COVID-19 has turned the world upside down, seeing America, leader of the world stage and self-proclaimed champion of the free world, suffering terribly. Not only are Americans growing antsy over the coronavirus, but the economy is also failing. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the American economy has plummeted severely to the brink of a recession. With the economy on the brink of crashing, some states in the U.S. feel that it is time to return to business as usual, in an attempt to save face.
The U.S. Economy
The spread of coronavirus in the States left the economy in ruins in less than a few weeks. More than 17 million Americans filed for unemployment within the last month, the government passed over a 2 trillion dollar bailout bill to help keep the economy afloat and GDP was down 4.1 percent. All of this triggers a domino effect on the world’s economy, which has shrunk by 3 percent – the lowest it has been since the Great Depression. Whilst the numbers are declining at rapid speeds and death count’s rising, many states in the U.S. have “opened” up in hopes to save the crumbling economy.
In hopes to turn the economy back around, many state governors have started to lift their restrictions on lockdown protocol. On the one hand, states such as Georgia and Texas are allowing non-essential businesses like movie theatres, barbershops, retail shops, and beaches to open back up. Meanwhile, states like Florida and Nevada went from a stay at home order to an “encourage stay at home” suggestion, which means people can enjoy outdoor restaurants and go to personal care shops while lightly encouraging citizens to stay at home without enforcement.
The purpose for stay at homes orders was to protect citizens and contain the virus. In less than 4 weeks, the U.S. went from a hand full of states with small numbers of people infected to all 50 states and over 1 million people infected. There have been over 70,000 deaths reported in the U.S. due to COVID-19, and the numbers are steadily rising every day. The main risk in re-opening too soon could cause the U.S. to make backwards strides, fuelling a public health emergency and doubling the numbers of people infected in the matter of weeks. There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, and with no cure for COVID-19 America could stay struggling to cope with the pandemic, both economically and socially.
While the state issued orders have slowed the progression of the virus and flattened the curve in states like California and New York, America is far from the safe zone. America is still very vulnerable to thousands of new infections monthly. Despite these grim realities, the Trump Administration seems to be willing to take the risk for the sake of returning to business as usual.
Although the President vows to reopen America in 3-phases and take the safety of Americans seriously, one cannot help but wonder if this is a gimmick to save the economy he constantly bragged about for the last three years in hopes for re-election. COVID-19 arrived during an election year and it has not been a secret that Trump has received some backlash for his handlings of containing the virus. It seems as if the economy is worth saving more than the lives of the wider population. A stable economy is important because it affects everybody’s day to day. But a stable economy stands for little, if the majority won’t live to reap the benefits.