COVID-19 shutdowns are harmful to mental and social health

It started in March. Its incessant rampage grips the nation as we enter November. Governors have shut down their states and closed businesses.

COVID-19 is deadly, vicious and unforgiving, its violence taking its toll on Americans this very minute, just as it has throughout the horrifying year that is 2020.

While many governors justify their shutdowns in the name of public health, we must remember that public health is more than simply preventing a state’s citizens from contracting the virus.

Public health encompasses the entire health triangle: social, physical and mental.

While governors shut down their states, force businesses to close and tell students to stay home from school to learn virtually, there is a plethora of new health risks that emerge from the shutdowns themselves.

While these shutdowns may lower the chances of COVID-19 spreading, it is strangling small businesses, which, according to the Small Business Administration, account for 99.7 percent

of U.S. employer firms and 49.2 percent of private-sector employment.

While some would make the case that it’s selfish to put the health of businesses above the health of citizens, they must understand that businesses’ health directly affects citizens’ health.

Small businesses are the livelihood of many Americans, and when the small businesses suffer, Americans suffer.

It’s not insensitive, it’s not disrespectful, it’s not insulting. It’s basic economics.

Most Americans live paycheck to paycheck, but now they’re living stimulus to stimulus.

As if there isn’t enough suffering to go around, let’s look at suicide, a dire problem in this country with or without a pandemic.

In 2018, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reported suicide as the tenth leading cause of death in the United States.

Suicide rates have exploded in 2020, with some places reporting deaths as high as they were during the Second World War, the most destructive and violent event in human history.

It’s a travesty how states that are reopening are being portrayed by the media, as if it’s a total shame and complete disregard for science.

Yes, cases are spreading at higher rates in these states than in shutdown states, but that would be true for absolutely anything you wish to compare. Another thing we must understand is that there will of course be an increase in cases when we open states.

It would be irrational to believe otherwise.

Now let’s say Michigan issued a mandate banning the use of automobiles for a year, there would undoubtedly be fewer deaths due to automobiles in Michigan than in any other state. Does that mean cars should be banned? Certainly not.

Some would say it’s insensitive to compare a serious virus like COVID-19 to deaths caused by cars, but when looking at shutdowns, viruses and deaths, one must be logical and rational and consider what’s in the best interest of most Americans by making any necessary comparisons.

This is not about hurting anyone’s feelings or being insensitive.

This is about the health and safety of the United States of America and avoiding a continuation of the deadly ramifications caused indirectly by the shutdowns we’ve lived through for roughly 270 days.

Let’s take a closer look at the local communities and school districts with budgets wrung dry. Now consider the impact COVID-19 shutdowns have had on kids living in households with domestic violence, alcohol abuse and child endangerment.

Let’s look into the eyes of the kids whose parents cannot afford printers and laptops at home to help them be successful in virtual school and just tell them “it’s for the greater good.” Is it?

We need to realize that not everyone has the resources required to survive a shutdown like this, adults and children alike.

I’m not saying we should stop taking precautions and ignore health guidelines. I’m simply addressing a major problem that has arisen in the United States due to the shutdowns.

Few people are privileged enough to live in giant homes with no concern whether they have enough money to buy clothes for their kids or even simply feed them.

Not everyone has a printer hooked up for their kids to print their math homework.

Not every school can afford to distribute laptops to its students for virtual learning.

For goodness’ sake, not all families can even afford Wi-Fi.

Yes, COVID-19 is killing people who contract and spread the virus, but what we often forget is that it’s also, in numerous profound ways, harming and killing people who never came in contact with it.

Remember that next time you consider what’s for the “greater good.”

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