Recently there has been an increase in protesters across the country, claiming that the “stay-at-home” policies enacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic are infringing on our rights given by the constitution. Many good people have lost their sources of income because of widespread shutdown of “non-essential” businesses. Some claim that this is a government overreach, and others claim that the data being used to estimate quarantine time is flawed. As a concerned community member, I am here to say that these people need to seriously consider the implications of their actions on the rest of our island community.
Everyone’s life has been dramatically altered by this virus. New data is so frequently being released that the news you heard yesterday (or even a few hours ago) no longer holds true. What does hold true is that doctors and scientists are tirelessly working on treatments and vaccines, with the end goal being to help us return to our normal lives.
Protesting the stay-at-home measures is an act of selfishness, as our community contains people most at risk of suffering from COVID-19, such as the elderly and the immunocompromised. But its not just them; healthy people with no underlying conditions are also suffering at the hands of COVID-19. It is selfish to think that these measures to stay at home and refrain from large gatherings have other motives besides keeping our community safe. Our healthcare system is not equipped to handle a spike in cases (like those in states without stay-at-home orders). It’s time we believe our medical professionals, who have extensive training and experience under their belts, to guide us through these uncertain times.
It’s time we put our health first, instead of our ego. If you or a loved one was hospitalized due to COVID-19, I am sure you would change your perspective.
As I am in my 20’s, a global health emergency of this scale is something that I have (thankfully) not experienced until now. I was attending school in New York when a surge of cases came to the United States, and was immediately told by university officials that all students who could leave, should.
I left my school knowing that I would never see my friends again, and that I would not receive a traditional college graduation ceremony. I arrived home on Kaua‘i and immediately knew that I presented a risk to my family, so I remained in isolation for the recommended 14 days. After nearly 30 days of not leaving my home, I breathed a sigh of relief as I (or any of my family members whom I was in contact with) showed no symptoms of COVID-19.
I continue to remain at home so that I can protect myself and my family from getting sick. I remain at home for the essential workers jeopardizing their health and safety to fight for the health and safety of others. I remain at home so that, eventually, I can return to my community knowing that we got through this together. I remain at home, and you should too.
Bryson Baligad is a resident of Kapa‘a