At least 30 states have issued stay-at-home orders, joining an estimated 3.9 billion people worldwide who are under lockdown because of the coronavirus outbreak that has infected nearly one million people and killed 50,000.
More than 90 countries have compulsory or recommended lockdowns, and some have curfews and nationwide quarantines, Euronews reported.
In the U.S., around 90% of the country has now closed non-essential businesses or is under lockdown, although there are varying definitions of what that means. In the last 2 weeks, 10 million people filed for unemployment because of these non-essential business shutdowns.
Most lockdowns are expected to last at least until the end of April, coinciding with President Donald Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s new recommendations for social distancing during that time period.
Voters think cure worse
Meanwhile, a new Rasmussen poll revealed that most American voters think the government’s cure for the coronavirus outbreak may be worse than the virus itself.
59% of those surveyed were very or somewhat concerned about the government’s shutdowns being worse than the outbreak, and these numbers were consistent among Republicans, Democrats and those of other affiliations including Independents.
A full 78% of African-Americans agreed with the statement that the cure could be worse than the disease, the poll said. Typically, minorities have been harder hit by any kind of economic uncertainty.
46% of those polled also said that America could not afford an indefinite shutdown, while only 36% thought that an indefinite shutdown would be possible.
A reasonable response
It’s remarkably difficult to get people to look at the situation holistically while new cases and deaths rise at faster and faster rates every day, even if they are so far still fewer than the annual number of flu deaths both in the U.S. and worldwide.
Right now, America is in the grip of fear over the outbreak, but the Rasmussen poll shows that economic concerns are also in many Americans’ minds. After all, millions are losing their jobs every week due to the actions of government.
For waitstaff and non-essential retail staff and performers and a whole host of other employees sitting at home right now without a paycheck, government is bound to look like more of a problem than a help.
As the fear of the virus recedes, the question of whether shutdowns were necessary will come to the forefront and need to be dealt with. Could we have slowed the spread in a different way?
That may be an important question to answer before a second wave or another pandemic hits.