Protesting a pandemic: Politics has gone too far

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The enforcement of stay-at-home orders has led to protests across the country

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Protestors have rallied in multiple states to express their disdain for prolonged stay-at-home orders, blatantly ignoring health and safety recommendations set in place to flatten the curve of the novel coronavirus.

Many others have gathered in some of Idaho’s and Washington’s bigger cities for what some have described as their constitutional right to assemble.

The anti-quarantine protestors taking to the streets against social distancing are a small minority of Americans – and their attitudes represent a fraction of public opinion.

Yet their disregard for social distancing measures is still infuriating. The current global pandemic requires each of us to be attentive against spreading the extremely contagious virus.

Not to mention, the encouragement to reopen the economy (even by risking public health) from the White House is astonishingly disheartening and senseless. The fact that people are making a global pandemic political, waving “Trump 2020 flags” while gathering to march in the streets, is outrageous.

Our healthcare professionals are begging us to stay home for everyone’s safety, and if you’re not doing just that, you’re part of the problem.

Counties with low COVID-19 case numbers are not excluded from Gov. Kate Brown’s executive order and restrictions are not different from county to county. The order encompasses the entirety of Oregon and it affects all of its residents regardless of their urban or rural demographic status.

The executive order will not be lifted until the number of cases in Oregon drops. Every resident and county in Oregon are in this together.

Seeing members of communities ignore the stay-at-home orders is upsetting. The statewide order is in place to protect the health and safety of people. Oregon has had 83 deaths from the coronavirus, and officials warn us that number will rise if we don’t take self-isolation seriously.

There is not room for flexibility when it comes to social distancing. During the pandemic of the Spanish Flu in 1918, the second wave of the illness killed more than the first. Japan and Singapore have recently seen a shocking resurgence of positive cases of COVID-19 after having survived one of the earlier global waves.

Everybody has lost something in one way or another during the pandemic. Seniors in college and high school are being cheated out of their last semesters, and consequently, all the memories that would have come along with them. Spring sports athletes are missing out on nearly an entire season.

These are moments many people will never get back.

More importantly, many have been affected by the deadly virus itself. People have lost family members without saying goodbye, women have given birth alone in delivery rooms, and healthcare professionals have had to come to terms with the fact that they may not make it out of this pandemic alive.

Yes, people have lost their jobs and most businesses are struggling to stay afloat. The United States has hit a record-high unemployment rate in the past few weeks, leaving 22 million people out of work. This is the highest it has been since the Great Depression.

But returning to work and gathering in public again is not going to solve the global health crisis that brought us here in the first place.

All of our efforts to protect ourselves by social distancing will be wasted if a select few continue to ignore health and safety measures. It’s not fair to the health care professionals, other essential workers, or people most at risk of contracting COVID-19.

We need to continue social distancing as long as it’s needed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The only way the pandemic will end is if we stay united together against it.