The harmful effects of COVID-19 protests

Citizens protest the economic shutdown caused by COVID-19. (Paul Becker/Wikipedia)

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have chosen to disregard social distancing guidelines and take to the streets in protest of the economy being shut down. We have had a few of these protests in Orange County cities, namely San Clemente, Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach.

On one side there are the MAGA apparel bearing protestors holding up signs smeared with demands such as “We demand haircuts!” On the other side, there are those who protest the protestors by yelling at them through their car windows. An ugly sight, and one that will cause more harm than it ever will good.

Yes, Americans have the right to peacefully protest, but the problem I have with these protests is that they are making a nonpolitical issue into a partisan mess. In a time when partisanship tears apart our governmental system, is should not be extended to a disease every person is vulnerable to.

“These lockdown procedures feel like major overkill to be quite honest,” said Lindsey Brown, a Mission Viejo community member who took part in the San Clemente protest. “I am not convinced the virus would spread to the extent many politicians are claiming.”

COVID-19 does not discriminate based on political affiliations. Instead, what makes someone more likely to be infected when they participate in public events without proper face masks while simultaneously ignoring the social distancing guidelines put in place to keep them safe!

This dangerous attitude is only propelled by the president’s actions on the topic. For example, President Trump recently stated that he does not believe he will be following the CDC’s face mask guidelines because they will “send the wrong message.”

Well, the wrong message has been sent regardless. People who are looking to the President for guidance in these troubling times have seen his constant downplaying of the serious situation our country has been in since the beginning of 2020 and believe they are safe to go outside, and on a larger scale have the entire country’s economy open back up at once.

This is not a process that can be rushed. All evidence by organizations such as the World Health Organization point to the virus being nowhere near defeated, and we would be foolish to believe it would be. As we enter our second month in quarantine, we have felt the damages to our lives and society as a whole. It is our duty as citizens to cooperate, so the process is no longer than it needs to be.

All of want quarantine to be over as soon as possible but protesting a literal virus is not the answer. This pandemic is one of the most crucial experience we will endure in our lifetime, and it is different than anything we have ever seen before. Usually when there has been a global issue it is able to be solved through policy, but policy cannot contain a virus. We are all able to fall victim to COVID-19 especially a vaccine is not open for public use.

There is not one solution to solve this problem, but a complex series of precautions created by governmental officials comprised of a slow and steady reopening of the economy. If there is any hope for us to not have a repeat of these conditions in the coming months, we must all do our part and always stay inside when possible.