Now is not the time to be protesting Stay-at-Home orders and closures

With the long-lasting continuation of stay-at-home orders in California and no end in sight, protests against quarantine increase.

Unfortunately, these protests are damaging to the way Americans look at the coronavirus pandemic because they provide a false reassurance that going outside is somehow safer now and give wind to the anti-vaccination movement in its crusade against science.

In reality, it’s actually still quite dangerous, and the proof of that can be found in the number of coronavirus cases in California, which announced its stay-at-home order early, as opposed to the number of cases in other states which didn’t take action until after Gov. Gavin Newsom did.

As of May 30, there are a total of 90,631 cases in California with 3,708 deaths. In contrast, Illinois has 108,000 cases with a total of 4,790 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The difference? California announced its stay-at-home order on March 19 and Illinois announced its stay-at-home order on April 30.

The population of California is much larger than that of Illinois (39.51 million compared to 12.67 million) so it would have been expected that California would have far more cases.

If pressure to quarantine ended completely right now, the dangers would only increase.

Children would go back to school and spread germs as usual, people in gyms would inevitably use equipment after multiple people, food service workers would be able to spread the virus more easily by preparing food without masks; the possibilities are endless and everywhere.

Additionally, essential workers who are brave enough to go to work and interact with others everyday are put at a much larger risk if they’re suddenly not the only ones consistently leaving their homes.

Counties in Northern California have flattened their curves but that will only continue to work if there’s some sort of restriction on who can work and how they’ll ensure the safety of their customers, according to the American Broadcasting Company (ABC).

If herd immunity was a possibility for COVID-19, this would be a different conversation, but the jury is still out. For now, anybody suggesting that purposefully infecting themselves would make them immune, is doing so without any evidence to back it up.

In order to actually develop herd immunity, either 70% to 80% of people would have to be infected and immune, or there would have to be a vaccine.

I’m not disputing that quarantine has put a financial, mental and emotional burden on everyone, because it has.

However, it would be irresponsible and ultimately unsafe for states to reopen social spaces like bars and clubs, indoor restaurant seating and shopping malls without mandating that certain social distancing and sanitizing standards are in place and enforced.

There are already some standards in place for California’s reopening stages that include requiring masks, enforcing social distancing, removing “high touch” amenities, staggered appointments, increased sanitizing and checking clients for symptoms before they are allowed to enter.

In Florida, however, where they didn’t even begin staying home until April 1, retail stores are completely open, masks are not required, but suggested and dine-in restaurants have been open since May 1.

By not providing specific mandates for best practice procedures to their business owners and reopening so hastily, the Florida government is prioritizing the economy over public health and safety.

When the coronavirus pandemic became a serious threat, the world we live in became different than we’ve ever experienced. It will be different for a very long time. It’s unprecedented and it’s scary.

But I believe that in order to get through this with as little deaths as possible, we must continue to follow safety guidelines put in place by our state to keep ourselves and others healthy and safe.

Instead of protesting closures aimed at keeping us safe, protest real injustices in society systemic racism and xenophobia.