OPINION: Send Our Parents Back to Work!


Photo Credit: Rian Cameron

By: Rian Cameron, OwlFeed Opinion Editor

Everyone is afraid. Afraid for themselves, their relatives, and their fellow Americans – myself included. However, the current regulations imposed across the country are doing more harm than good. 

Due to its inevitable effects on the economy, the coronavirus will claim more victims in the long run if we continue to engage in such aggressive response tactics. 

When COVID-19 hit the US, President Trump initiated his 15-day plan and it was reasonable and realistic. The plan urged Americans to take precautions, especially the older population.

WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” tweeted Trump. Unfortunately, there were too many people who didn’t take the side of logic and instead fell prey to speculation. 

Because so little was known about the virus to begin with, the speculations about our country’s death toll were beyond overestimated. John Ogden, who has degrees in math and statistics and published articles on modeling himself, said “It is very difficult, when you are at the beginning of an issue, to create a model and have assumptions be anywhere near reasonable. It didn’t make sense to me that they were coming up with such huge impacts when we didn’t see it in other countries.” 

Such speculations didn’t end there either. Some states have instituted a complete lockdown to accommodate the mass deaths their governors have predicted. For instance, Governor Newson of California claimed that “56 percent of the state’s residents, or some 22 million people, could contract the virus in the next eight weeks,” right before shutting down the state, according to Politico. He made this incredibly naive assertion despite the fact that there had been roughly just 1,000 confirmed cases at the time and only 4,533 now.

Many politicians have begun to backtrack from their initial assertions about the severity of the pandemic. White House Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, for example, believes that her team’s first models were terribly inaccurate. “‘When people start talking about 20 percent of a population getting infected, it is very scary but we don’t have data that matches that based on the experience,” said Birx, according to The Hill. 

In the same briefing, she also said “‘There’s no … reality on the ground where we can see that 60 to 70 percent of Americans are going to get infected in the next eight to 12 weeks.’” 

Governor Cuomo of New York also took a leap back from his previous statements about the best course of action. After having pioneered efforts to bring public interaction to a bare minimum and criticizing those against quarantine, he turned over a new leaf, saying, “If you rethought that or had time to analyze that public health strategy, I don’t know that you would say quarantine everyone,” according to the blaze.com.  

Not to mention, the virus has yet to claim a victim under the age of 50 without underlying conditions or smoking habits. Many people point to 21-year-old Chloe Middleton. However, there are anomalies for every sickness. If the flu were scrutinized to the same extent, the world would have descended into chaos long before now. “Are you gonna put restrictions on the entire United States because one person in the UK dies?” Ogden said. 

Photo Credit: Rian Cameron

There is no perfect way to go about this pandemic but we have to consider other means of recovery. “All we did was listen to one side of the discussion. As a matter of fact, if you or I bring up the other side, we are told ‘you don’t care if people die.’ But we do care,” Ogden said. “There is risk in every decision that is made…The key thing that needs to be done in society is we need to balance one risk against another risk.” 

The coronavirus has been mistaken for a much bigger deal than it actually is and, unfortunately, President Trump’s speculation will be the first to be correct. The cure is worse than the problem. The cure is not only extremely detrimental to the economy, but it is taking away American liberties. 

The way we react to the coronavirus is a health decision itself. And believe it or not, there are people plentiful who will risk contracting the rarely deadly virus in order to protect their work and their livelihoods. Young, healthy adults want to return to work. Let them. It is an attack on our freedoms to make that decision for us. 

John Ogden compares it to prohibition. Alcohol is a big killer so the government tried to put it down and they were met with massive retaliation because it is a liberty to decide what we put in our bodies. Revolts will happen now if the government continues to make our health decisions for us. “Before we start taking people’s liberties away, we better make darn sure that there is a reason for it,” Ogden said.

As a father and grandfather himself, Ogden worries more about the future of his family than his own. “If I have to go at 74 to allow my six children and 22 grandchildren to have a good future, take me. I can make that decision. But don’t ruin their future because I am stupid enough to go into the crowd and potentially catch the virus,” he said.  

I have been accused of putting a price-tag on human lives multiple times since I began vouching for our economy. Many with my mindset have. However, in the long run, young, healthy people who are untouchable by the coronavirus will die as a result of a recession. “There are so many people unemployed. Now, believe me, there are people who are going to walk off a cliff because of that,” Ogden said. 

And a recession is not an exaggeration considering the amount of money the government is pouring into this cause, while simultaneously keeping millions of Americans out of work. Not to mention, “We are now going to add $2 trillion in debt,” Ogden said. “That is twice the amount of debt that we usually add in any given year and we are going to add it all at one time.”

Some people will call me selfish. Maybe it doesn’t affect me directly and maybe I am not scared of it, but I do care about the lives we have lost. However, do I think they are cause to run our economy into the ground and throw away our freedoms? Absolutely not. The American people have died for our liberties once before, don’t think that they will take losing them lying down a few centuries later.