Throughout several states, including Massachusetts – the newly declared hotspot of the COVID-19 outbreak – protesters have gathered to demand their governors drop social distancing orders while rallying to reopen the country, despite the virus’ persistence.
They argue these orders are unconstitutional because they impede upon their unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as they shut down their places of work, trap them indoors, and spoil their ability to lead normal lives.
But what they don’t seem to recognize is that it’s the virus itself threatening each of these rights, not their governors’ orders that seek to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 cases.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness cannot be enjoyed by protesters if the virus puts themselves, or others they spread it to, in the hospital – or worse: in the morgue.
That is what state governors are trying to prevent through social distancing orders meant to contain the virus and help prevent the death toll from rising any further.
While it may seem like quarantines and travel restrictions are impinging on people’s rights, these safety measures were put in place to protect people from contracting the disease and dying.
It’s the virus that takes away the right to life – not the government’s safety measures intended to protect life.
While stay-at-home advisories and quarantines are not the ideal situation, they are currently the only way to keep Americans safe and limit the spread of COVID-19.
Protesters are sacrificing their ability to stay safe while also endangering the lives of everyone else, including first responders and essential medical personnel.
The world doesn’t know enough about COVID-19 to stop it. What we do know is people can carry it without any symptoms – and that’s dangerous.
Our response to the virus as a community is limited by the weakest link in the chain. It only takes one protester carrying the virus unknowingly to start a second wave of infections.
We know life during the pandemic is unpleasant, and we too want everything to go back to normal. But the pandemic is a natural disaster – humans can only do so much to contain it.
Whether you like it or not, we just have to wait out the wrath of COVID-19.
The reality of our situation is: reopening America will be a slow process based on federal guidelines and phases, and we must ride this out together if we ever want our lives to go back to normal.
The orders are there for a reason, and while some people believe protesting will speed up the process of reopening the country, they’re selfishly putting themselves, those involved, and those around them at risk.
Protesting in public spaces without proper protection will not make the virus go away. It will not safely open your favorite restaurant or enable your children to return to school.
If people continue to be selfish by irresponsibly protesting the orders put in place to protect us, we will never see the end of this pandemic.
It is unfortunate that we have been put in this situation. We all want to go back to work, fill our classrooms, and have our cookouts this summer. But, the reality of the situation is we can’t do any of that until this virus is under control.
The curve may begin to flatten in the near future, but we still have a long way to go before life returns to normal.
Let’s not make the wait any longer by reopening too early.