I have to admit I am a bit torn by this. I understand that in some quarters, the current pandemic we are facing is unprecedented, however I find myself somewhat agreeing with that famous statesman, Benjamin Franklin. Franklin once said:
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
We currently have various states across the country in various versions of lockdowns. Let’s take a look at what we have thus far (population 2018 totals, Google Public Data):
New York- 56 deaths/19.54 million population
Effective 8 p.m. on Sunday, all businesses deemed “non-essential” must shut down their in-office personnel functions. Gov. Cuomo has exempted financial institutions, retailers, pharmacies, hospitals, news media, manufacturing plants and transportation companies, among others.
Casinos, gyms, theaters, shopping malls, amusement parks, bowling alleys, barber shops, hair salons, hair removal services, tattoo or piercing salons all close by 8pm Saturday
Bars and restaurants are limited to delivery or takeout
Residents 70 and older and people with compromised immune systems or underlying illnesses must remain indoors (unless exercising outside), wear a mask in the company of others, and prescreen visitors by taking their temperatures.
California- 24 deaths/39.56 million population
Gov. Newsom ordered everyone in California to stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, obtain health care or go to an “essential job.”
People outside must keep at least 6 feet distance between each other.
Dine-in restaurants, bars and nightclubs, entertainment venues, gyms and fitness studios are closed
Gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, convenience stores, banks and laundry services remain open
Pennsylvania- 2 deaths/12.8 million population
“Non-life-sustaining businesses” in Pennsylvania had to close their physical locations as of Thursday evening. Exemptions include gas stations, food retailers, and transportation companies, or “virtual or telework” operations. Businesses that don’t comply could face enforcement actions starting Saturday.
Pennsylvanians are strongly encouraged to refrain from nonessential travel, but it isn’t a requirement.
Restaurants and bars must stop all dine-in services
Illinois- 5 deaths/12.74 million
All residents must stay home, leaving only for essential travel, health and safety reasons, getting supplies and caring for others.
Directive says, “Non-essential business and operations must cease,” with exceptions for employees working remotely and to process payroll and employee benefits and other limited activities.
No gatherings of more than 10 people with limited exceptions.
All places of public amusement are closed to the public such as carnivals, amusement parks and concert halls.
Texas- 5 deaths/28.7 million population
All Texans avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 starting Saturday morning
Texas residents “shall avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, or visiting gyms or massage parlors.”
People may not visit nursing homes or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
Florida- 12 deaths/21.28 million population
Gov. DeSantis ordered closure of all restaurant dining rooms and bars in the state, including concert houses and other entertainment venues in Broward and Palm Beach counties.
The city of Miami Beach directed all hotels to close down by Monday night.
Miami-Dade County shut down beaches, parks, bars and restaurants.
Nevada- 2 deaths/3.03 million population
All casinos shut in Las Vegas
Gov. Sisolak ordered shutdown of “non-essential” businesses, including movie theaters, massage parlors, brothels, nightclubs, hair and nail salons and gyms.
Retail cannabis dispensaries may operate by delivery
No on-site dining at restaurants.
New Jersey-16 deaths/8.89 million population
Gov. Phil Murphy ordered all New Jersey residents to stay home, with exceptions including getting takeout food, seeking medical/emergency services, exercising or engaging in outdoor activities with family. Gatherings such as parties, celebrations, and other social events are canceled.
“Non-essential” businesses are closed to the public, excluding grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores and banks.
All businesses and non-profits must accommodate their workforce for telework or work-from-home arrangements “wherever practicable.
Those allowed at work are law-enforcement officers, first responders, cashiers, store clerks, construction workers and utility workers, among others.
Ban on recreational and entertainment businesses; restaurants can operate by takeout or delivery only.
He also signed an executive order invalidating any county or municipal restriction that might conflict with his stay-at-home directive.
Connecticut- 4 deaths/3.57 million population
-Non-essential businesses must close as of 8pm on Monday. Exemptions include grocery stores, banks, gas stations and other necessary businesses, including restaurants that provide takeout service or delivery, as well as liquor stores, construction and manufacturing, childcare services and public transportation.
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There are of course many more states with restrictions. We are told that we are in the early stages of the pandemic and the above numbers will likely increase.
We are told that these measures are being taken to “flatten the curve” or keep the number from going way up for a shorter period of time, in exchange for less cases at once, but extended longer. This is ostensibly to lessen the impact on the healthcare system.
Look, the point is this. We are living in bizarre times, and thus far, many Americans have shown a willingness to sacrifice, at least in the short term.
I mean, if you are told that you cannot go out to eat for maybe a couple of weeks, most people can live with that. What we cannot live with is the thousands of people that suddenly find themselves out on the unemployment line. Simply, that is not sustainable.
The stock market has gotten pummeled, and with it, the life savings of probably millions of Americans, who have seen their retirement nest egg hammered by 30% losses in the matter of just a few short weeks.
People who were looking at being able to retire in a year or two are suddenly faced with the reality that it will take many months, if not years to recoup their losses.
Americans, who are used to hopping in their cars and driving to the beach or going to a movie are being told that it will likely be months before they can do that.
People who wanted to take their families to Disney World have had to put that on hold for nobody knows how long. The airline and cruise industries are being decimated.
We are Americans. We are strong and we are resilient. We’ve got this! Right?
For a couple of weeks? Maybe. For a couple of months? Who knows?
It is easy for a country such as China to lock down their citizens. As a communist country, they simply tell their citizens they’re locked down, without a care for whether they can eat or not.
According to China, if you can believe them, they say that they have been able to achieve a drastic reduction in the number of coronavirus cases. South Korea says that they reduced their cases by 90% in two weeks.
We do not know where we are at, and that comes in part because we are not in the position where we are able to test a large number of Americans for the virus. We will need to accomplish that before we know where we are at.
The political climates in countries such as China and South Korea are exponentially different than they are here, especially in China. As said, they are able to lock down their citizens at will for however long it takes. The question is, would we be able to do so for several months in America?
The other question is, who is going to enforce it? Do we expect our police officers to all of a sudden become the quarantine cops?
Are governors going to need to call out the National Guard to enforce curfews and quarantines? What would our American way of life look if that were done?
Does anyone honestly think that once the weather warms up in cities like New York and Chicago that the people who go around now shooting up neighborhoods, robbing convenience stores and generally raising mayhem are suddenly going to decide to follow the law?
We have strict gun laws and that doesn’t stop weekly shooting sprees in Chicago that number in excess of 40-50. Where are the cops to enforce this? Answer- there aren’t enough.
Look at what happened in Florida last week. College students flocked to Florida for spring break and couldn’t care less about the coronavirus warnings. Social distancing?
Not if you look at videos on YouTube. Young people think they are bulletproof…which is why you constantly see them texting on their phones as they drive down the highway at 65 miles an hour. They are invincible, don’t you know?
We have had laws on the books for years prohibiting drunk driving, possession of marijuana (until recently), seat belt requirements…that people violate all the time.
We have been told ad-nauseum about the “dangers of man-made climate change” from Hollywood elites who jet-set around the country in their Gulfstream jets and cruise the world in their mega-yachts.
It’s called freedom, and that is one thing we enjoy in the United States and have enjoyed for over 244 years. Does anyone honestly think this is going to change now? Are we going to give up our freedom for some invisible enemy that “the other guy” is going to get but not me?
Right now, Americans may be a bit scared. They are listening to leaders such as their governors, President Trump and others who tell them they need to shelter in place so that this virus can run its course. Because it’s still winter, it’s still cold out and this is all new to all of us.
As time goes on, people are going to be less willing to go along. People are going to want to get outside, go to the beach, go to the parks. People will start ignoring these shelter in place orders. Hopefully before that happens the virus will start to subside and the “curve will flatten out.”
If not, it’s going to be a long, hot summer in the U.S.A.
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