Coronavirus Quarantine Status Update
It’s been over a month since most U.S. citizens have been required to huddle in their homes under stay at home or shelter in place orders from state governors. Now various groups of states are looking at updating their COVID-19 plans according to the best statistical information they have on the ground.
Some mid-Atlantic states, as well as a few New England states, are banding together to create a plan for opening that will most likely begin in mid-May. These include Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Massachusetts.
In the American Northeast, Washington, Oregon and other states are also creating their own plan, which is similarly cautious and based on newly emerging coronavirus numbers.
A coalition of Midwestern states is also working on its own trajectory, without much concrete news of a timeline. As renowned scientist Anthony Fauci says, to an extent, we don’t make the timeline. The virus does.
Then there are major outliers, such as California, which represents the nation’s largest state economy. Although governor Gavin Newsom has said the state is moving toward re-scheduling elective surgeries, schools will stay closed through the end of the school year, and shelter in place community regulations will last at least another month.
There’s also Georgia, where Gov. Brian Kemp has already elected to open businesses in an aggressive plan to get things moving again.
On the federal stage, where there is no clear policy directive, the tensions that we see represented in diverse state policy are played out between a partisan president and advisors who release talking points advocating for quick openings, and scientific experts who warn of resurgent virus transmission and lives lost in an overly aggressive scenario.
Where do you stand? That likely depends on in how your family is doing during this difficult time. If you’re most worried about getting sick, you want this timeline to go slowly. That’s especially true if your boss is going to force you to come into work or lose your job. If you need the income from a job where you have to interact with the public, you want that timeline to go fast, because every day you’re losing money, you’re less able to feed your family and pay your bills. If you have successfully filed for unemployment (that means you’re one of the few lucky ones!) you don’t want to have that taken away from you even before you get your first month’s benefits … but reportedly, that might happen, due to all of the chaos and the slow ways the states are handling the unemployment crisis.
In other words, where individual people stand on coronavirus closures highlights the Catch-22 choice that individuals and families have to make. We don’t have the luxury of relying on fancy government benefits or big salaries to tide us through, or cashing in mountains of stock to fly private jets during a pandemic when commercial carriers are hardly operating at all.
Coronavirus makes clear the two Americas – the one where the rich and powerful advance their own interests, and the one where working people continue to do whatever they can to stay afloat. Let’s hope that we get more clear leadership, more compassion for working families and more advocacy for the common American citizen in the weeks and months to come. Get involved with GTKYF Foundation Inc., and help us to advocate for the people who need it most.