In only seven weeks, COVID-19 has killed approximately 35,000 people in the United States alone. Mandatory lockdowns and further measures have swept across the country, and for the most part, people are complying. While states like my own are seeming to benefit from social distancing and isolation, there is still work to be done for the country to return to a state of normalcy. Yet, in the last several days, there have been rallies protesting government actions.
Few, if any, of these protesters are wearing masks, distancing themselves from one another, or taking any kind of precautionary measure to stifle the spread of this virus. They are flooding the streets angrily, strapped with guns, and leading organized movements against the government. What is perhaps most perplexing about these protests is that most of these people are Trump supporters, as evidenced by their clothing, signs, and merchandise, but the president himself signed off on these national measures. While there are differences by state, most people are facing the same circumstances. They are stuck at home, kept from work/school, and are struggling in the face of a global pandemic.
It's completely rational for these people to fear the outcomes of quarantine. Among these groups, there is a severe concern for the state of the economy if public officials do not take steps toward reopening businesses and trade. There are valid concerns, of course, but a question I often pose to these kinds of statements is "What do you think they should do?" I'm either met with uncertainty or a course of action that involves disregarding the guidelines created by health professionals and researchers. I can understand people's frustration, and I truly do feel for people who have lost their jobs, but it seems to me that these people are more concerned about their supposed "loss of constitutional rights."
One thing I've heard these far-right-wing Christians say is that the Democrats are attacking their first amendment rights to practice their faith by shutting down churches. The funny thing is, 30% of this country does not identify as Christian (https://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study), but I have yet to see groups of Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, etc, taking to the streets and screaming about their religious freedoms. All churches are being closed, not just Christian ones. People are doing whatever they can to minimize the spread of infection, and large church congregations are one of the many things that have been halted. It's not an attack on your rights; It's an attempt to protect your life.
Another big topic is people feeling that the government is tyrannical. They claim that the government is infringing upon their liberties and that we should all be doing whatever is necessary to stop this injustice. To be truthful, typing that sentence almost leaves me speechless. This country was founded upon ideals of liberty and, of course, the constitution, but the government should also serve its people in times of emergency. Just because you have freedoms like those of speech and assembly doesn't mean you should be blatantly ignoring the warnings of medical experts. It's almost ironic because radical conservatives like these place a heavy emphasis on law and order, yet when they are the ones affected, they throw those values to the wind. It baffles me that people are more concerned about their ability to live a normal reality than the fate of actual human lives.
What frustrates me most is that these misinformed individuals could seriously harm those who are following the proper guidelines. According to an article from the Cleveland Clinic, nearly 20% of people who have COVID-19 are asymptomatic (https://health.clevelandclinic.org/studies-show-carriers-with-mild-or-no-symptoms-are-key-part-of-covid-19-spread/). People are indignant that they are forced to shelter in place when they are healthy, and this honestly reflects something far deeper than any political party or set of beliefs: it's a selfish and ignorant mindset. This disease may not affect you directly, but it severely impacts the lives of the elderly, immunocompromised, and people with underlying health conditions. It impacts anyone who works at a hospital or a grocery store or a pharmacy. Their lives matter just as much as yours.
Instead of endangering people in this way, you can demonstrate dissent by contacting public officials, being vocal on social media, signing petitions, etc. This will get better if we just wait; However, if you don't want to acknowledge that aspect of this issue, you can think of your own interests. The more you congregate, the more you disrespect the lives of at-risk groups, the more you allow for this disease to spread and kill, the longer this quarantine will persist, and I hope ending this lockdown is something everyone can get behind.