Liberty V. Safety.jpg

Illustration by Christian Ayala

Protests from coast to coast are emerging with hopes to bring an end to the stay-at-home orders that COVID-19 has caused nationwide. These acts of protest and their message are both ridiculous and completely counterproductive to the efforts made to limit the negative effects of this pandemic.

States such as Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina are willing to ease social distancing orders. An article from The New York Times explains that states' confidence to loosen restrictions comes from models the White House is using to help predict and plan for this pandemic, one of which is from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The models are giving states hope that once the infection rate peaks, it will quickly resolve just as it began. In much of the world, this is not the case.

Yet, many Americans view the restrictions placed on their states as a means for the government to further control their lives. They are following their governor's belief that, shortly, conditions will stabilize to a point that would allow for looser restrictions by the government.

However, following these models is not the best action plan for our states. Evidence from Western Europe does not follow the pattern suggested by the models, according to a report from the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team. So, to expect the models to accurately reflect the situation in the United States is a limited perspective.

Data from John Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center found that Italy had the highest record of new cases with 6,557 around mid-March according to a five-day moving average. This is important to know because almost a month before, according to a linear scale from Worldometer, they had only a handful of new cases. A month later, Italy is still finding thousands. The data also showed that Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands all followed the same trend of a sudden increase of cases, then a slow decrease of new ones.

The models do help officials try to analyze the data and show how our actions can prevent further spread. However, the data isn't reliable enough for people to start believing in when countries are proving that the decline will be just as sharp as its increase.

Yet, many people are still using this model to prove that conditions will soon be ideal to loosen some restrictions. That is a big mistake and I don't think it shouldn't be taken seriously.

Not long ago, Italy had the highest amount of COVID-19 cases and the United States now holds that title. How is it that governors believe that states can reopen when other countries aren't showing significant signs of a sharp decrease in new cases? None of the Western European countries followed the model of cases peaking and then falling smoothly.

People need to be prepared to wait for an extended period of time as they are sheltering in place. Our future after this pandemic is unpredictable, but we can help make a difference by doing our part in preventing further spread. Failure to comply with these restrictions will result in complications with the health care system or even a second wave of sheltering in place.

At a time like this where we haven't flattened the curve yet, some right-wing Americans want to turn the safety restrictions into a political message. Their selfish and self-centered belief that their freedoms are being infringed upon is so ignorant that it's beyond belief. They seem to care about their own well-being rather than thinking about the health and safety of others.

One protester in California, captured in a tweet, stood outside of a Baskin Robbins holding a sign that read, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Some Americans, such as this protester, are acting like these restrictions are oppressing them and that they are fighting for their livelihood.

White House adviser, Stephen Moore, laughably compared the protests of the lockdown to that of Rosa Parks, a civil-rights icon. Moore said in an interview with New York Magazine, “I call these people modern-day Rosa Parks. They are protesting against injustice and loss of liberties.”

He compared the temporary restriction from sheltering in place and practicing social distancing to that of civil rights injustices that African Americans had to go through. The two are simply not comparable. One was a matter of human rights and equality, and the other is a matter of selfish disregard for public health.

The divide in the U.S. over holding out longer versus having the freedom of choice is blind to the greater good of humanity. You are not a hero for protesting that your freedom and liberties are being taken.

The benefit of the many will always be greater than the benefit of the few.