Many states have begun reopening in phases in the last few weeks.
It is hard to admit, but it feels like we are valuing jump-starting the economy more than human lives.
Does that sound dramatic? Sure.
But every state that has reopened has reported rising numbers of COVID-19 cases.
Some people are being cautious and still wearing masks and social distancing while being out and about on more than just essential trips.
Some people assume that reopening after quarantine means everything is fine now and they forgo masks and sanitizer and handwashing and distance.
Cases of COVID-19 Are Rising Again
As Healthline has reported: “More than 20 states are reporting an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases as businesses and public facilities begin to reopen.”
In Florida, Governor DeSantis started reopening beaches in mid-April, phase 1 reopening May 4 with non-essential businesses like restaurants and retail, then phase 2 of reopening (bars, movie theaters, tattoo parlors, etc.) on June 5 (with some restrictions).
This past Sunday, June 14, Florida reported it’s second consecutive day of over 2000 new cases of COVID-19. Saturday the 13th was 2,581, Sunday it was 2,016.
“[Florida Governor] DeSantis told WPLG on Friday that he attributed the state’s rise in cases to an outbreak among farmworkers in north central Florida.”
This interactive map from ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that primarily investigates abuses of power, shows the trajectory of each state’s positive COVID test per 100k people over the last 2 weeks.
In states like New York, which has lifted the “stay-at-home order” but has not really begun true reopening, positive COVID tests are still decreasing.
States like Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina have cases on the rise.
The New York Times has created a daily tracking map, which shows that 21 states have had rising confirmed COVID-19 cases over the last 2 weeks. While deaths are still on a downward trend for now, thousands of new cases are being confirmed each day.
Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci and the CDC are still warning everyone that the pandemic is NOT over. But unfortunately, many people aren’t listening.
New York, my own state, experienced the world’s biggest and deadliest COVID-19 outbreak and has been behind other states in reopening, but is in phase 1 of 4 of reopening as of June 8. For NY, phase 1 allows construction, manufacturing, and wholesale supply businesses to reopen and many retailers to open for curbside and in-store pickup.
I am not truly understanding WHY but for some reason, wearing a mask has become a personal and political statement for many people. At the beginning of the outbreak, it seemed people were all in agreement that wearing masks and washing their hands often was a good idea and as time has gone on, some people are pushing back.
It is difficult for me as a human being to understand why wearing a mask is controversial. Sure, it’s a bit uncomfortable, but it helps stop the spread and that, in turn, helps keep the people around us healthy. Why are so many people okay with not wearing a simple mask to potentially help others stay healthy? Is our selfishness such that we truly only care about ourselves? How do they reconcile the fact that other people wearing masks helps keep THEM healthy?
Stress and Boredom in Quarantine
I get it. Quarantine is boring and the last few months have been incredibly stressful as the world has gone through an unprecedented pandemic of mythic proportions. Also, murder hornets.
So many people have lost their jobs, there have been rent and mortgage deferrals, a huge stimulus package, corporate bailouts, and the economy was in freefall.
It’s horrible and scary.
But it worked. Cases and deaths were going down. It was effective.
Our economy can and will come back. It’s happened after every depression and recession.
But those who die cannot come back. We must continue to band together as a nation, as a people, to protect ourselves and each other. Deaths in the US are over 100,000 and deaths worldwide are over 432,000!
Just as we vaccinate ourselves and our children to protect not only ourselves but each other, we MUST keep being careful and taking precautions.
In Florida, when the state started reopening in May, our family insisted that my 80-something grandma and 70-something parents keep staying home until we see some numbers in 2–3 weeks. And when they DO inevitably ignore us and go get their hair done, that they wear masks and use hand sanitizer and be careful.
Luckily, they mainly stay at home and are still healthy.
For now, my husband and I are maintaining isolation.
It sucks and I miss the great outdoors and shopping and my friends. I know how lucky I am to be in a place where I can still get every type of food delivered and in a time where technology allows me to stay connected with friends and family.
And being at home during this pandemic has made me nervous about going back out in crowds anyway. I am not ready to ride the train or go into the city yet. We aren’t ready for big gatherings and parties with no masks.
And I simply don’t know when I’ll be comfortable with that again.
I understand how lucky I am that my husband and I can work from home during all of this. While my business has suffered some, my husband has been able to continue working full-time in the tech industry. I am so grateful for our ability to work. Even though I am working less than before and dealing with anxiety and mental health issues, I do understand my privilege and am grateful every day that we can be home together and safe.
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