the virus itself which has been recognized.
As seen with the first national lockdown in response to the pandemic, a major focus was the damage to the economy. Regardless of stimulus bills and unemployment benefits, the economy from big businesses to local shops suffered which means the workers felt the brunt of the negative impacts. After a period of economic growth and dwindling unemployment, when the pandemic hit the United States, it was only a matter of time before the adverse effects settled into daily lives in addition to the health concern that is now prevalent. These effects rippled throughout the national economy reaching most people. Employed students from Steinbrenner have voiced their personal concerns about a second lockdown. Knowing that their jobs are at stake and unsure of how to handle their personal expenses and responsibilities if they are prohibited from fulfilling their shifts, a second lockdown would not only be costly but an additional stressor during this time.
Students not only are subject to fret about their job being consistent but if their education will remain consistent as well. When the initial lockdown swept the nation, schools were quick to shut down. Safety was clearly a priority but planning accordingly for the remainder of the school year was lacking. From kindergarten to college, everyone was thrown off course and was left to fend for themselves in a time that was difficult for adults to even navigate. Education, while it doesn’t seem like a priority in many respects, it actually is to the individuals who need schooling on their path to success. Preparation for life ahead is provided by school and the socialization which takes place there. Many students rely on routine and structure to succeed in school and without it can easily fall behind and lack motivation to continue. Being sent into quarantine and closing schools also makes a parent’s work more challenging by needing to balance their own employment status, their child’s education, and normal concerns of being a parent during a pandemic. The United States has already experienced education during a lockdown once, and a second time would likely carry extra complications.
The advantage a second lockdown has over the first is that there would be a higher sense of preparedness for what’s to come. The government has witnessed the drastic effects on its people and structure, the economy can anticipate the depression it’s bound to fall into, and schools now have platforms in place to attempt to resume school as usual from within the walls of one’s own home. The shock factor will be removed, the panic will not. The first quarantine effort was accompanied by shortages of all kinds of necessities due to consumer behavior, influenced by panic, and supply chain channels, being redirected after the areas of demand shifted. People will want to take measures to ensure their personal comfort and ease of mind if the nation is forced back into lockdown. While there may be more resources to combat the severity of the impact lockdown has on aspects of daily lives, these resources cannot replace that desire for human interaction and to return to normalcy.
Americans had a fairly negative response to the first lockdown and other protocols placed to limit exposure and reduce positive cases. With a second lockdown, the response will follow the same pattern. While people want to return to normalcy and eliminate the power the pandemic has on their personal lives, there must be some structure and enforced guidelines for the safety and benefit of the greater good in society. However, a lockdown is simply too drastic and will escalate the solution to be larger than the original problem the nation is facing.
Staff Writer // Kaitlyn Estrada