Over the last eight months, COVID-19 has been brought into sharp focus for most of us. I know people that have caught the virus and have seen the effect it has on them. It’s certainly not something anyone should be taking lightly. The advice on how to protect yourself and others is solid: social distance, mask up, isolate if you’re high risk and avoid people that are sick. It’s all common sense, for the most part. And, while uncomfortable, it’s not impossible.
Now, well into the holiday season, both Nevada, and the country, are seeing a sharp rise in coronavirus cases and deaths from the virus. The best comparison I’ve seen as to what this virus is like is that it’s the flu, only worse. According to the CDC, “There are some key differences between flu and COVID-19. COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people. It can also take longer before people show symptoms and people can be contagious for longer. Another important difference is there is a vaccine to protect against flu. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.”
So, essentially, according to the CDC, it’s like the flu only more contagious, harder to spot and no vaccine, yet. Two pharmaceutical companies, as of press time, have announced a vaccine and the hope is those vaccines will begin to roll out this month with them being widely available by April of next year. However, COVID-19 has already fully shut down economies all over the world, including here in the United States. And another shutdown is possible. Meanwhile, as a result of the shutdown, suicide, divorce, depression, addiction and mental health problems are on the rise. In late June of this year, 40 percent of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse. In March through June, the number of people considering divorce was 34 percent higher than in the previous year. Data also showed that 31 percent of couples indicated the lockdown had caused irreparable damage to their relationships.
Those are just the personal ramifications of a shutdown; the economic ramifications are serious as well. Unemployment in Nevada reached a record high of 30.1 percent as a result of the shutdown, eclipsing the 14.7 percent the U.S. reached In April. Some of those jobs lost will never return and workers continue to struggle to find employment. In Nevada, there was a moratorium on evictions, but that money is still due.
COVID-19 is a serious virus with very serious ramifications. However, between mental health decline, relationship issues and financial worries, shutting down the economy also has very serious side effects. I’m left wondering why one is considered worse than the other. Why have we sacrificed mental health, relationships and financial solvency for a more contagious version of the flu? People are dying on both sides of this pandemic. People are suffering on both ends. Another shut down of our economy will only do more harm to the nation, and state, both of which are already seriously suffering.
Call to Action: It’s time to choose, which is worse. Being sick is hard. Seeing people you care about sick is even harder. Wearing a mask is hard. Being smart about contagions and protecting yourself and others is hard. Living in a shutdown economy is also hard. Millions out of work with no income is hard. Let’s not add to the difficulties we face now by creating more difficulties. A shutdown of Nevada’s economy will not benefit Nevadans. Stay safe and stay open. It’s time to move forward, recognizing it will be hard, but not making it even worse.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)“If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”