UNSPLASH PHOTO COURTESY OF MAT NAPO
As vaccines continue to become more accessible throughout America, many states, including Florida and Texas, are beginning to reopen.
For states, the term “reopening” means that businesses are resuming their work, stay-at-home orders are no longer in place and masks are no longer mandatory. However, the question is whether reopening states across the U.S. is the right thing to do.
Texas began its reopening process on March 10, becoming one of the first states to do so. At a Mexican restaurant in Lubbock, Texas, Gov. Greg Abbot explained how the state has fought the coronavirus pandemic endlessly since last March and the “people and businesses don’t need the state telling them how to operate” any longer.
However, according to the CDC, Texas still ranks 45th out of all 50 states to have fully vaccinated people, mostly due to the lack of vaccine transport as the result of Winter Storm Uri in February.
Similarly, Florida began reopening in March. However, with spring break enticing people from out of state to visit, some locations in Florida are beginning to reinforce curfews themselves.
For example, Miami Beach established an 8 p.m. curfew after spring breakers held parties with over 1,000 people. Raul Aguila, the Temporary City Manager, declared a state of emergency and said, “These crowds are in the thousands. We’re at capacity.”
Towards the end of February, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, talked with NBC’s Chuck Todd to express his concerns for states reopening. He explained that although the baseline of cases per day throughout the country decreased from 300,00 to 70,000, that’s still too high and these numbers still hold true.
Via a COVID Date Tracker provided by the CDC, the U.S. still brings in over 50,000 new cases per day throughout the country. I agree with Fauci that these numbers are too dangerous to resume our normal lives right now.
During a March 1 White House Press Briefing, the Director of the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dr. Rochelle Walensky supported Fauci’s wishes and urged states not to reopen so quickly.
“These variants are a very real threat to our people and to our progress,” Walensky said. “Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know could stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, not when we are so close.”
Currently, New Jersey is somewhat reopened; most businesses are open and there are no stay-at-home orders in place, but masks are still mandatory and it doesn’t look like Gov. Phil Murphy is planning on changing that anytime soon.
Recently, there have been slight surges in COVID-19 cases around N.J. and when asked about his plans to “hold off” on reopening the state, Gov. Murphy said, “I think what you’ll see going forward is we will do that.” He went on to explain his hopes of daily cases dropping, as the weather gets warmer and more people get vaccinated. In my opinion, this is a decent plan, since it allows people to ease back into normality without encouraging irresponsible behavior.
Although COVID-19 related issues are constantly changing, based on the progression we make with vaccines and reopening states around the U.S., I believe that states should not be completely reopening yet. The outcomes that these changes could cause for the rest of the country and the people are too unpredictable and too dangerous right now. America isn’t ready to return to “normal” just yet.