Post COVID-19 Reopening Requires More Caution

Zachary Davis '21, Staff Writer

Since Loomis closed campus for the spring term, the coronavirus has vastly affected the entire country, forcing the vast majority of states to close schools through the end of this year. Public gatherings are prohibited, stores have been shut down, and people are restricted largely to their own homes. Recently, these very stringent rules have been lifted across the nation, a trend that has been met with much controversy.
Due to the lingering uncertainty of whether a COVID-19 patient may be reinfected after contracting the virus, a general loosening of quarantine regulations from the government could have profound negative effects on the spread of the virus. Many nations’ game plans for COVID rely on the hope that patients do develop antibodies to fight any future cases of the virus. Said nations have thus been taking an approach that essentially boils down to allowing the virus to be exposed enough to build general herd immunity in most of the country’s population. This approach, taken notably by Sweden, seems to hinge far too highly on the uncertain possibility of reinfection resistance, and the inflated death toll already seen in the nation shows that the plan is not especially prudent in the short term either.
One bright spot in the government’s response in the Northeast is communication between individual states: New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut will stay coordinated as they reopen their respective economies, hopefully reducing the risk of the spread across state boundaries. While this is a step in the right direction, it seems like this strategy should extend to the federal government, as a coordinated nationwide strategy may do a great deal to prevent as much reinfection and reintroduction into recovered areas as possible.
As some scientists predict a continuation of the coronavirus epidemic into possibly the late fall or winter, it seems that, while opening the economy in an attempt to avoid an economic depression may seem beneficial, the optimal route may simply be to hunker down and wait for as solid of a conclusion to the extreme infection rates as is possible. This strategy, taken by China in Wuhan and other infected areas within the country, has seen the most expedited eradication of a massive outbreak, or as close to it as one can get, that we have seen across the globe. While this strategy may have profoundly negative economic impacts in the short term, it may provide a lesser burden on the U.S. economy to sustain the lack of labor and consumption that would occur continuously over a long term.
So far, the United States’ reaction to and handling of the coronavirus crisis has been more than subpar, as evidenced by its more than five-fold number of cases when compared to the second highest nation in the world, Spain. While Spain nears 30,000 deaths, the US is expected to cross the 90,000 line any minute, and yet the virus is still not showing any signs of slowing down. The idea of states reopening so soon seems like it would only exacerbate this issue, leading to further American deaths and embarrassment among the international community.
While it is important to restart the economy as fast as is safe and reasonable, after all, a diving economy can lead to deaths of despair just as COVID can lead to sickness, it is vital that we pace ourselves and not enter a position where the economic crisis may be worse in the future, along with an aggrandized death toll, from acting too rashly.