• Jacob Lubarsky

Our health or our economy: where do the U.S.’ morals fall?

In April, the goal was to flatten the curve. Today, the curve is continuing to climb. But even with several states seeing its highest rates of COVID-19 this month, many are acting as if the threat of the virus is lessening.

I live in San Mateo County, south of San Francisco, where our cases have been rising higher than ever before in single days. (San Mateo County Health) And yet, my town is reopening at a swift pace as Phase 3 of reopening is going underway. Indoor and outdoor dining in restaurants and bars have made a return, gyms are reopening and people both young and old are walking around in public as if they are not putting themselves at a significant health risk. Even with most wearing masks, the CDC reports that without practicing social distancing as well as wearing a mask, the mask will not halt the spread of COVID-19. As we have seen the number of cases rise, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered a shutdown of indoor dining in restaurants — a ruling he previously made as the U.S. saw the COVID-19 rates severely rise in March. However, this ruling has only been placed amongst 19 counties in California; none of which include my county or the other 34 counties that are spiking in COVID-19 cases. (ABC 30) Now, a question arises to me: why would Newsom implement further safety guidelines on 19 counties, when nearly every county in California holds rising COVID-19 cases? As clearly seen, the U.S. economy has taken a harsh beating, with the national GDP falling over 8% this year. But what Newsom and others may fail to realize is that if we prioritize our economy instead of our health right now, it will come back to further damage our economy. If our state and federal government fail to flatten the curve now, COVID-19 will continue for months or possibly even years — ultimately delaying the opening of the economy and hurting it in the long run. Currently, a strong question is held amongst our leaders: will they sacrifice our health or will they sacrifice our economy? As much as no one would like to face this reality, including myself, the best idea may be to return to shelter-in-place protocols as we did in April and May. Our national and state reluctance to reopen the U.S. economy was a terrible mistake and it is now critical that we as a nation take the right steps to ensure a COVID-free 2021. Even if we see a temporary drop in our GDP, it is undoubtedly worth reentering shelter-in-place, as the death toll in the U.S. will only rise, along with an ever worsening economy if we fail to act now.