Student Opinion: U.S. Reaches 500,000 Deaths, Yet Efforts Remain the Same

(AP Photo/John Minchilo)

By Michelle Moreno Lira

The U.S. reached 500,000 COVID-related deaths last week, and as the numbers continue growing, people have become numb. The U.S. government’s effort remains the same, no new regulations have been announced, but the rate of vaccinations is still timely. 

Government officials have shown concern and offered condolences for the lives lost by COVID-19. Despite these actions, they haven’t put the country back on lockdown or closed unnecessary businesses to lower the rate of infection. 

It seems as if people are becoming numb to the numbers and are choosing to continue their normal lives without considering their participation in the deaths. Many people chose to go out to shopping centers, indoor dining, traveling, etc., further exposing themselves and others.

While I understand the desire to return to normal life before the pandemic, our participation exposes people who are taking all precautions and yet become infected with the virus. According to NPR, for the families who’ve lost loved ones, it’s apparent that the world has become numb and no longer cares about the numbers. For us, they’re just numbers, but thousands of people have lost important people in their lives, and condolences from the government aren’t going to bring them back. 

The U.S. has maintained the same pace in vaccinations, not moving further into the next phase to vaccinate more people at risk. These people are anxiously awaiting their turn, but many don’t protect themselves from other people’s selfish actions. 

California’s Governor Gavin Newsom made the drastic decision to lift the stay-at-home order in California in January. While the numbers in California have decreased, they’re still alarming and should require Californians to remain at home and reduce unnecessary exposure. 

The numbers allow many professionals to believe that Americans will be dealing with the effects of COVID-19 until 2022. According to USA Today, Dr. Anthony Fauci believes Americans will be wearing masks until 2022, and we might never reach herd immunity

Although many of us might try returning to our normal lives, it isn’t easy to see a society where we’re mask-free and worry-free in terms of being around each other. The U.S. wants Americans to return to normal life, yet this could be at the expense of more deaths if the U.S. doesn’t maintain strict regulations. 

I believe it was completely unnecessary to reopen indoor dining because it wasn’t a priority. Priorities ensure everyone is vaccinated by the end of the year or that there are enough vaccinations to begin the next phase of vaccinations. Essential workers are still exposing themselves to the virus daily. 

The list of priorities continues growing as Texans suffer from harsh weather conditions and continue dying because of freezing temperatures. Texans remained with little resources until last week; the U.S. should’ve diverted more resources such as food or warm clothing. While many are losing their lives to COVID-19, they’re also suffering from unprecedented weather conditions. 

The U.S. has many priorities that it must seek to resolve above all else before dedicating unnecessary attention to reopening cities that remain with high COVID-19 cases. It’s only until people are personally affected by the virus that they pay attention to the importance of minimizing unnecessary exposure. 

The efforts of the U.S. government need to get better and prioritize the lives of Americans. If professionals believe we’ll see the effects of COVID-19 until 2022, we must do our best to minimize these predictions. Although there’s no stay-at-home order for the U.S., we need to minimize exposing ourselves and others by minimizing traveling, indoor dining and social gatherings.

If the government doesn’t force these restrictions, we must do so ourselves.

Michelle Moreno is a fourth-year majoring in English and minoring in Chicano Studies. She is from Downtown Los Angeles.

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1 Comment

  1. Tia Will


    I am happy to see you taking on this difficult topic. I myself favor much tighter restrictions than have been put into place. But I wish to provide a perspective you may not be aware of:

    1. Joe Biden explored the possibility of a national lockdown, national masking restrictions, and mandates for other preventive measures and his team determined it was not legal except on federal properties and some interstate transport, which he then enacted. This is less than I would have liked, but it is a change within our legal framework.

    2. I agree with your assessment that Gov. Newsom has loosened restrictions too soon using only part of the available data ( the rosy part) as his guidelines for re-opening. However, you may not be aware of the tremendous amount of push back our electeds get every time they push a safety proposal over an economic one. This occurs at all levels but is now being used as a means to leverage a recall of Gov. Newsom. Ask yourself if you believe a GOP governor would be better prepared to deal with the pandemic now? With the economy, given that every time we “open-up” we get forced back by the virus we have allowed circulating.

    3. The government cannot, and will not enforce these restrictions. But the ultimate responsibility for our safety as a community is the actions of individuals. What our non-compliant community members do not understand is that there would be no need for any laws at all if everyone chose to care for their neighbors as themselves. Gee, where have I heard a similar expression before?



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