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To Protestors Who Think Opening the Economy Is More Important Than Stopping COVID-19

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To those wishing to reopen the economy now,

I see you protesting across the U.S. — gathering in large crowds and deliberating defying stay at home orders put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, the new-to humans virus that causes respiratory infection and can lead to serious or fatal health complications.

I hear you when you say you’re tired of staying at home and you’re ready to get back to real life, even with a few changes. All I ask is that you please wait. We all are frustrated that we’re still at home. We all want to return to business as usual. And yet, we must wait for the safety and consideration of our communities. Please be patient.

I hear you when you say that other people can just stay home if they want to, but not everyone has the luxury of staying home. People at increased risk of infection, and people without any pre-existing risk factors, still have to go grocery store. They still have to go out for basic supplies and to the doctor. While they may not be entering the “non-essential” businesses so many are eager to reopen, they will come into contact with people, possible asymptomatic carriers, with COVID-19 who have been inside all these businesses opening prematurely.

I understand many people are concerned about income. People currently impacted by suspended income directly related to coronavirus business closures are only a subset of people concerned about income. People who become ill after being in contact with those who didn’t practice proper physical distancing are also concerned about their income and their lives. Being sick will likely eliminate their chance at collecting income even while they were following stay at home orders.

I see people protesting wearing masks. Masks are a start, but they will not solve the crisis of coronavirus — especially if everyone is not wearing masks out in public. I think it’s pretty ironic that the people who are protesting are wearing masks, which means they must actually recognize the importance of some distancing and protecting themselves. With this knowledge, is reopening the economy now not a blatant disrespect for the community and human life as a whole?

Staying at home isn’t about you. Staying at home is about protecting your friends, neighbors, family, community. All it takes is one unknowing person to go out and infect so many more.

The more people infected now will only make the problem grow exponentially. The healthcare system will not be able to keep up and we may lose those workers so integral to our economy for good.

The state of the economy will never negate the effects of science and how these viruses spread.

But while some businesses are unable to reopen, there are still ways to support the economy. Some ideas, according to Forbes contributor Liz Frazier, include:

  • If you are able, consider ordering takeout from a local restaurant, or even just post their menus on social media in case other people you know may be inspired to check out that establishment.
  • Check to see if local businesses have curbside pickup or delivery even if they don’t have their typical storefront open.
  • Get involved in local efforts to strengthen the community you live in if possible. There are things you can still do to support the local economy from your home.
  • Buy gift cards for later use.
  • If you are able to continue paying your cleaning people, hair stylist, nanny, go ahead and do so.
  • Look online to see if providers are offering services online – therapists, personal trainers, financial planners, music classes.
  • Tip extra to support service workers.
  • If you personally are unable to provide services directly to the community, see if you can provide services free of charge to businesses to help keep them open.
  • Donate.

If we remain patient, this will pass. The healthcare system will be able to keep up better and lives will be saved. We are already seeing this in other parts of the world.

I see your frustration, and please be patient — if not for you, then for the people you love.

Concerned about coronavirus? Stay safe using the tips from these articles:

Getty image via Olha Khorimarko

Originally published: April 20, 2020
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