Since Halloween, COVID-19 cases have increased at an alarming rate based on the weekly average. There were 47,304 new cases nationwide on Oct. 1, but the number inflated to 100,177 on Oct. 30.
In March, the national COVID-19 infection rate hit a high of nearly 4,500. The Trump administration implemented a stay-at-home order, which restricted gatherings of 10 or more people, in-person schooling and advised Americans to avoid traveling.
Many states have re-implemented some of these restrictions, but people are still questioning if this will be enough to flatten the curve.
In November, a nationwide lockdown was suggested by Dr. Michael Osterholm who is from President-elect Joe Biden’s team of COVID-19 advisors. He floated the lockdown idea when speaking to Yahoo Finance Live.
"We could pay for a package, right now, to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers, for losses to small companies, to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments. We could do all of that," he said. "If we did that, then we could lock down for four to six weeks. And if we did that, we could drive the numbers down."
Based on statistics from the first nationwide shutdown, the answer is clear. Another shutdown will not prevent COVID-19 cases from rising. The restrictions implemented in March only harmed the country by preventing businesses from thriving and students from learning.
The first shutdown required restaurants, bars, and retail stores to close their doors. McKinsey & Company, a U.S. management consulting firm, estimated that fashion and retail revenue will drop from last year’s numbers by 27 to 30%.
In mid-May, the cases reported nationwide reached an all-time low of 13,411, but have steadily increased since. With an exponential growth of more than 14 million cases, it is no secret that immediate action needs to be taken at a national level.
As for students, data has shown that the achievement gap is only getting larger between white students and students of color since the mandatory virtual learning began in March. According to the Washington Post, early literacy progress from young students in kindergarten through second grade has declined.
With the American people’s best interest in mind, the Biden administration will work closely with experts to determine the safest and most effective way to reopen schools and businesses.
“Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts,” Biden said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Disease, spoke with Sinclair anchor Jan Jeffcoat and expressed his opposition to implementing a nationwide lockdown.
“The country has COVID-19 fatigue. The consequences of lockdown, from an economic as well as a literary moral standpoint, are very, very important,” Fauci said.
Aligning with Fauci’s advice, the solution to this pandemic is not a lockdown, but simply adhering to COVID-19 health and safety regulations. We can get the outbreaks under control if every state mandates face coverings, six-feet social distancing and restricts congregate settings.
With the fear of another large surge of cases coming this Christmas, Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a less restrictive stay-at-home order effective Dec. 5. The regulations greatly consider small-business success as well as the mental well-being of California residents.
“This public health order strikes the balance between saving lives, providing essential services that we all rely on and still allowing Californians to participate in lower-risk outdoor activities that are crucial for our physical and mental health,” said Dr. Erica Pan, acting state public health officer.
This is the kind of approach our country needs in order to stabilize the economy and prevent future surges of COVID-19 cases. Restricting businesses and having families bunker-down in their homes only brings unnecessary stress and depression.
If cases continue to rise around the country, it only seems right to follow in Newsom’s path and take a less restrictive approach. By allowing businesses to remain operable and discouraging households from mixing, we can flatten the curve once again.