OPINION: Time to reopen


Graphic by Alex Roberson

The infamous coronavirus as rendered by graphics editor Alex Roberson

It has now been over a month in the coronavirus-age. Social distancing has kept us in our homes, shut down numerous small businesses, and unemployed millions. The curve has begun to flatten. The guidelines have been followed, and now, the movement for reopening is gaining more momentum than ever.

The president and the White House Coronavirus Task Force have laid out a phased plan to reopen because they realize that keeping us closed is only a temporary solution, and that it also causes the mass loss of life and livelihoods. Suicide, depression, and other types of mental illness are just some of the dangerous and oftentimes fatal side effects of shutting down society as we know it.

Social distancing is not meant to prevent people from being ever infected with the coronavirus. It is meant to flatten the curve – to have the same amount of people infected over a longer period of time to avoid going above our healthcare capacity. We have accomplished that goal, and if we reopen in a responsible manner, we can keep it that way. There is enough hospital space, and every American who needs a ventilator was given a ventilator. Now that we have successfully flattened the curve in many areas, it is time to reopen those areas gradually. This means letting people go out, take the precautions they think necessary, and making decisions for themselves. This government overreach is not sustainable for a long period of time and must not be permanent.

Some people do not seem to realize this, but even as we reopen, this does not require anyone to stop social distancing. If you are at-risk or not, you are free to stay at home. However, this does not mean that everyone else should be forced to stay at home. Now has come to the time in this public health crisis that people should do what they think best for themselves, not what the government thinks is best for them.

While the social distancing precautions and the shutdown was necessary, it is time to reopen on a case-by-case basis. We have to be smart about doing this, but staying home cannot go on forever. Some people are recommending we stay in lockdown till next year or until a vaccine is created. Suggesting this is ignoring the blatant problems and unsustainability with shutting down society and the rights of your peers.