When the Heck Can We Go Outside Again?


The following article represents the author’s opinion about a specific topic. Freedom of speech is part of the First Amendment of the US Constitution and therefore every writer has the right to share his or her opinion. Feel free to email your editors about any issues with the article or leave your comment here.

Isabella Strimling, Contributing Writer

Pictures from Google

What are we on, day nine trillion now? It sure feels like it—I mean, it’s been an excruciatingly long time for being locked away from normal life. In fact, it honestly feels like I’m stuck inside in a single, inexorable day of h-e-double-hockey-sticks, almost like those movies “Groundhog Day” or “Happy Death Day.” Life in quarantine has become the same day, over and over again and it’s getting quite boring. My days have become cycles of hours upon hours of bingeing TV shows I’ve already spent years obsessing over, sitting at my computer trying to focus on the miniscule amount of virtual work my professors have assigned, trips to the fridge, and of course, reminiscing about what I could be doing right now if this pandemic hadn’t swept the earth. I think the most popular questions out there right now are “When the heck is this thing going to be over?” and “When the heck can I go outside again?” But friends, unfortunately, there really isn’t a sure answer anywhere in the world.

Forgive my liberal lens to life that’s about to peek through, but I don’t even think our wonderful president knows the answer to those questions. In fact, it’s been reported several times by several different authors and respected political reporters that the president has essentially become a—and, I love this word—“picayune” figure in the battle against the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, April 14, Trump announced he was suspending funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) because the agency has “mismanaged” the pandemic and has been “slow to respond.” However, if you are an avid follower of all things politics and news like I am, you’ll know that the WHO reported travel advisories and administered warnings as early as Jan. 5 of this year.  And let’s not forget his authorization of the removal of a pandemic response team back in 2018, along with the proposal of major cuts in funding to the CDC and NIH. Yes, I know these cuts were officially declined by rulings in Congress, but the mere fact that he proposed such drastic slashes of funding suggests that he was not worried about the health of his country if something like this were to ever happen (and oopsie daises, look at what’s going on right now, Donald!).

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World Health Organization

On April 16, 2020, Trump redacted his previous public assertion of having “total authority” over the situation and went right on ahead and placed all responsibilities of re-opening society onto state governors. This, honestly, kind of pissed me off.  Giving authority to 50 different governors in a global crisis is not exactly beneficial to kicking this thing out the door in unity—it’s actually a pretty serious issue. See, if each individual state is on an entirely different plan, an entirely different schedule for re-opening, then we further decrease the chances of a national economic rebound, as well as beating COVID-19 for good.

For example, even though Gavin Newsom, governor of California, has done an excellent job of countering this spread, especially through the more densely populated areas like S.F., L.A., and San Diego, his plans to begin reopening civilization as soon as possible are based off of data and science and are going to take a lot longer than expected. As of April 18, he has introduced six essential milestones that the Golden State must meet before considering lifting the current stay-at-home order. Although the governor is desperately ready to begin opening back up, he has decided to wait on his own terms.

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California governor Gavin Newsom

Texas, however, has had a ton less cases reported than CA (1,758), sitting at not even 900 (as of April 16). Yet, even with his massive success in curbing the spread, Governor Greg Abbot had been notably more cautious about re-opening his state and pessimistic about it happening any time before 2021 in previous media appearances. However, after Trump’s presentation on “Opening America Again,” Abbot is predicted to slowly begin opening up Texas again, starting with national parks on April 20 and moving forward slowly from there, whereas California will at least be in a strict quarantine until May 1—maybe longer. As two major influences on the nation’s economy, the different rates of normalizing things could put us in a pickle in the future, especially if there is another major outbreak during the process.

What does this mean for our future economy? Will we be hit with a huge recession?  I don’t know. And nobody else really does yet, either. This is why it’s important to support your local businesses and despite everything, do your best to keep money flowing through and stimulating our economy. Despite uncertainty around what the future may hold, leaders are aware of this fear and taking steps to address it head-on.

In good ol’ Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker has publicly stated that he’s “given up” on receiving any help at all from the federal branch and is eager to re-open the state, but he is taking extremely cautious measures when it comes to revoking the stay-at-home order. However, Pritzker is taking all the essential steps to get IL and of course, our beloved Lebanon, back up and running as soon as possible. He has partnered with six other states to slowly phase in the re-opening process, including Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Indiana and Minnesota. As of April 23, Governor Pritzker has expanded the stay-at-home order until the end of May.Personally, I think this is a fantastic approach to attacking the situation; political dedications should not come between people helping people in a global crisis—we need to do this together, and do it the right way the first time, or we may find ourselves quarantined again later this year or next.

So, ladies and gents of the McKendree community, sit tight, wherever you may be. All politics aside, things are getting better; the planet is healing itself, and we are seeing now how powerful acting as a single unit and not as individual, rival parties of beliefs and values can be in a time of crisis. The implementation of operation “get the world working again” begins now, with you. I know it’s been a rough road thus far, but together, keeping up with the social distancing a little bit longer, we can turn the rest of the spring into our final weeks of solidarity and take back what we have left of 2020. May 1 is the date to watch to watch for in many states (excluding Illinois now), but stay tuned in with your state governor for updates. And from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for adhering to the quarantine. It’s a tough time for all of us, but the more we stay in, the sooner we can stop the spread.

Note: Please take heed in falling victim to fake news, especially in times like these, where using the internet to distribute your opinion is a popular pastime. I guarantee most articles you read regarding the coronavirus are going to be biased and opinionated (not excluding this one, by the way!) The following websites are reliable counters for sicknesses, death tolls, resources for breaking news and governmental announcements:

https://www.npr.org

https://thehill.com

https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/geographical-distribution-2019-ncov-cases

(your state’s department of public health website, ending in .gov)