The Original Shutdown
Back when COVID-19 first hit the United States in February, we were just learning about the disease and had no idea how it attacked people or was being transmitted. We didn't know if it was strictly airborne or if it was also transmitted by touch. We didn't know how long it lingered on a surface or clothing. Although we did know it was airborne, we didn't know how far it could travel, so we started wearing masks.
We even balked at wearing masks at first because we were told that only the N95 masks were effective and only medical personnel could have access to those masks. Then we were told that wearing any type of mask is better than no mask as it cuts down the distance your exhaled breath travels. They said that it won't protect you from inhaling the virus, but it will protect others when you exhale or talk if you are infected.
The problem with this was no one knew if they were infected until they showed symptoms and by then they had already been transmitting the disease. The second part that we learned is you can be infected and not show any symptoms, so please wear a mask just in case. Later we learned that you can have the disease for up to five days without showing any symptoms, so please wear a mask.
The next thing we learned was this disease was spreading across the country at a rapid rate. It was first discovered in the state of Washington, then cases appeared in New York. From there it spread all over the country in what we called hotspots. In actuality, the disease was already everywhere, we were just learning how to detect it. We had no way of testing because the Trump administration had not prepared for this disease, even though they were aware of it and its severity in January of this year, as it was recently disclosed in interviews Donald Trump did with Bob Woodward.
As the disease spread, we found out how deadly it was and how hospitals were not equipped to fight the virus. People were dying due to the lack of equipment and medical personnel were having to make choices of who to treat due to the lack of ventilators. This caused an immediate response to start shutting down the country to try to prevent the spread.
As Donald Trump showed no leadership in this process, he dumped the authority to do this on the Governors of the infected states to come up with a plan. For awhile, we were all for whatever plan they came up with, shutting down almost everything except those jobs and businesses that were deemed essential. We were asked and in some cases ordered to stay inside and abide by curfews. Most of the country was ok with this as the government passed emergency stimulus bills to help people who were now out of work.
Reopening the Country too Fast
When the country went into lockdown there was a noticeable difference in most cities. There were fewer people in the grocery stores and restaurants were closed. Police were even checking businesses to make sure they were essential and complying with the shutdown orders. After a few weeks we began to see a dramatic drop in the spread in areas that were highly infected. When new areas had a rise in infections, they put stricter orders in place. It looked like we were headed in the right direction.
The biggest problem was the college students who continued to gather in large groups and hold secret parties. That was because they were told that they weren't affected by COVID-19 as badly as older age groups, so they continued to gather in large groups until the places they could gather were shut down. But this is America, and not only the young people were defying the shutdown, a lot of people refused to wear masks in public places because Trump was telling them that this virus was a hoax and we need to open up so the economy could once again thrive.
After a six week shutdown and a small recovery in most areas, Trump decided to slowly reopen the country and had the CDC set guidelines for the reopening. The problem with this was we still had no concrete way of testing in place so we couldn't test the people we were sending back to work. I am not a medical expert, nor am I somebody that anybody listens to, but I wrote an article on a plan to reopen the country in a safe manner.
This article was written in May and we still didn't have the ability to do the proper testing necessary to open the country at that time. I'm sure that most people will agree that my plan was still better than the lack of a plan that we used to reopen the country. In an attempt to boost the economy and enhance his chances for reelection, Trump pressured governors into opening their states too early. We began to see the virus spread again in areas that had showed progress in containment.
More people were wearing masks and more people weren't. We had protests against police brutality and people protesting the protesters, Trump began holding rallies and bragging about his huge gatherings. People started eating in restaurants again. Bars reopened and stayed open late. Other businesses opened with the practice of social distancing in place, but a lot of people still refused to wear masks, because Trump encouraged them not to, while most countries made it mandatory. People were getting used to having their freedom again.
A Taste of Freedom
Slowly the medical community started catching up with the ability to test everyone that wanted a test. This led to a false sense of security as the first wave of tests still took too long to get the results in a timely manner. A lot people were beyond the two week quarantine recommendation when they were getting their results back.
We also started to have our sporting events coming back. These athletes were being tested because they had access to the rapid response tests and many were testing positive for COVID-19. As we had been told that the healthier you are, the better your chances of fighting off the disease, we didn't see any athletes who tested positive suffer any harsh symptoms. Most returned to action within two weeks. But we still did not allow fans to attend most events.
The medical employees were also learning how to help patients fight the effects of the disease and the death rate began to slow. With social distancing and mask wearing, we began to feel more at ease in resuming everyday life. We saw more people wearing masks and we saw more people not wearing masks. As summer progressed, people felt more at ease gathering in outdoor locations. People who hadn't seen family in awhile started having cookouts and picnics in outdoor settings. Just as Dr. Fauci and other medical experts had stated earlier in the year, we would see a slight decline, but they warned about a second wave to come in the fall.
It's Time to Send Children Back to School
Now that summer is coming to an end, we had to decide what to do about opening schools and sending the children back. Once again, I expressed my concerns about this idea and I wrote an article about how it would be impossible without certain measures in place. I also explained how this would not only affect the children and teachers, but also the other employees needed to conduct school operations.
Now I'm just a nobody so no one took my advice, nor did I expect them too, although I did hear many school officials raise some of the same concerns. I have a friend who teaches first grade and she told me about her experiences the first week of school. On the first day, all of the kids were hugging each other because they hadn't seen each other since the end of winter when schools began closing. They also were hugging the teacher because they missed her too.
She went on to explain how difficult it was to have the children keep their masks on all day, so they had to incorporate more outdoor breaks so they could remove their masks. Doing projects and playing games became a challenge. Some kids brought their own lunch and they were sharing with each other. Although she was happy to be back at work with her kids, it was a social nightmare in this pandemic.
We can expect that from kids of that age but what about the older children in higher grades? You know once puberty hits you can't keep kids away from each other. As you grow older, you feel more of a need to socialize and these kids are going to find a way to see each other. Schools and colleges, as well as professional football teams, were at first banning fans from attending games. They have slowly been allowing fans to come back to the games.
You can keep them from coming into the games but fans are still tailgating and having post game celebration parties. In fact, college kids will find any reason to party and this has caused some campuses to close and only allow online classes. Naturally these kids of all school ages are socializing with family members as well. I have friends whose children tested positive and had to get themselves tested and quarantined. Naturally they have to provide food, so even though they were quarantined they had to do grocery shopping.
The Second Wave We Were Warned About
We were also in the final drive for the election and we saw hold more rallies and events at the White House. Trump himself contracted and spread the virus among his staff and visitors to the White House. Even when he claimed to have recovered, hew began to hold super spreader rallies around the country.
Since that time we have seen a record number of cases in the country on a daily basis. While a record number of people voted by mail, a record number also voted in person. Is there any wonder why our case numbers and death tolls are rising at this time of year? We are about to enter the major holiday season and people have tasted freedom all summer. They are not ready to be confined again.
If Donald Trump had taken this virus seriously during the spring, we would have had a better control on it. It may not have been gone, as we are seeing outbreaks again worldwide, but we are now facing another total shutdown with Thanksgiving approaching. Health officials are suggesting gatherings of no more than 10 people and that they wear masks. People feel comfortable with family and in most cases this is not going to happen.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are considered religious holidays and people are going to put their faith in God to protect them and their food and family despite the record number of cases being reported. How are you going to keep a mask on while eating Thanksgiving dinner. This is the ultimate family gathering of the year. Then you have Christmas, another big family event day. How are people going to handle shopping and exchanging gifts? Finally you have New Year's Eve. What is that going to look like? Will there be no apple, peach, ball, or any other objects dropped to bring in the new year?
According to several pharmaceutical companies working on a vaccine, we are close to achieving that goal, but it will not be ready in time for the holidays. We knew that months ago. This is why I gave this article the title I did. We have some huge choices to make as this year comes to an end. The other choice is to be safe and limit your celebrations. What choice will you make?
How to Reopen the Country Safely
You Can't Reopen the Schools
Thomas Blackshear (author) from Greensboro on November 17, 2020:
Miebakagh Fiberesima you are correct, no one forced them not to wear masks or attend his rallies. That is the basis for the title of the article. They exercised their choice of liberty or death. Some got both.
Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on November 16, 2020:
Hi, your article make some sense. But despite the reality of the pandemic, I wonder why most Americans choice to get infect. If President Trump set a bad example, it did not force or compel the citizens to follow suit. They is no legal ground for that. Good information. Thanks for the sharing.