The lives of many Americans are changing as federal, state, and local government officials are taking measures to combat the Coronavirus— otherwise known as COVID-19. And no, I’m not just talking about toilet paper shortages.
As of this writing, 4,200 people have tested positive for the virus in the United States— at least 75 have died. Worldwide totals are over 180,000 positive and more than 7,100 dead. Travel bans, together with the closure of schools, bars, restaurants, and other measures to enact social distancing are now a reality for many.
With just one case here in North Dakota (Ward County), Governor Doug Burgum declared a State of Emergency last Friday. Last night he ordered the closure of all K-12 schools for a week. You can see the press conference here.
Unless the infection rate in the United States takes a downturn soon, we may just be seeing the beginning steps of what government will do in the name of public health.
Yet, amidst it all, there’s a stark reality at play here— government simply cannot stop the Coronavirus from spreading. Even Governor Burgum acknowledged this fact in his press conference last night when he said:
“But it all comes back to individual responsibility around social distancing and your own personal hygiene.”
The governor’s own press release says their efforts are to “slow spread of COVID-19”, not stop it.
Do I think much of the nation has lost its mind over this “pandemic”? I do. In saying that, I’m not suggesting that precautionary measures shouldn’t be taken. I’m not saying that at all.
But must we destroy our own economy over this?
Could the economic implications end up being more far reaching and catastrophic than the virus itself?
While the CDC hasn’t released demographic information about those who have died in the United States, ABC News reports that, “the majority of deaths have been among people in the 70s, 80s and 90s.” Italy’s average age of patients who have died from the virus is at 81 years old. It’s obvious who’s most at risk.
Is there not a balance to be found between taking measures to protect the most vulnerable among us while allowing the vast majority of the population to continue on with their lives? Or is that an impossibility?
There’s a lot of questions and no easy answers. I certainly don’t pretend to have all the solutions. But this I know— at this moment, government can’t fix this. Ultimately, we must embrace individual responsibility and reject hysteria. Failure to embrace this realization will only exacerbate the problem, not resolve it.
Note: For suggestions on keeping yourself and others safe, click here.
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