Opinion: How should we be balancing our health and the economy during COVID-19?


Emily Groszczyk

One of the most demanded products in the past months, a N95 mask, alongside what allows Americans to put food on the table, their wages. Representations of heath and the economy, it seems that they are battling against each other for the top priority during the coronavirus pandemic, but a balance must be achieved for the sake of the livelihood of all Americans.

Even in the midst of a global pandemic, somehow politicians have still found a way to make this crisis of the COVID-19 outbreak political.

Those looking at the economic side of the issue are saying that the entire crisis is being overblown by the media and we need to return to work tomorrow, while there are also others who believe that we should remain locked down for months to come. And, they accuse those who even are suggesting that we should open up the economy of not caring about the heath of the American people.

The health and the economy are both vital components that we need to be accounting for during this outbreak and a level of balance between the two is necessary. Balance means that neither side is going to get exactly what they want: we aren’t going to remain safe until a vaccine is found and we aren’t going to be able to go back to normal tomorrow.

Even if we can’t get back on track immediately, we need to be thinking more proactively about opening up our country. And this isn’t because I don’t care about the health of the American people, but we need to reevaluate what the point of ‘flattening the curve’ meant.

The entire point of flattening the curve was slowing the spread of the Coronavirus so that the hospital system wouldn’t be overwhelmed with no way to treat patients. It was never meant to be a cure-all because eventually when people have to start gathering again, more people are going to get this virus even with good hygiene and social distancing. Flattening the curve was to ensure that those people would have the care they need once that point was reached.

We are now at the point where even the hospitals in New York City aren’t overwhelmed, but especially in Wisconsin where the caseload is less than 500 cases in every county except Milwaukee, our hospitals are able to deal with the patients. However, our governor has decided to keep Wisconsin closed regardless of these circumstances, even in counties where there are none or less than 10 cases.

Now, in the words of Jermy Boreing, co-founder of the Daily Wire, “There is no difference between opening tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, whenever we open, whenever people go back to work, they are subjecting themselves to the risk of getting this.”

According to Heather Long at the Washington Post, we are at the point where 22 million Americans are unemployed. People who never thought they would have to rely on the government are now finding themselves in line for food stamps.

The new normal shouldn’t be us staying out of work for months waiting for a vaccine that may never come.
Why should a small business owner in Taylor county watch their entire life savings go down the drain from an investment in their small business when people already live miles apart and there have been no cases according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services?

People’s well-being, means of providing for their family, mental health and treatments for life-threatening diseases such as cancer that are being put on hold are all components of the overall health of the American people that are just as important to consider as their chances of getting the Coronavirus.

In the end, the responsibility falls on us Americans regardless of when the government tells us we can go back to normal or when treatments are found for this awful disease.

Even after businesses open and we can start gathering, we have the responsibility to protect the most vulnerable in our own families by not coming in close contact with those who are elderly or have preexisting conditions. These will be the small sacrifices we need to make so that we can overcome this together.

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